Last year, almost 30% of all clothing sales in the U.S. were ecommerce sales. What’s more, clothing and accessories are the only category expected to exceed those statistics in 2021. Just how has the pandemic affected fashion ecommerce trends worldwide? Drastically. In Europe, there was a 37% decrease in clothing production. Clothing sales went down 43% from 2019 to 2020. As might be expected, brick-and-mortar sales outlets were more affected than online stores. In fact, many online entrepreneurs reported record profits. If you were selling activewear for people working at home, you probably had a very good year. Another factor affecting clothing production is the effect of manufacturing on the environment. For example, 57% of residents in the UK and Germany report a willingness to significantly change their lifestyles to reduce negative environmental impact. That means that instead of driving to a store to try on clothes, people are taking advantage of new online 3D technology to see what clothes would look like on them. Personalizing the shopping experience is key. You know those “you might also like” messages you get when you’re shopping online? It turns out that 43% of purchases are the result of those. Suggesting items similar to those people have purchased and liked in the past is an extremely effective sales strategy. Online clothing ecommerce website have the added advantage of having multi-channel communication capability to both buyers and suppliers. This capability has been shown to increase revenues by an average of 33%. Another new phenomenon in clothing sales now that clothing is becoming more gender-less is cross-buying, which is shopping outside one’s gender. Statistics suggest that a majority of Gen Zers are likely to cross-buy. This information changes the way people advertise their products.
There has never been a better time to start an online clothing business. A recent study revealed that 56% of Gen-Xers and 67% of Millenials prefer to shop online. How much equipment is needed to start a clothing line depends on which of the different types of operations you want your store to be. Four of the major types include print on demand, custom cut and sew, private label clothing, and drop-shipping. The same answer is true for the question “How much does it cost to start an online clothing store?" A drop-shipping business can be started for the price of a computer and internet access if you know how to code and can design your own website. If you don’t, there are a multitude of options available, including partnering with online giants like Amazon and eBay. One of the first things to consider wondering "How to start an online clothing business from home?" is the planning stage. What type of clothing do you want your business to specialize in providing. It’s good to have a niche because everybody can be good at something but nobody can be good at everything. You’ll have to do some research and looking at your own favorite clothing websites can be helpful. What makes them your favorites and how can you implement some of those features on your own? What products, features, or types of service are they not providing that you can? What are they doing wrong and how can you design your site to avoid making those mistakes? After you’ve decided what kinds of products you want to sell and what kind of site you want to sell them on, it’s time to write a business plan. A business plan should take all of the following into consideration:
- Startup costs
- Strategies for locating and negotiating with suppliers
- Product description and display
- Monthly operating costs
- Inventory management strategies
- Cost-effective shipping strategies
- Projected profits
- Growth strategies
Considering all these factors before taking action is the best way to ensure you take the right actions, in the right order.
While taking notes on your favorite websites is a good way to get ideas for your own, it’s also a good idea to visit some of the most successful luxury ecommerce websites. Even if the customers you want to target aren’t able to afford products advertised by high-end fashion designers, that doesn’t mean you can’t use some of the best fashion website design ideas on your own site. Top fashion websites, like Dior, which have large advertising budgets, can teach you a lot about simplicity in website navigation. They can also demonstrate the power and effectiveness of great photography to accompany your product descriptions. European fashion giant Zara is ranked at #17 in the world of fashion sales, with earnings of $750 million in 2020. Their main website consists of just their name superimposed on a single large photograph of a model. They employ the use of video on several of their pages. On one page, they list their product categories in white print on the far left of an otherwise entirely blank black screen, utilizing contrast for maximum artistic effect. Upon choosing a category, the next page contains a slider function that allows you to choose the number of products you want to view on a single page. If all this sounds technologically intimidating, don’t worry. Many entrepreneurs are new to ecommerce partner with online merchants like Shopify and WooCommerce. That means they can use free clothing website templates that contain many of the features most often requested by ecommerce businesses. You can even find templates with a particular theme you want to use for your site. If you’re considering the benefits of automating your processes and investing in a comprehensive software system to take the place of a half dozen employees, you should make sure that it provides seamless integration with all of the biggest ecommerce players.
While luxury brands have some of the best websites, they don’t sell the majority of clothing. The biggest online fashion retailers have to appeal to a far bigger audience. In fact, since in most of the world, clothing is not optional, it’s the biggest audience. Their success in doing that is reflected by their sales figures. Right now, Macy’s holds the title in the U.S. with ecommerce sales totaling $5,002 million in 2020. Amazon came in a close second with $4,499 million. The Gap, in third place, reported $4,261 million in sales. Surprisingly, Walmart fell to fourth place with $4,111 million. The continued success of the clothing industry during the pandemic depended largely on the ability to make the transition from brick and mortar to ecommerce. Nordstrom’s is one of the more high-end brick and mortar stores that have done well in adapting to ecommerce and their website are considered one of the best for purchasing office clothing. Amazon isn’t known for being the first site people go to when shopping for clothing, but they are still ranked high for if you can believe it, underwear. Some of the biggest online retailers achieved success by focusing on just one item. Having a niche product and becoming an expert on that item can prove to be highly profitable. For example, Zappos chose shoes. They succeeded so well at advertising and selling just shoes online that in 2009, Amazon bought Zappos for $1.2 billion dollars. Like life, fashion trends are cyclical and data analytics capability gives ecommerce entrepreneurs the ability to predict, and profit from, future fashion trends. Or even create them. That’s why any good comprehensive software system for ecommerce should include data analytics.
Even though we enjoy the benefits of technological advances, 72% of consumers still get their news from those in their social circles. That’s why word of mouth marketing is still as effective as it was before online shopping was invented. Investing in software that automates your business processes gives you time to create the personal touch that sets you apart from the competition. Customers love emails with information about new products or special offers. Ordoro was specifically designed for ecommerce and addresses every item on your “how to start a clothing store business plan” list. Their software engineers designed it to take care of all your shipping, inventory, drop-shipping, and order processing needs. It uses automation to reduce costs and increase speed and efficiency. A barcode scanning system means your inventory is automatically updated with every purchase order or sale. You can bundle items for quick sale to reduce storage fees. You can opt to print shipping labels individually or in bulk to take advantage of special shipping rates. Ordoro lets you check everything off your to-do list in record time. No matter how many suppliers or storefronts you decide to have, its multichannel integration lets you manage your entire operation from a single dashboard. They offer a free 30-day onboarding period to show you how to set up automation rules to manage your inventory efficiently and get your products to their destinations at the lowest possible cost as quickly as possible. It also integrates seamlessly with all of the industry giants you might decide to partner with, such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify. Their data analytics ensure that you always make smart buying decisions. Maybe best of all, it’s fully scalable, so you and your employees won’t have to learn a new system as soon as you start achieving success. Top-rated by formerly small businesses that are now medium-sized businesses, investing in Ordoro is investing in success.