Own brand of clothing – how to start selling on the Internet?
Let’s find out what decisions you need to make and what you should consider before creating your own online clothes store. Let’s list the mandatory costs and key tools you can gain free access to.
1. First showcase of the store: free domain brand name
How to choose the name of an online store? Originality is not enough. The creative naming should be adjusted to the needs of the users. It is worth asking the question what the name is associated with and whether it is easy to remember. The two basic mistakes while creating store brand names are overstyling – that is too long, fancy form – or oversimplifying and choosing a banal name, dying in a deluge of similar ones. Perfect balance is a short phrase, which is catchy and evokes positive associations in a strictly defined group (age, interests, origin), which we want to reach.
In addition, there is an obligation to check the availability of an international (com, biz, eu) or Polish (com.pl, regional domains) domain – depending on which market we intend to operate on. In case of a small store, we always take into account the cost of domain extension.
2. Online store system – the engine and software
Choosing an e-commerce platform is one of the most important decisions, which the future store owner has to face. It is worth being properly prepared in order to compare the advantages, disadvantages and costs of popular systems.
Which e-commerce platform to choose? The basic set of factors to “review”:
- budget, i.e. the costs for the start, for the first 6 months of operation and planned, fixed monthly expenses,
- a set of required platform functionalities, e.g. integration of specific payment types,
- the scope of work that we want and can do on our own – from small graphic corrections, through the selection of plugins, to changes in the source code of the store,
- level of legal responsibility and scope of duties – the choice between the role of a fully-fledged store owner and the option of using SaaS solutions (“Software as a Service” = subscription access to the store platform),
- volume of the assortment,
- warehouse and logistics – run independently or as a dropshipping option,
- planned development – short-term or seasonal business vs. scalable project with planned development path.
A clear, detailed business plan of the online clothes store will enable fitting the platform to your budget.
Free e-commerce platforms
Duo WordPress + WooCommerce (open source plugin)
The reason for the great popularity of this solution is its low cost and intuitive use. Managing a store from the WordPress admin panel does not require advanced knowledge or skills. It will be useful to know the functionality of available plugins, both paid and free of charge. This is a budget-friendly option for both beginners and advanced users.
- Advantages: free access to basic functions, full control over the brand’s store and blog, payment only for graphic improvements (interesting, more efficient templates) or functionality extensions (plugins). A variety of available integrations – from SEO plugins to analytics and fast payments. Possibility to make changes in the code.
- Disadvantages: legal responsibility of the administrator, regular supervision and quick reaction in case of e.g. plug-in failure, necessity of (paid) implementation by a specialist for people without knowledge of WordPress basics.
Another free sales platform, popular among people who plan to develop a store and have at least basic knowledge about e-commerce strategy. The basic plugins, templates and functions can be extended with additional, paid solutions. The ability to edit the source code on your own and full control over SEO optimization is important.
- Advantages: basic functionality for free, intuitive operation, wide selection of plugins and integration.
- Disadvantages: free templates may not meet aesthetic expectations; possible cost of system implementation for people who do not want to set up their own configuration. Excessive or wrong choice of modules can have a negative impact on the page loading speed.
3. Integration with a wholesaler – dropshipping
Another solution to reduce the costs of running an online shop is transferring part of the time-consuming duties from the user to the wholesale store. Those who choose dropshipping, do not have to worry about logistics, timely completion of orders and storage resources – this is what the wholesaler selected by the user takes care of. Apart from obvious advantages (low cost, time saving), disadvantages such as lack of direct supervision over the quality of shipments should also be taken into account. It is necessary to find a partner who is proven and experienced in the service. The shop owner is obliged to operate the platform, acquire customers and build communication channels that will increase conversion.
Integration of the platform with the warehouse is not a process requiring special skills – the files for integration are provided by the warehouse (look at the sample file: https://matterhorn.pl/?str=xmloffer). The speed and ease of the implementation process depend on whether we use a platform that already has a built-in integration with the wholesale company of our choice. Otherwise, use the integrator. In case of any doubts, the user can usually count on the assistance of a technical service or a dedicated expert of a given platform.
4. Marketing strategy of the clothes shop
Instead of a universal image strategy, it is worthwhile to consciously test various marketing tools and quickly separate those that increase conversion. We select the tools taking into account the behaviour and interests of the target customers. What media do they use? What kind of communication do they prefer? Do they need extensive expert texts or visually interesting shopping inspirations (photo collages, infographics, short movies)?
Basic marketing tools for an online clothes shop – checklist:
- Email newsletter – a simple communication channel which is easy to automate and use, among other things, to segment customers according to specific purchasing behaviour.
- Shop’s blog – to build an expert position, support site positioning and easily promote any product. Recommended types of entries: rankings, tips, shopping inspirations, reviews and guest entries.
- Original product and category descriptions – an element influencing SEO quality. An obligatory option for new or limited collections, when we want to emphasize the exceptional quality and character of the brand.
- Social media in the fashion industry – to build your own communication channel and consumer loyalty. Facebook for improving conversions, Instagram for image building, Pinterest for those looking for shopping inspirations, YouTube for cooperation with influencers or as an expert advice channel.
- Link acquisition – sponsored articles (local press, fashion industry portals, blogs), guest posts, SM, thematic forums.
- Google Ads campaigns and advertising campaigns in social media – recommended when promoting new collections or seasonal sales. They may require specialist assistance with the configuration of the advertisement, especially in the case of new shops, starting in the industry.
Dedicated graphic solutions – good quality photos (with descriptions) or mockups, clear infographics, consistent brand image in social media (logo, font, banners).