Do you have what it takes to be the next Masaba Gupta? No, don’t worry, you do not need a degree in fashion designing to sell clothes online in India, but you do need to go about it smart!
In this short guide, we will cover everything you need to know on how to start a successful online clothing store, gain customers and find the right platform. Let’s begin!
Selling clothes online: How to get started
Apparel is one of the most popular categories in online shopping. Since 2014, apparel counted for over 14% of the net online retail market, right behind electronic.
So, if you wish to sell clothes, here’s how you can start.
- Choose what line of fashion/clothing you want to sell
- Source raw materials, equipment, and estimated production cost per product
- Find a label printing agency
- Set up social media account(s)
- Create/join WhatsApp groups
- Set up an online store or/and a website
- Find a logistics partner
- Keep a strong customer retention strategy ready.
Before you set up a business, you need to know what kind of clothes you plan to sell. To help you with that, draft up a business plan. Here are 5 business plan templates to help you get started.
1. How to use social media to sell clothes online
Social media is a world on its own. For anyone selling clothes, it is a goldmine of information, but a cramped market of competition too. But you need to start somewhere.
Social media has several benefits for business owners. By starting your online clothing store on Instagram or Facebook, you can:
- Scope your ideal customer base based on messages, DMs. Likes, shares and comments.
- Drive traffic to your websites once you set it up and link.
- Have access to customer insights, engagement.
- Allow cross-brand promotion seamlessly.
Top 4 social media platforms you can use to sell clothes
(I) Instagram – If you are selling clothes for young adults, or teenagers, Instagram is a good place to start. This platform relies a lot on visual imagery, which we will discuss in later chapters.
(II) Pinterest – Yes, Pinterest. This valuable tool provides options for you to link to your online store and is a great networking platform for men and women between 20-60 years old.
(III) Youtube – How do you sell clothes on Youtube? LINKS! And of course, use your creativity! You can style your own clothes, you can publish videos and promotional content on Youtube about your brand. The platform is accessed by over 5 million people daily, so, use it to your benefit.
(IV)Facebook – For men and women of all ages. The platform has several options for you to showcase your products, and SELL them yourself.
How Sangeetha Rajesh sells sarees via Facebook
In fact, here’s how Sangeetha Rajesh, founder of Sangeetha Kalamkari Studio built a ₹50 Lakh+ Business selling sarees on FB LIVE!
Sangeetha is one of many enterprising Indian entrepreneurs out there who are making a difference with the way they do business. Facebook is the everyday mans’ go-to social media platform. You may not like to use it, but it is valuable for your brand.
On the Sangeetha Kalamkari Studio LIVE Facebook show, Sangeetha shows her viewers beautiful sarees and gives her audience a LIVE demo. Check out her FB LIVE videos here.
Soon after, bids start coming in. On a show, quote, and fastest-finger-first basis, the sarees start selling like hotcakes.
In a matter of 2 hours, Sangeetha sells 100+ sarees to over 80,000 viewers on Facebook LIVE video. The sarees range from ₹5000 to ₹30,000.
Social media marketing is not as tough as it looks. Do a little reading in your free time with our ebook, proof-read by expert social media marketers.
2. How to create a story for your brand
Before you create a social media presence, bring out your whiteboard and write your brand story. Why are you selling clothes? Do you think your brand can make a difference? How do you plan to sell a story?
When you write the About Us page for your eCommerce website, you can include your brand story.
Here’s where you leverage the power of storytelling. It is important when you make a sale. Believe us. Once you draft the business plan and layout your brand persona, tell a story.
” Figure out what you have to say to your customers. Ask yourself all the questions first. Do not become a copycat entrepreneur. Just share your own personal story. No one will listen to you immediately. It takes time to find your brand voice, and soon you will understand your business ecosystem. ” – Arvindh Sundar, Branding coach and mentor on storytelling
For example, the Suta sisters, Sujata and Taniya Biswas, who sell handwoven sarees online, which over 1 million other businesses do. However, the Suta sisters did things differently. They told a story about their brand.
They associated every piece of clothing they sold with a rich backstory of their hometown, their memories, nostalgia and their personal style too! Now, Suta sarees has over 270K followers on Instagram and a strong customer base! Why? People believe their stories.
3. How to use images to sell clothes online
Images today, carry a lot of importance, especially if you are starting out on social media. Clothes are not just something you wear anymore.
It is a brand identity factor for your customer too. When you sell apparel online, customers need to believe in quality. Here are some tips to step up your images:
Step #1 – Designs ‘fashion-forward’ websites. Add large, expressive photos of your apparel.
Step #2 – Click photos that give a personality to your brand. If you are selling warm, comfortable home wear, take photos of models at home wearing your apparel.
Or Bunaai, a clothing brand that sells festive wear, clicks photos of their models with intense backdrops, to display the ethnicity of the brand they represent.
Step #3 – Upload images of your customers wearing your apparel.
Want to keep your customers happy when you sell clothes online? Feature them! Show off your customers wearing your clothes to the world!
4. How to attract customers to your online clothing store
By standing out. Like we said before, over 1 million other businesses out there plan to do what you do. How do you stand out? Your story? Social media? Your cool new website? Yes, but also, your message. Give back to society with your business.
For example – Pahartah sells natural clothing with a strong environmental message. Their clothes look simplistic, minimal and breathable. Pahartah’s founder Sakshi Khanna, the brains got fascinated with the art of natural dyeing and sustainable clothing, in fact, her daily involvement in the practice helped Pahartah become a reality.
And this reflects a lot in their branding and marketing.
“The fashion industry is the second largest contributor to pollution in the world. With the growth of fashion industry and shoppers, we are exposed to more chemicals than before. Products created through the chemical process are causing more harm to the maker, wearer and our planet. ” – Sagar
How Pahartah sells conscious clothing and raises awareness:
- The siblings employ women from rural areas to help them in the dyeing and weaving process.
- Sakshi is constantly in touch with weavers all over the country to understand and practice eco-friendly forms of making their products.
- For every product customers buy, Pahartah plants a tree in their name i. e giving back to nature.
5. Finding a logistics partner for your orders.
Estimate how many orders you wish to take. This is dependant on your business model. According to an article by storeya.com, your business model can be:
- Custom cut-and-sew
- Private label
You can collect orders via your website or online store. Once you do, find a shipping partner and approach them for a contractual deal, if orders are recurrent.
Packaging – Pack your clothes for shipping in sturdy packaging that does not impact the apparel inside. Ensure your shipping partner seals the product safely before packing.
When you sign up for online platforms like Instamojo or tie-up with an online shipping platform like DTDC or Delhivery, you get to track the package until it reaches your customer’s doorstep.
Instamojo offers flexible shipping partners for your online business.
6. How to use Instamojo to start an online clothing store
This is almost pivotal to setting up an online clothing business. You need an eCommerce platform that can help take care of 3 of the 5 steps above. When you look for an online store or website portal, you need to factor in –
Your current market – these are your potential shoppers and existing shoppers. Do they want an online store? If yes, what do they want exactly?
Products – What you plan to sell, upload and ship.
Competitors – You are running a business, not an NGO. There will be competition and you need to keep track of where they are selling their clothes.
Brand identity – How should customers view your brand
We considered these factors when you set up an online store for free on Instamojo.
How will your eCommerce business benefit from Instamojo store?
- Online payment systems – this gives your customers options to pay you online using any mode (credit/debit card, UPI, digital wallets or net banking)
- In-built marketing and lead generation apps.
- SMS and email campaigns to reach out to more customers
- Manage and customise your online store with over 30+ themes, custom domains and mailbox
- Use wholesale and referral discounts and SEO marketing tools for campaigns
- Domain and emails
- A wide option of trusted shipping partners to choose from
Check out this short video on how to create your own Instamojo store easily.
Start your own clothing store and grow your business to heights. You will find everything you need to start and scale on Instamojo. Create your free online store now!