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How to Start a Dropshipping Clothing Business: Prepare, Launch, Promote

Nedina Gjorgjieva
13 minutes
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Being your own boss certainly brings aboard a multitude of benefits. Having the opportunity to grasp full control over your career is a dream come true for many people. Those who do manage to take advantage of it are given the freedom to set up their company’s guidelines, create their ideal working environment, and easily switch from working from the office to working from home, precious flexibility which has become significantly important, especially in this post-pandemic day and age.

Because of these and many more reasons you can learn about through these dropshipping statistics, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are showing interest in eCommerce retail, whose global sales are expected to reach over 7 trillion USD by 2025. Online retail offers aspiring business owners to earn profits by choosing from a couple of revenue models among which are wholesale, private labeling, white labeling, subscription, and dropshipping. In this article, we’ll further discuss the latter model and give you the full picture of starting your own apparel dropshipping business.

Estimated to surpass 160 billion USD by 2025, fashion eCommerce is surely something to take into account when looking into profitable business ideas. Building an online dropshipping clothing shop from the ground up does come with its own challenges. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a chance. To make things easier for you, we’ll walk you through all the necessary steps that’ll lead you to successfully launch your fashion dropshipping store. But before getting started, let’s make sure you’re familiar with what is dropshipping and know all the details regarding this online retail business model.

How does dropshipping work?

As previously mentioned, dropshipping is a retail form that allows online store owners to sell customers merchandise without having an inventory. Instead, dropshippers collaborate with suppliers who do the actual packing and shipping. In other words, whenever consumers buy something from a dropshipping store, the store’s owner forwards the order to its supplier. Once the supplier has received it, they process it and deliver the product directly to the customers.

In order for this to happen, as a prospective dropshipper, you’ll need to register with a clothing supplier such as BrandsGateway, for example, after which you’ll get a hold of their full clothing catalog. You can purchase products the minute a client puts in an order, thus, avoiding buying items in bulk and getting stuck with unsold merchandise. Moreover, BrandsGateway even offers an automated dropshipping solution that will allow you to get access to the supplier’s real-time inventory and avoid listing out-of-stock products. Because of its low start-up costs, small risk exposure, and the overall convenient way dropshipping works, you don’t lose anything if you give it a go, and who knows, with time you may make it your primary source of income.

How to start your own dropshipping business?

Now that you’re thoroughly familiarized with the dropshipping business model, it’s time to guide you through the process of setting up your own clothing dropshipping store, be it the traditional eCommerce model or the reverse dropshipping method. The following steps include comprehensive information that’ll assist you in constructing your business plan and launching your company smoothly and stress-free.

Preparation Phase

Find your fashion niche

Many will advise you to go with a fashion niche you feel excited about and are ready to dedicate your time and energy to. After all, the products you plan to sell will play a major role in establishing your business identity, which consists not only of your business name but also of your merchandise, internal company values, customer service, and many more.

Although it’s important to choose an apparel niche you’ll be genuinely interested in, it’s equally significant to pick out the one you’re well familiar with and have the necessary skills and knowledge to make it work. The more research you conduct the better acquainted you’ll be and feel much more confident in launching your business. Furthermore, having professional education in that particular market segment will even more greatly increase your chances of success. It’s one thing to know a few details about your niche but completely another to have a thorough understanding of the segment’s overall size, profit margins, customer base, growth expectations, and a lot more. But even more important it’s to choose something that’ll sell and can easily target customers. According to Forbes magazine, potential entrepreneurs want to rest assured that there’s a need for their products, otherwise their work will be nothing but a hobby and never transform into a profitable business.

Having this in mind, try to strive for lucrative clothing niche ideas that preferably have a significant number of followers yet you still find them engaging and are willing to invest effort into further expanding them. For example, dresses are an all-time winning women’s category that’ll certainly bring you some remarkable revenue gains. With profits reaching 100 million USD, the dress segment of the apparel market ranks among the highest-earning fashion niches. This particular item sells with the speed of light any time of the year, being a staple in women’s closets for centuries. When it comes to attracting the male audience, you can never go wrong with trousers. Whether it’s jeans, shorts, chinos, or formal pants, men seem to enjoy treating themselves to a new pair of trousers quite often, increasing the pants segment’s revenue to 123 million USD in 2022. BrandsGateway covers both of these categories of products, supplying you with a variety of types of dresses to dropship of superior quality and exquisitely tailored trousers for every man’s taste that’ll bring you many satisfied customers and grow your dropshipping store into a thriving success.

To keep track of trending niches you can always take advantage of search tools such as Google Trends to help keep you up to date with the most popular apparel market segments at the moment. By typing your topic or search term into the search box, Google Trends will allow you to check out how people’s interest in your niche has evolved over time and where it currently stands. Additionally, you can also compare different fashion niches and observe side by side the differences and similarities in how they’ve been developing. Moreover, Google Trends lets you explore your niche according to your geographical location, allowing you to select particular regions and subregions so you can see the exact places where the clothing pieces you’re planning to sell enjoy popularity most.

Check out the competition

There’s almost always going to be someone who’s already launched your niche idea, with much greater experience, and bigger knowledge about the product they’re selling. But that’s nothing to despair about. Instead, your next mission should be getting to know your competitors and carefully observing their work strategies and tactics. In that way, you’ll be able to use that information to improve your own business approaches.

For instance, researching their marketing plans and knowing how their audience responds to them can easily be used to your advantage. In case you take notice of the slightest doubt in their customers, adapt your advertising schemes and make them stand out. Furthermore, keeping up with your competitors’ media presence can be a great way to offer customers the attention they’re seeking which sometimes competitors might fail to give. If you observe that happening, that’s your sign to start interacting with potential clients on the social media platforms and provide them with an unforgettable customer experience by engaging with them on a regular basis. For example, you can easily do that by taking advantage of Instagram stories or by posting photos on the app routinely accompanied with attention-grabbing fashion captions.

As Forbes once again states, getting acquainted with your competition will give you an edge in knowing where you stand in the marketplace and how you can differentiate from the rest. You can look into your fashion store competitors by following their social network profiles, inspecting their websites, or researching them on Google. For more in-depth investigation you can alternatively use analysis tools.

Build a long-lasting relationship with your supplier

When running a dropshipping clothing store, your supplier plays the most crucial part of your business as without them there isn’t going to be any business at all. When starting, the only way you could inspect the products is through your supplier’s catalog, so you’ll have to be able to rely on their word. If you run into situations where customers are delivered faulty merchandise, you’ll be the one bearing the responsibility as it’s your name on the product package and not the supplier’s. Therefore, we can’t stress enough how vital it’s to hunt down reliable suppliers that work in B2B2C eCommerce and offer products of impeccable quality. For instance, a top-rated apparel dropshipping supplier such as BrandsGateway will offer you top-notch luxury products for great prices and even greater profits and you can be sure that your end customers will get 100% authentic products.

In order to avoid getting lured in by unreliable suppliers, don’t rush into making a decision. Try to make as many inquiries as you need, get a hold of reviews, and check for certifications and product authenticity which is especially important when it comes to selling high-end fashion items and world-renewed brands. Make a mental note to yourself to stay alert for shady offers and commit yourself to carry out thorough research before settling down with a supplier.

Launching Phase

Set up your eCommerce store

Now that you’ve decided on a clothing niche and have successfully tracked down genuine suppliers, it’s finally time to get your business off the ground by setting up your eCommerce store. Your online shop is going to be the centerpiece responsible for managing all of your business’s operations. From receiving orders and forwarding them to suppliers to acquiring payments and offering customer support. Above all, it’s the place where clients can browse through your garment collections. In the case of traditional brick-and-mortar stores, the shop window is one of the very first things that shape the customer’s first impressions and influence them into buying something. In the event of a dropshipping store, however, it’s the store’s website that serves as your storefront where customers can window-shop before deciding on a purchase. Taking this into account, it’s essential to put enough time into creating a high-quality website that’ll not only enable customers to easily look through the clothing items you’re offering but also allow you to effortlessly get around it and deal with all your tasks without a hitch.

Nowadays, you’ll stumble upon many eCommerce platforms that’ll do all the hard work for you. To illustrate, Shopify happens to be such a platform that’ll cater to all your needs and requirements when it comes to setting up a website. With the opportunity to choose from three different subscription plans, Shopify will enable you to customize your fashion store to your liking by choosing the theme, color, fonts, logo, and any other design elements. Furthermore, the e-store platform sets you up automatically with a free store domain name. But no worries, if you don’t like the sound of it, you can easily purchase one from the platform. In addition, Shopify is one of the eCommerce platforms for which certain suppliers offer a plugin for automation – BrandsGateway and Shopify, for example, are the perfect combination for setting up and running a successful dropshipping store with just a few clicks as this supplier offers a convenient Shopify app which will automate the majority fo your tasks.

Promoting Phase

Start advertising your online clothing store

After having everything settled, there’s nothing else left to do but start promoting your store. In order to generate big sales and increase your eCommerce conversion rate to a maximum, you’ll have to start driving substantial traffic to your website, and in order to do that, you’ll have to get a hold of great marketing strategies and similar dropshipping resources. As it’s the case with many dropshipping beginners, you might find yourself with a limited budget that wouldn’t cover expensive publicity. Nevertheless, there’s a plethora of advertising tools available to use cost-free or for an affordable fee and show you how to promote your online clothing store.

To give an example, pay-per-click advertising programs such as Google Ads and Google Shopping Ads allow you to set up a monthly budget and take full control of running your advertisements (you can pause them or restart them whenever you want to). Facebook and Instagram Ads function similarly, hence, giving you the opportunity to generate traffic for low fares and keep an eye on your budget via the Facebook ad metrics. Blogging and podcasts, such as eCommerce podcasts and business podcasts, are other things your dropshipping store can benefit from. Creating engaging content around your niche is always helpful in spreading the word about your newly launched shop.

And last but not least, don’t forget to give social apps a go as well. Setting up an Instagram business account, for instance, won’t cost you a dime yet can still successfully allure customers by presenting them with captivating product images you can further improve by using a clothing photo app. The same goes for TikTok advertising. Opening an account on this app accompanied with a captivating TikTok bio and entertaining fashion content will also contribute to growing your business.

To sum things up

There’s nothing better than creating your own dropshipping business and transforming it into the prosperous company you’ve always imagined having. You can read about such an experience in this dropshipping case study. However, the road to success can be a bumpy ride. It may take a while to get your head in the game, but eventually, it’ll pay off. Despite being quite a tough challenge, launching a clothing dropshipping store can be a rewarding experience that’ll bring you an amazing sense of accomplishment. Nevertheless, in order to improve your chances of successfully building your online boutique, it’s of key importance to have a rigorously mapped out business plan in mind to guide you through the whole process: from preparing to launching to promoting. By carefully following our detailed steps, you’ll have your store up and running before you know it.

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About the Author

Nedina Gjorgjieva

Proud bookworm, passionate content writer and devoted Arctic Monkeys fan. Always in the mood for travel and sightseeing.

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