How to Start an Online Fashion Store

Starting an online store is slightly challenging but lucrative. Top stores make huge sales daily amounting to thousands of dollars. The downside to fashion business is the serious competition and huge variety of choices. 
To succeed you need to develop a brand, focus on a niche and sell at competitive prices. There are a few things to consider such as product sourcing, marketing, startup capital and ecommerce platform.
The ecommerce store should have a good domain name and host plan. Others are SEO, traffic generation and conversions. Thinking of launching an online store there are a few things you need to put in place.
How to Start an Online Store
Write a Business Plan
The first step is to write a comprehensive business plan. The plan should factor manufacturing or wholesale process.  Include marketing, web hosting and storage. Conduct a market analysis to recognize the competition, prices and services they offer.
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Online fashion Store Business Plan
  • Map out mission and vision statement
  • Sourcing the product
  • Business structure
  • Funding
  • Domain name and host planning
  • Pricing
  • Warehousing/storage
  • Marketing and budgeting
Product Sourcing
As an online fashion store there are many ways to source your products. You could purchase wholesale from manufacturers home or abroad.
Other alternatives are designing and sewing the fabrics yourself or outsourcing the production. Another way is buying the stock from fashion stores in your locality and selling to your online patrons.
  • purchase wholesale
  • designing and sew
  • outsource the production
  • buy retail from stores
Stocking Challenges
Every strategy has its own drawbacks such as import duties, insurance for imported cloths. Others are marginal price differentiation for cloths sourced from local fashion stores.
It is very important investigating the source and manufacturing process of outsourced companies. Make sure the cloths are of the highest standard and quality.
If you decide to manufacture the cloths yourself you need a credible source of material. Other things include appropriate machinery, tailors and designs.
There are a few legalities based on the country you operate. Your products maybe subjected to value added tax and you need an EIN. Others are business liability insurance and registering a business name.
Importers face additional challenges such as custom duties, origin of cloths and packaging. More include fluctuating exchange rates, taxes and time management.
The amount of startup funding you have will dictate the amount of inventory you stock. Growth is also tied to amount of inventory, marketing and quality service.
Many small fashion outfits remain the same size after several years because of lack of funding. Relying on turnover to re-coup stock would sustain the business but cannot induce significant growth.
To raise funds you could try target savings or borrow from family and friends.
Build the Online Store
To build the e-Store you need to buy a good domain name and host plan. There are many host companies like Godaddy, Bluehost, HostGator and iPage.
Make sure the site has high definition images of your products. Include description, prices, about us page, terms and conditions and a shopping cart.
To build your store you could hire a web designer or build it yourself. There are many premium templates to use with software.
Store Traffic
The more targeted traffic the likelihood of success of the enterprise. To generate traffic you could include a blog to your commerce site.
The best traffic is organic or direct traffic that converts. Generate traffic through Adwords, Facebook ads and other online advertisement networks.
Make sure you work within a budget to manage expenses. Don’t forget to include a phone number and put in place proper customer service.
How eCommerce Stores Make Money
ECommerce stores make money through margins. Generally distributors pay 25% per 1000 units and wholesale the stock at 50%.
The stockiest then sells retail at RRP to end buyer. The markup is usually twice wholesale costs to arrive at a fair price. 
Based on your business structure you could consider the purchase price, shipping, manufacturing and labor. Fashion retailers make money from small margins on each item sold.
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