Nearly 12 of the top 20 DTC brands belong to the fashion and apparel industry. The figure highlights how the sector is a behemoth in the eCommerce space. Thanks to digital innovation, increasing customer spending, and rampant globalization, this monopoly had been prevalent even before COVID-19 struck.
However, the pandemic covered every other remaining base and catalyzed a new wave of online retail in fashion. As a result, several new players entered the market to cash in on the trend.
If you belong to this category of entrepreneurs, then you have come to the right spot. Here, we will be exploring how to launch an online clothing business on Shopify. As a bonus, we also discuss a few tips and tricks to get sales on Shopify. So sit tight and read on!
Table of Contents
- Why Choose Shopify for an Online Store?
- Running an Online Clothing Business on Shopify: The Basics
- Advanced Tips for Greater Success of Your Online Clothing Business
- Closing Thoughts
Why Choose Shopify for an Online Clothing Store?
Let’s circle back to the 12 fashion and apparel brands leading the DTC segment. One-third or 33% of these websites are built on core Shopify! This list includes brands like Gym Shark, Skims, Fashion Nova, and All Birds. With such an impressive adoption rate, one may wonder what makes Shopify the preferred web technology for online clothing stores. Here are a few compelling reasons:
- It is easy to set up and use as Shopify offers the software and hosting services required to launch a website, even without any technical know-how.
- The initial investment and the time-to-market can be as low as $29 (per month) and 3-4 days, respectively.
- Even the out-of-the-box Shopify store templates are visually appealing, with room for customization.
- The app integrations allow modularity to your store, wherein you can add (or remove) features and functionalities depending on your requirement.
- Shopify stores are secure and high performing even when you select the default configurations, and these characteristics can be tweaked further if necessary.
- In addition to fast loading times and default optimizations, Shopify stores are mobile responsive, which makes your store accessible over any device.
- These stores come equipped with powerful SEO and marketing tools that can be helpful with customer acquisition and retention.
- Shopify Payments supports all major payment modes and gateways, from credit and debit cards to third-party wallets, with a keen eye on security.
With such tangible benefits, the popularity of Shopify makes absolute sense. If you are itching to get started, the next section will guide you along the way.
Running an Online Clothing Business on Shopify: The Basics
Here is a quick and easy 7-step guide on how to start an online clothing business on Shopify:
- Conduct Market Research
Sure, you have done your research while zeroing in on Shopify as your preferred platform, but that’s not all that there is to it! You will have to dive deeper into the fashion and apparel retail industry to understand the current landscape, possible disruptions, and future trends. Start by outlining your ideal clientele in terms of their demographics, current brand preferences, and requirements.
Learn more about them to understand what they need and how much they are willing to pay for it. Then, find ways to cement this market-led demand gap. You will also have to identify your competitors, analyze their strategies, what sets their products apart, etc.
In short, you should know the fashion industry inside-out – at least the target market.
- Curating the Product Catalog
Fashion is a product-centric industry. As such, you will have to find ways to differentiate your products to get noticed. The market research conducted previously can offer insights into customer demands or expectations.
For instance, you might notice that consumers prefer purchasing second-hand fashion items. Or that buyers may consider the use of sustainable materials as a crucial purchasing factor. Such knowledge can help you determine a USP for your Shopify store. You could rent clothing items or sell green fashion products – the objective is to solve a customer problem.
Once you have anchored this specification, you can list the different products you will sell in your store because, let’s face it, the world of fashion is endless.
- Follow a Business Model
While drafting your product catalog, you would have gained a brief idea of the business model suited for your online clothing store (or vice versa). For example, if you wish to enter the second-hand clothing market, you would want to run a thrift store.
Alternatively, you could be manufacturing your own line or delivering made-to-order custom clothes. Or, you could simply use your Shopify store as a dropshipping platform where you can promote clothing items from local artisans or designers. The possibilities are virtually endless, so follow a business model that works for you and commit to it. Starting small is perfectly alright as you can always scale at a later stage.
- Prepare a Business Plan
Now that you have laid down the groundwork, you must document all your findings and business decisions and formalize them into a business plan. The business plan should also contain short-term and long-term goals, potential roadblocks or challenges, necessary resources, competitive advantages, financial projections, milestones, marketing channels, etc.
As such, the business plan will not only be a friend and guide in this journey of making your Shopify clothing store successful but also serve as a benchmark. Due to the former, all your expectations must be grounded in reality.
As much as possible, try to note down your goals in the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) format.
- Birth a Brand
Choosing a store name is possibly one of the most stressful parts of running a business. It’s like naming your firstborn! You would want something that is simple and memorable yet distinct and creative. The name should evoke an emotion that resonates with the vision and mission of your Shopify clothing retail business.
Once you have baptized the store, you must check the domain name availability and register it. You will also have to create a business logo and other marketing creatives that will eventually get associated with your store. While some may prefer engaging a professional designer for the job, others may get their creative juices flowing and use Hatchful – Shopify’s amazing logo-making tool. Either way, the point is to build a brand.
- Setting Up the Store
As mentioned already, Shopify offers several attractive built-in themes and templates that can help you create your online clothing store. One look at the Shopify theme library, and you will be impressed by the range offered by the eCommerce platform.
You can even hire a Shopify theme developer to get a bespoke design or simply tweak the existing templates to make them more “on brand.” Next, you will have to list your products and beef them up with captivating product descriptions, images, and videos that put the product on display.
Some sources say that you need an average of eight product photos for your clothing item to be compelling for a purchase.
- Test and Launch
With all the tinkering out of the way, it is time to test your Shopify clothing store before you are ready to publish it. Place yourself in your customer’s shoes and perform the end-to-end purchase journey from the homepage to checkout. Iron out any bottlenecks, make the checkout seamless, improve the search engine (even better if you can make it intuitive), and simplify scanning and navigating the store.
You might also test out any integrations and perform security checks before the site goes live. When everything seems to be in place, it is time to publish your online clothing business using Shopify and advertise it as much as you can!
Advanced Tips for Greater Success of Your Online Clothing Business
Want to make your online clothing business on Shopify even more profitable? Here are a few tips that might come in handy:
- Connect your online clothing store with an omnichannel marketing platform.
- Work on improving the UI/UX of your store by minimizing distractions and highlighting key focus points.
- Perform on-page, off-page, and technical search engine optimization across your Shopify store for greater visibility on the SERPs.
- Write stellar product descriptions – brownie points if you can organically embed them with keywords.
- Invest in an attractive, intuitive, and interactive web design to capture and hold visitor interest.
- Use smart tools and trackers to capitalize on cross-selling and upselling strategies.
- Collect user reviews and feedback as social proof and incorporate them into product pages.
While starting any online store is a bit of a gamble, venturing into the fashion industry hedges the bets in your favor. And whether you plan on selling vintage wear, designer apparel, or anything in between, everything is possible on Shopify. Hopefully, you now know how to run a successful online clothing business using Shopify. So, go ahead and bring your dream store to life!