How to Start an Online Clothes Store without Clothes
No, this isn’t a joke. This article will tell you how to start an online clothes store without the need to buy and store any inventory. If you have a desire to cash in on the online retail boom, but don’t have the means to invest much capital, this method allows you to start selling clothes online with very little outlay up front. You are going to use a clothes wholesaler who provides a drop shipping service.
What is Drop Shipping?
Drop shipping means joining forces with a wholesaler who carries a range of the clothes you want to sell. Instead of buying inventory from the wholesaler, you market the clothes online in your store. When someone buys an item from your store, the order goes straight to the wholesaler along with the payment at wholesale price. The wholesaler ships the order directly to the customer and your margin is the difference between the price at which you sold the item and the price the wholesaler was paid.
As with more conventional methods of selling clothes online, you need to first identify a niche market within which to operate.
How to Identify a Niche
To sell clothes successfully online, in a global market that’s full of competitors, you need to provide something that’s wanted by a particular segment of the population. This reduces the amount of competition you will face and makes it easier to raise your profile in front of a smaller audience. For example, in the maternity wear market, your chosen niche could be maternity clothes in Oriental style or maternity wear for the taller lady. Because selling clothes online enables you to reach a worldwide customer base, specialized niches still appeal to a large population of potential customers.
Once you have established the niche market in which you want to sell clothes online, you can get to work and find a drop shipper who carries the lines you want to sell.
Where to Look for a Drop Shipper
The best way to find a drop shipper is by using business directories. Some of these are accessible for free and others will charge a subscription. You are more likely to find good drop shipping suppliers through a subscription based directory. Once you have access to some directories, start hunting down drop shipping wholesalers that have the items for your niche market. When you have compiled a list of wholesalers carrying suitable items, you should start making contact with them to find out more about their products and services.
Questions to Ask a Drop Shipping Wholesaler
The best way to assess a drop-shipping wholesaler and find out if you want to work with them is to contact them by phone and ask a few probing questions. After all, you are the customer in this scenario and you should feel comfortable that you’ll get a good level of service when you start to sell clothes online as a retailer. Some of the questions you should ask are:
- What shipping options do they provide?
- What is their customer service policy and process?
- What is their process for returns and refunds?
- What is their lead-time? (The time from ordering until the product arrives with the customer)
Try to prepare a comprehensive list of questions to ask each supplier. Select the one who gives you the most satisfactory answers.
Once you have your supply source organized, you’re nearly ready to start selling clothes online with your own web store. All you need to do now is create your store and list the clothes you are going to sell.
Create Your Online Store
The most inexpensive way to get your ecommerce site up and running to sell clothes online is with an integrated ecommerce service provider. Full service providers provide you with a domain name, hosting, and all the tools you need to quickly and easily build a store to sell clothes online.
As your confidence grows and you (hopefully) turn a steady profit, you can always sell clothes online from your own stock inventory. When starting out though, using drop shipping is a low-risk, low-overhead way to start selling clothes online. It also gives you the chance to test how well the clothes sell in your chosen niche.