7 steps to start your online clothes shop
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7 steps to start your online clothes shop

How about starting your very own clothes shop? Where only great apparel is available, and where you’re 100% the boss. Follow our steps and turn your sartorial dreams into reality.

Before starting any online business, there are some important steps that any budding entrepreneur should take. The key question to ask is: “How can I make my business unique?” In this article, we’ll explore how to use self-taught skills to start your own shop and make it stand out from the competition.

  • Step 1: Put your ideas on paper
  • Step 2: Come up with products ideas
  • Step 3: Create/find products
  • Step 4: Spread the word
  • Step 5: Set up your finances
  • Step 6: Manage your inventory
  • Step 7: Build your webshop

Step 1: Put your ideas onto paper

A great first step is to start with a brainstorming session. Whether you do it alone or with a group of creative, business-savvy friends, this will give you a solid foundation for your booming business venture.

Here are some topics to help focus your brainstorm:

  • Audience: Who is your ideal customer? How much money do they have? How often do they shop?
  • Style: Your style can represent culture as you know it. This gives you a huge range to work with from trendy looks, to subculture styles, to vintage styles. Consider taking your research further and looking at the highest-selling styles right now.
  • Reasoning: Ask yourself why you’re starting this business in the first place. Why do you want to start an online clothes shop? Why does it matter to you? These are important questions to steer you as you move forward. Perhaps you’ve always loved sketching clothes and want to make money from this skill. Or you have a love of fashion and want to start a side business. Keep these questions in mind as you develop your business.
  • Keep Your Friends Close: It’s universally deemed bad luck to go into business with friends, but it would be unwise to get started without getting some outside insight. Even if you plan to go solo on this particular adventure, gather insights from friends, family and colleagues.
Do you want to focus on one specific item of clothing or a full range?

Step 2: Come up with products ideas

Next up: your product. When starting an online clothes shop, it’ll be important for you to learn the ins and outs of the clothing business in an efficient, straightforward way.

Get inspired by studying different brands and how they market themselves. Research fashion icons online and take a walk around shops on the high street, as well as smaller boutiques to pick up tips on customer service and sales techniques. Be sure to pay particular attention to the styles and the materials used.

Here are some tips for choosing products:

  • Clothing is a crowded market so it’s important to offer something unique. You might find it helpful to look at styles that are popular right now. Consider looking for inspiration in areas outside of fashion as well, such a homeware, beauty and even food. Remember, it’s your bold vision that is going to sell.
  • Focus on your interests. Take what fascinates or inspires you most about clothes and apply it to your business.
  • Try to start off simple. It’s alright if your styles don’t have the degree of flair you envision when you’re just getting started. The most important thing right now is getting started. Sketch your ideas. You’ll be amazed at the end results you can derive from random sketches.
  • Choose whether you want to focus on one specific article of clothing or a range. You’ll generally have better luck with more variety, but if you are drawn to a particular item and see a niche for it, then consider starting there and expanding your offering in the long run.
  • Key question: is there anything you can do to prevent an upheaval in your business ahead of time.

Step 3: Create/find products

There are many ways to get your online shop started, but it generally starts with your products. Now that you have an idea of what you want to sell, it’s time to start sourcing.

This is a golden moment to use any skills you have for creating designs. You’ll get great practice as you go, so don’t worry if your first pieces aren’t perfect – you’ll need to strengthen these skills and as with anything practice is the best way to improve. It is a great way to pass time during the early stages of starting your business. You don’t necessarily have to make everything from scratch. Consider finding styles you like at charity or vintage shops, and updating them for a more modern aesthetic.

Not looking to make the clothes yourself? That’s no obstacle for your business. You can look into buying product from a supplier or consider connecting with a screen-printing company to add your custom designs to t-shirts, hoodies or tote bags.

Will you sell African-inspired streetwear, like Petros Solomou, cofounder of JEKKAH? What will then grab the attention of your customers?

Step 4: Spread the word

Begin this step by asking, “What will attract customers to my shop?” If you want to know how to start a webshop, this step is vital to your success. In literature, there is a term known as a “hook”, referring to the opening sentence of a publication that immediately draws the reader into the story. So what will grab the attention of your customers? What is your hook?

  • Social Networking

Social media has become a huge part of any advertising plan. Facebook is one of the most popular choices because of its size and options. If you want a more visual focus, Instagram is an excellent choice for any clothing brand, and Tumblr is a good option if you would like more of a blog format to advertise your products. Because Instagram is photo-based, it provides a way to easily model the clothes you make. If there’s a new style you want people to see, post a picture on Instagram. Whether you model the styles yourself or have friends who model for you, this is an excellent way to showcase the wide range of styles you have to offer. With social media, the best approach is to test out different platforms and find where your target audience is most engaged.

  • Vlogging

Vlogging is another visual method to advertise your product. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your customers in a more in-depth manner and talk about the materials you use, while showing off certain outfits and combinations of products. Create a catchy hashtag to simplify the task of looking up your business and spreading the word that you are starting an online clothing store.

  • Paid Advertising

Google AdWords, Facebook and Instagram advertising are excellent ways to reach potential customers that would be unlikely to find your store otherwise. There are a range of ways that you can target each of these, so spend time figuring out your audience and ideal customer as you craft your message.

  • Content Marketing

Content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your store without blowing your budget. Your Zettle shop can easily integrate with existing blogs on sites like WordPress, or you can choose to host a blog section within your store itself. Regardless, strong content builds a connection with your audience. Consider including fashion tips, how-to videos, advice on working with certain materials, and anything else you think your customers will find valuable and engaging.

  • Email Marketing

With a little work, email can become a valuable part of your marketing platform. From news to discounts and special offers, email is one of the most effective ways to connect with your customers. You will need to build up your email list over time, so consider different ways of gathering this information. You can easily connect your Zettle to email marketing services through Zapier, making automation simple.

Step 5: Set up your finances

It’s time to budget. Learning how to responsibly gauge a sustainable income is a rewarding and valuable skill to have. One of the many benefits of starting an online clothes shop is getting to learn business-savvy skills that are applicable across a range of industries.

  • Further Research

How much will you need to spend on materials? With this in mind, what will the prices in your store eventually be? In other words: are you earning an incentive? Because this is an online business, you’ll also need to factor in shipping fees, and any other related costs.

  • Quantity

When the business is first starting out, sell in small quantities to get an idea of where your profit leads you.This will give you early insight into the growth of the company.

Never stop learning. Read articles and books on marketing strategies. Keep learning and growing to develop the business you love as much as possible.

Not keeping track of your inventory when you sell in-store and online can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Make sure to have systems in place to track inventory from the start.

Step 6: Manage your inventory

This is a very important part of your business. Try to keep tabs on popular items and make sure you have plenty in stock. You’ll want to check back regularly to prevent items from dipping too low, so think about systems you can put in place to track sales.

From a statistical standpoint, this information will help you see which parts of your business are doing the best and what kinds of items customers want to buy from you. Having an efficiently organised inventory is incredibly helpful – especially during periods where there is a large product demand.

Step 7: Build your web-shop

One of the toughest parts for entrepreneurs learning how to start an online clothes shop is creating a unique business in a crowded marketplace. Your products may be the best of their kind but they need to look that way online. You will need everything from the look of your store to the checkout process to be easy and enjoyable. Your website should be stylish, easy to navigate, and feel professional and well maintained.

Creating a webshop may sound like a daunting task, but we’re here to simplify it. You don’t need to hire a professional website designer to get a stunning online store up and running in less than a day.

You’re here because you wanted to know how to start your own webshop and we’re here to help. Zettle is built for seriously simple selling and provides all the assistance you could possibly need to get started, from online help articles to our blog for online entrepreneurs.

Our website builder makes it seriously simple to drag and drop all the pieces you need for a stylish, professional online store. Zettle also makes it easy to create widgets for a range of online platforms, so you can sell from every corner of the internet.

And there you have it! Ready to get started? Sign up for Zettle for free, and take the first step toward running your own online clothes shop.