Opening an online clothing label can be a daunting task, so it helps to know what you’re getting in to and what decisions will need to be made.
The world of fashion eCommerce is one that’s constantly—and rapidly—changing.
One report predicted 2019 would be a year when the industry began to seize some of the opportunities presented by shifts in consumer habits and preferences, including the closure of many physical retail locations.
While personal spending on fashion may have stagnated in recent years, the report notes that retailers that are “nimble, think digital-first, and achieve ever-faster speed to market” have the highest chance of succeeding.
Being in that group requires understanding how available resources dictate what choices are available to them. Each one, of course, comes with its own set of pros and cons.
First let’s look at questions around logistics. Assuming you have a good understanding of the product being sold there are three areas that will determine the strategies used.
Manufacturing your own products
Private labeling products from suppliers
Conclusion: The decision comes down to how much control you want to maintain over the products offered. Manufacturing allows you to decide for yourself what is sold under your name, while purchasing from others takes the burden of production off your shoulders.
Securing funds yourself through loans or other means
Crowdfunding for capital
Conclusion: Crowdfunding is increasingly popular with fashion retailers big and small as a way to reduce risk around new product lines. But it should only be undertaken by a business owner comfortable with the potential risks, including simply being told a proposed product is unpopular.
Launching a standalone store on an eCommerce platform
Selling through an online marketplace
Conclusion: While getting up and running on a marketplace is much easier than setting up your own standalone eCommerce shop, the long-term costs may unacceptably high. Marketplaces are also the modern equivalent of the old-fashioned department store, which runs counter to how over 80 percent of consumers say they plan to purchase from a direct-to-consumer brand.
Next, it’s time to consider what options are best when it’s time to market and advertise the products being sold.
Establishing your brand, building your customer base and driving traffic to generate sales all take an investment in marketing and advertising. Running an online clothing business on a tight budget means you have to get creative.
Content marketing: social media, blogging, email and others
Paid advertising, whether online, on social media or in print
Owned promotions like flyers, mailers and more
Conclusion: It’s not a question of one or another, but a mix of tactics. What that mix looks like will vary from one case to another. There are specific ideas for social media promotions and word of mouth activities, but each needs to be given its own consideration and evaluation to see if it’s something worth engaging in.
What kind of technology you use to support your business’s operations is among the most essential decisions you will need to make, one that plays a vital role in the future of your fashion business. Given the consumer trends changing the face of the retail fashion world, it pays to do your research before making a choice.
Points to evaluate include:
Conclusion: Hiring someone with specialized knowledge in this area can be a tremendous help since the stakes are so high. It’s cheaper to hire someone to do it right today than to fix problems tomorrow.
With a firm foundation laid, you may be looking at opportunities for growth, whether its expansion to new sales or marketing channels or adding global territories to reach more shoppers.
Adding New Sales Channels
Adding New Marketing Channels
Expanding to Global Markets
Conclusion: Growing your business is a good thing, but no choice should be made lightly. eCommerce is a massive worldwide business, but the decision to add territories, sales channels or marketing outlets should come only after all it’s clear the benefits outweigh the additional responsibilities being taken on.
Anyone considering starting their own online fashion business likely already realizes they are taking on major responsibilities.
By using the right tools and enlisting the right expertise, they can establish a foundation that allows for growth and success. Knowing when to do so and in what manner means knowing what limitations and opportunities are available because of product type, budget and other factors.
The points above are just some of the issues they should be weighing the pros and cons of during the initial stages of launching an online clothing label.
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