All we ever hear about are the success stories – how individuals created successful fashion brands and businesses. And that makes us believe that starting an online fashion business is a piece of cake.
What no one ever tells you is that starting a business is not easy and that it can all go wrong in a matter of seconds. To be able to be one of those success stories, you need to do everything right -starting from the idea to the launch of your fashion business.
So to help you out, here is a step-by-step process for starting an online clothing business.
Table of Contents
Step One: Choose a niche
The fashion industry is huge and if you want to create a successful business, you need to narrow down your options. This is where choosing a niche can help.
A niche can be explained as a specialized area of a broader market, in this case, the fashion market, that you can use to make your business different from your competition.
Since you’re planning to open an online clothing business, you can choose a niche that covers two markets, seasonal clothes, for example.
As a startup business, it would be smart to choose a niche that can narrow down your customer base, so that you can focus on creating a unique brand identity.
Step Two: Research target market and competitors
As already mentioned, choosing a niche can help you attract a certain type of target customer. Selling seasonal women’s clothing will attract women, for example. But that’s just half the job done. Once you know who your target customers are, you need to research both them and your competitors.
Doing this research will help you understand where your target customers gather, which social media channel they predominantly use. Ultimately what sort of clothing styles and colors they expect to see each season.
This is also a perfect time to research and analyze your competitors as well. The goal is to stand out from the competition and in that way attract more customers.
And what better way to do that than to find out what your competition is doing, what advertising strategies they are using, and if those are working?
Step Three: Analyze fashion trends and technology
Analyzing current fashion trends can help you spot opportunities and discover what’s in demand in the fashion market. This analysis will help you find out what sort of products your customers are more likely to buy – colors, fabrics, patterns, and so on.
What’s good to know is that in today’s digital market, customers are shaping the fashion industry. And currently, customers are demanding personalization, quality, and sustainability. And if you want to run a successful business, you need to answer their demand.
That means implementing software such as Unmade into your value chain. This type of software will allow customers to design and personalize their own clothing and facilitate the manufacturing process for you.
Step Four: Develop a business plan and model
Determining your niche, researching your target market and competition, and analyzing the trends will help you develop a successful business plan. This is why those previous steps shouldn’t be skipped. They will help you create the best possible business plan.
A business plan is the basis of your business, a framework of sorts. As such, it should cover everything from your finances to your marketing strategies. Additionally, you should include a business model within your business plan, too.
Some of the most successful business models in the fashion retail industry include dropshipping, print-on-demand, private label manufacturing, sawing your own clothes, and selling wholesale. Choosing a certain business model will determine the rest of your business.
Step Five: Choose a name and register the business
Coming up with a name for your business is probably the most exciting part of starting a business. But keep in mind that choosing a name for your clothing brand can either make or break your business.
The name you choose needs to be unique, but catchy. It shouldn’t be difficult to pronounce or remember nor should it be taken. It happens, more often than not, that your perfect brand name is also someone else’s.
That’s why you need to find out if the name you choose is available and that there aren’t any conflicting trademarks or other legal issues. Once you make sure everything is in order, you may go ahead and register your company according to the laws in your area.
Step Six: Build a storefront
To be able to showcase and sell your products online, you need an online storefront. Today, making an online store is easier than ever thanks to all the e-commerce platforms available to us.
Do some research and choose an e-commerce platform that ticks all your boxes or hire someone to make you a website from scratch. Ultimately, the option you choose will depend on your budget.
Step Seven: Employ a good marketing strategy
How will you attract customers and get them to buy from you? With the help of a good marketing strategy. As an online business, the best would be to concentrate your efforts on developing a good digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing allows you to make use of online resources to reach your customers. That means making the most of social media, paid and organic marketing, content marketing, SEO, email and mobile marketing, and other options.
In addition to digital marketing, it’s a good idea to also work on building relationships with people in and out of your industry.
That implies reaching out to influencers and creators and others who have a large following and who can help you gain more exposure and thus attract more customers.
Contrary to what anyone might tell you, starting a business is a hard job. It takes a lot of time and patience, a lot of research, and planning. Rushing the process will cause you to make mistakes. And mistakes are the last thing you want.
Instead, do everything right from the very beginning! Don’t skip any step and you will be able to successfully launch and from there, successfully run your business.