The Ultimate 2023 E-Commerce Guide to Starting a Dropshipping Clothing Brand
Anna Navolokova, Marketing Manager in Multi-Programming Solutions • 11 min read
Every famous e-commerce clothing business has its origin story. Many companies passed far from a modest idea born in a small kitchen to a world-recognizable brand. Although each enterprise, be it a dropshipping model or wholesale business, faced various challenges, constant efforts, creativity, and faith in their own strength helped them to thrive.
While e-commerce trends and marketing approaches change time by time, the main parts that impact success remain the same - the necessity of strategic planning and developing a brand identity. In this ultimate guide to starting a clothing line, let’s figure out how to build a prosperous online business from home and what key points to consider.
Table of Contents
Clothing dropshipping business overview
To begin with, it would be useful to outline in a nutshell all the ideas concerning the activities and development of your company. It will help you to define further short- and long-term goals. The overview may include business objectives and an impression you want to make on the target audience by dropshipping branded clothing.
To answer the question of what your clothing business may look like, you may shortly describe the following aspects:
- goals you want to reach and your ideal customer;
- types of clothing in your online store assortment;
- business model (e.g., order items from custom clothing dropship suppliers or make it by yourself);
- production or POD methods you’ll use to create unique apparel;
- markets you’ll be oriented on (local or global);
- timeframes for launching sales, etc.
You may not have complete answers at this point, but by the end of the article, you will clarify quite a lot of details on how to open a dropshipping clothing boutique.
Financial analysis and forecasts
The next task you should complete before running your own fashion line is calculating approximate operational expenses and possible revenue. It is an essential part of business planning that helps entrepreneurs wisely manage their budget, prevent unexpected spending and define the best assets to invest in.
While making financial analyses to dropship private label clothing, online store owners can figure out regular expenses, like monthly marketplace subscriptions or advertising costs, and variable ones, i.e., for goods production and shipping.
Forecasting a profit for a certain period at the beginning of your e-commerce journey can be difficult. But you can predict how much money it’s possible to earn per one sold item. Think about what amount of profit you want to gain for each sale and subtract the costs of the goods. Examining competitors’ prices will help you to provide more reliable calculations for custom clothing dropshipping.
Of course, you can try to sell apparel at higher prices than the average ones in the market. Nevertheless, you must be sure that your product has added value and characteristics that your rival cannot offer.
How to start a dropshipping clothing business with a competitive edge and no experience? We’ll describe this topic in the following chapter.
Create an authentic brand
To develop a memorizable apparel line, consider how you can differentiate yourself from thousands of other sellers. Apply all your creativity, design skills, and aspirations to a unique product that solves customers' pain points and creates positive impressions.
While starting a dropshipping business with your own clothing brand, follow this rule: your company should have its own personality to become recognizable among the crowd. It’s always preferable to follow consistency in service quality, positioning statements, brand visualization, and communication with clients. A company’s identity helps to showcase its mission and create a perception among customers. This is the main link that connects them with your business.
How to create your own clothing line and encourage the target audience to buy it? You may clearly define a value proposition and benefits of purchasing your clothes, like eco-friendly products, recyclable packaging, durable printings, or on-demand offerings for a particular occasion. Write it on the “About Us” page of the online store so your visitors can get familiar with you even before making an order.
Brand visuals matched with your identity are also crucial when it comes to recognition and customers’ engagement. Choose a personal style in logo, website design, postcards, and packages to mirror the mission and appeal to clients. It’s recommended to use three colors that complement each other for better perception.
We’re pretty sure you have an incredible story of starting a brand clothing company, and clients will appreciate learning a few facts about how it was born. Describe what pushed you to create a customized apparel line, and write about challenges you could overcome or your efforts to reach where you are. It will bring you closer to the target audience and may even inspire other entrepreneurs to launch their own startups. Maybe you’ll replenish the best practices for building a powerful brand one day.
One more thing to mention: ensure the story and tone of voice match your identity. If you focus on a classic style, use business language. But when you customize streetwear, your speech may be less strict.
Finding an appropriate niche to start your own brand of clothes is essential if you want an online store to stand out. While making your choice, you should consider personal preferences. Thus, you’ll perform the work with love and passion. It’s worth also analyzing the local market and checking if there are no more identical offerings from other entrepreneurs. Or, if there are a few, think about how you can differentiate your products from others and suggest additional value. For example, you may look at such options as vintage, plus-size, genderless, sustainable clothing, etc.
At the beginning of your POD business development, it’s worth focusing on one type of apparel, like t-shirts or hoodies. First, you should define the design you’d like to print on your products. You may select monochrome or multicolor high-detailed images. Depending on your choice, consider DTG, screen printing, or other methods like vinyl heat transfer. They differ in picture brightness, quality, durability, and the type of suitable garment (cotton, polyester, lycra, etc.).
While the dropshipping supplier will handle the production process, you should create unique designs and mockups. Practice by yourself in Adobe illustrator (besides, it has a 7-day free trial) or use the help of a professional artist who will make models for your purposes.
When you find dropshipping clothing suppliers to partner with, they will take responsibility for delivering orders to the final destination. But you still can positively impact this process by integrating ShipStation dropshipping software. It will solve many issues, helping to create branded labels, pick up the right carrier, calculate shipping costs, and track parcels right to the end buyer’s door.
Whether you sell clothes via eBay or Amazon doesn't matter - the app is easily integrated with online stores simplifying order fulfillment and managing shipments.
Treat your customers like yourself, and you will be rewarded with their engagement and loyalty. Before you dropship your clothing brand, ensure your stuff is worth it. Ordering samples from your supplier would be a good tone (and a wise decision). Thus you’ll examine the quality of printed fabric and describe your impressions on social media accounts. Customers will enjoy photos and videos showcasing the stuff in real life.
Testing products won’t cost much money but will save you from failures and negative reviews.
Start selling your clothing line
If you have already planned how to create your own clothes line, it’s time to build a strong online presence. Create a shop on an e-commerce platform or marketplace and design a friendly interface that could attract visitors. It’s worth setting up a personalized theme for the website, writing an outstanding brand history, and telling how your custom wear can change the buyers’ life.
Also, think about what information may interest users and add it to your listings. It’s necessary to upload good-quality photos, and point out up-to-date prices, shipping costs, available cloth sizes, materials, or washing instructions.
When you’ll make the first deals, ask buyers to leave reviews. They are wary of new brands, so your appeal will help build trust and increase the number of future orders.
Don’t focus on one website only when you start an online clothing business. Develop multichannel sales, create profiles on several platforms, and run a marketing campaign via social media. Instagram, Tik Tok or Facebook are powerful tools for promoting your company, communicating with clients, and receiving feedback. Later, you will figure out which channel brings more traffic and could be able to strengthen your influence there.
Besides, the internet is not the only possible way to declare your brand. Find out whether there are any trade shows, conferences, or pop-up markets in your location and prepare for them. You may compose an apparel catalog, bring some samples, and advertise your business directly to potential buyers.
Top ways to improve customer satisfaction in 2023
An excellent customer experience and loyalty are the key goals for entrepreneurs who create a clothing brand. A high level of client satisfaction brings good revenue and guarantees a successful business future. But the retention level will hardly stay impressive when you can’t boast of positive reviews.
You can inspire customers to order your apparel and warm their interest in several ways:
- Gather feedback. Provide an opportunity for users to describe your items and the entire experience of communicating with the company. Consider special forms for reviews in an online store or accept them directly on social media or e-mails.
- React to remarks and suggestions. Find ways to satisfy clients' expectations by listening to their opinion and acting. You can improve the process of designing clothes, diversify the assortment and show that you appreciate a customer.
- Provide multichannel support. Add several ways to contact you so that users can find the suitable one.
- Suggest discounts, seasonal sales, free shipping, or propositions for a special occasion, like International Women's Day. Remember to notify consumers about your offerings ahead of time. This way, you’ll increase sales while keeping your assortment the same.
- Encourage clients to share their impressions of your brand throughout the web. Offer various challenges, i.e., “for the best photo” with your products or unpacking videos.
- Send samples. This method will work if you own a wholesale boutique and dropship clothing. Suggest clients order free samples from your store before bulk purchasing. Testing your stuff can greatly increase the level of trust between you and a business partner.
To continuously improve your service level, you may measure the level of client engagement. For this purpose, provide an online survey, like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). These market research metrics allow you to ask a single question to customers, like “Would you recommend our company to your friends?” or “Rate out product (name) from 1 to 5” and receive honest feedback.
By running such surveys, you’ll understand the drivers, which will help you to dropship a clothing line better, attract traffic and generate more revenue.
Building a clothing business in 2023 seems much easier than several years ago, with a set of available instructions that can be found throughout the internet, advanced approaches in marketing, and dedicated teams or dropshipping software. Still, e-commerce entrepreneurs face a new challenge - finding a niche and differentiating their products from competitors.
What can help your business to succeed is developing a unique brand identity that will make you stand out and build strong relationships with customers. Clients are the main engines of your progress, so learning how to transform their expectations into valuable actions will ensure your brand thrives and be continually in demand.