How to Start an Online Clothing Store | 10 Steps to Success
If you find the idea of building your own online clothing store a little daunting, you really shouldn’t!
Thanks to the invention of online store builders – like Shopify, Wix and Bigcommerce, it’s now easier than ever to set up shop online – and you don’t even need to know how to code!
Online store builders are drag and drop tools that allow anyone to create a beautiful and professional ecommerce site.
The process is simple and intuitive, so even the least technically savvy among us are now able to join the ecommerce retail community and thrive in it.
We’re here to take you step by step through the process of starting an online clothing store so you can be up and running in no time at all!
This guide will tell you all you need to know about getting your clothing store online.
And guess what, you won’t have to empty your pockets to do so!
We’ll cover everything from building and customizing your online storefront (your website) to getting it found on Google and bringing those all-important customers to your store.
If you follow the simple steps below, you’ll be selling clothes online in a matter of hours for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a t-shirt.
Test & choose your online store builder
Online store builders let you start selling online for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a pair of shoes.
You’ll need to sign up to an ecommerce plan to connect to payment processors allowing you to take payments from customers when you start selling clothes online.
As well as being easy and economical to use, online store builders will also take care of all the technical stuff so you don’t have to.
You can start selling clothes online in no time without having to worry about security upgrades and hacking risks. Online store builders also give you an SSL certificate.
SSL certificates provide secure, encrypted communications between your website and your customers’ internet browser. This means that all credit card transactions and data transfers are safe and secure.
Having an SSL certificate is like having security tags in all your clothing to prevent shoplifting, except you don’t have to install or maintain them!
Online store builders take care of this for you so your clothing store will be safe from hackers – the internet equivalent of shoplifters, although they’re looking for data not clothes!
But which builder should you choose? With so much choice, it can be difficult to know where to start.
This is where we come in to help you figure out which is best for your needs. Why not get started with this chart that compares our top three ecommerce platforms!
Over the years we have tried and tested many different builders through starting our own businesses. This has helped us to build up some great resources that aspiring entrepreneurs – like you! – might find handy.
We recommend Shopify as the most comprehensive ecommerce solution. They have a wide range of themes and an impressive app store to add more tools to your clothes store.
Shopify and Bigcommerce are great if you’re looking to open a large online clothing store (anything over 50 products), however if you’re thinking of something on the smaller side (under 50 products), Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are good options to consider.
If you’re struggling to settle on an online store builder, the best way forward is to test a couple (or more than a couple) of builders.
Think of it like ordering more than one size of a shirt or blouse and trying them on to see which is the best fit.
But unlike ordering more than one size, you don’t have to pay upfront and wait to get your money back later. Most of the online store builders offer a free trial so you can try before you buy.
When you’re trying them out, think about asking yourself the following questions to help you come to a decision:
Which platform are you most comfortable using?
- Do you find the interface intuitive and simple to use?
- Can you easily add new pages and products?
- What support is available if you get stuck?
Which builder has templates and design features that help you create the clothing store you want?
- Are there a wide variety of templates for you to test out?
- Will the templates showcase my products in a way that I like?
- How much creative freedom does the editor give you to personalize your store?
Ultimately you want a builder that makes it quick and easy for you to set up an online clothing store and get selling!
Choose an online store builder that allows you to showcase your clothes beautifully but helps you to build your store quickly and easily without breaking the bank.
If you’re not sure which ecommerce platform is right for you when building your online store, we’ve put together a short, 4-question quiz that will give you recommendations tailored to your needs.
Decide which plan is best for you
Online store builder premium plans, like most things in life, tend to get better with the more you spend. The more you pay the more storage and templates you’ll have access to.
When we say storage we’re not talking physical storage like a warehouse, we’re talking data storage. The more storage you have, the more images, videos and other media you can host on your website.
Extra storage is useful for expanding your product range, increasing the number of angles customers can see products from or adding product videos.
When you’re able to host more products and show them of in more of a range of ways (angles and videos) your sales will increase and boost your bottom line!
With access to more templates, you’ll be able to pick one that really suits the tone, style and character of your online clothing brand. It’s like finding a pair of jeans that fit perfectly – worth paying a bit extra for!
With a paid plan, you’re also able to get rid of the builder’s logo and connect a custom domain name to truly give your online store its own, unique personality.
Your store address will no longer be www.theclothingco.mybigcommerce.com, it will be www.theclothingco.com.
A custom domain name makes your online clothing store look more professional and reputable. This, in turn, builds up trust around your brand which will ultimately incentivize sales.
But how do you know which plan is best for you? It’s best to take into consideration what we’ve mentioned above, and also check out the table below.
This table compares the basic and advanced plans of our top ecommerce platforms and some of the most important features you do, or don’t get with each.
Need an explanation for some of the features in our chart? Look no further…
Premium Support – in case you get stuck building your online store, you’ll want to make sure you have the best support available. Shopify, Wix and Bigcommerce all have premium customer support systems, with help available over the phone, live chat or email.
Abandoned Cart Recovery – if your customer makes it all the way through to purchase but doesn’t actually follow through, abandoned cart recovery will email them to prompt them to complete their purchase. Automatically – you don’t have to do anything! This is a great feature for helping to boost your bottom line.
SSL Certificate – This safeguards all the data that travels through your site. Like a security guard of a physical store, this keeps your customers safe. The safer they feel on your site, the more likely they are to part with their hard earned cash!
Guess what, you can try Shopify, Wix and Bigcommerce for free, so you can work out which is best for you before committing to purchase.
Choose your domain name
“If you want to add a professional touch to your online clothing store, a custom domain name is the way to go. The more professional your store looks, the more likely people are to buy your clothing range.”
A unique domain name gives your clothing store an identity online. Think of it like the zip code of a brick and mortar store – it identifies where you are and helps people find you easily.
In the URL for this page www.websitebuilderexpert.com/how-to-start-an-online-clothing-store, websitebuilderexpert.com is the domain name.
To purchase a domain name, you can either go directly through your online store builder, or you can purchase your own through well-known domain name registrars such as Domain.com.
Wondering which option is best? Buying a domain name through your online store builder may be easier in the short run, however if you ever leave that builder (e.g. if your online clothing store becomes too large for the one you were using), taking that domain name with you is pretty tricky.
Purchasing it through a third party may take slightly longer in the short term but is much more versatile in the long run.
If you would like more information, take a look at our guide dedicated to domain names.
Choosing a domain name can be tricky if you don’t yet have a company name for your online clothing store. First think of a company name and your domain name will evolve naturally from there.
Try and think of something catchy, not too long or wordy and nothing too similar to an existing major brand. Try and name your company something that reflects your products or the ethos of your brand.