The Ultimate Guide to Opening and Running an Online Clothing Boutique
Every beginner owner of an online clothing boutique, without a doubt, is in need of a comprehensive starters guide. A guide that contains everything about boutique clothing, up to the smallest detail, can substantially help in building and growing a profitable store.
This guide covers several important topics. Starting with which are the fundamental steps for setting up an online clothing boutique, you will learn which aspects are the cornerstone of this type of online business. Later on, we cover the subject of best-selling fashion items to get you a better perspective of the products in demand and help you define your business direction. Finally, this guide will get you through the process of researching and finding the best boutique clothing vendors and will give you a list of the best ones.
Following this guide will assist you in starting your journey in the clothing industry in the blink of an eye. You won’t have to wander around looking for answers to your questions at a whole lot of places. We got you covered by gathering all the necessary information in one place.
Let’s begin your success story in the wholesale clothing industry.
How to start an online clothing boutique?
Many online entrepreneurs have already begun selling designer and branded clothes online to increase their income. Every fashion enthusiast likes to buy items from the world’s most famous brands. People tend to spend more on timeless clothes, so your boutique can become their new favorite spot online.
Opening a boutique for designer clothing has many advantages. For one, you can pick Versace and Armani as your favorite brands and have only these two sold in your boutique. That way, you’ll be known as the boutique owner who has a unique collection of the best Armani and Versace fashion pieces.
However, building a successful online clothing boutique is not an easy process. Finding the perfect customers and retaining them requires a lot of time and attention. There are some steps that you need to follow to build a unique online boutique for branded clothing. To stand a good chance of outperforming your competitors, here is what you need to concentrate on.
Understanding the differences between dropshipping and wholesale
Your journey in the eCommerce industry should start by learning to distinguish the two popular methods for running a store. Dropshipping and wholesale follow diverse approaches, and both bring benefits to the store owners. The process of dropshipping is characterized by selling goods without owning a stock. On the other side, wholesale means buying goods in large quantities at a smaller price and selling them at a higher price.
In brief, opening and running an online boutique and buying wholesale clothing will be at the core of this article. Now that we have introduced you to dropshipping vs. wholesale, you can proceed with building and supplying your store.
Choosing the best online store builder
Many eCommerce platforms have the ‘build your store’ option. Sites like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix let the users take full control and customize their shop according to their needs.
It’s highly recommended to choose one that’s simple, user-friendly, and easy to transform. This is a major advantage in case you want to change your boutique’s looks later on. Most of these online store builders charge for the service, although rather symbolically.
Another advantage of setting up and managing an online boutique with an eCommerce platform is the extra options they offer. You can upgrade your boutique at any time depending on your needs and preferences. Moreover, these online store builders come with a package of build-in tools to optimize your store and increase your profit.
Diverse marketing and SEO tools are available for implementation in your store to help you build an outstanding boutique.
Picking a domain name
An integral part of opening a wholesale clothing boutique is crafting its unique identity. That’s the foundation upon which your business will grow. Creating a unique name and logo is the next thing to do after choosing an online store builder. It may sound trivial but all the world’s famous brands are remembered for their unique names and branding. Therefore, even if you spent a lot of time on this step, don’t sweat it as it will contribute to your overall success.
If you are struggling with this step, there are random business name generators all over the Internet. You could quickly choose one of their available options or even use them to get inspired. However, make sure to include an appropriate keyword that will relate to your industry. This is essential if you want your store to become more visible and to rank better in search engines.
A piece of advice, don’t make your brand’s name too long or difficult to read as people will have a hard time remembering it. Whatever you choose, have strong faith in your will to succeed, and you’ll see results before you know it.
Finding the best website theme
Up next is – the look of your website. It is a rule of thumb that it should correspond with your brand’s name and logo. If you don’t know where you are headed, before picking up a theme, you can test and preview several others.
This will give you a pretty good idea of what you like and don’t like for your store. Various key factors determine an online boutique’s appearance, user-friendly interface, and ‘likeness’ among customers.
It’s really easy to create the store online since you don’t have to be a developer to build a website on an eCommerce platform. Instead, most e-commerce platforms use the ‘drag-and-drop’ option, saving precious time for boutique owners. This theme will be the ‘face’ of your boutique, so choose it carefully to match your overall business idea.
If you’re still unsure of how to pick the right theme, look with the eyes of your potential customers. Put yourself in their shoes and analyze what would attract you to purchase clothes. When selling branded clothes, customers are mostly expecting a neat and sophisticated design. An online boutique with a theme that evokes disorganization and clutter can discourage people to make a purchase. On the other hand, a store with well-organized categories and products can motivate them to buy more pieces.
Adding products to your online store
This is where visitors turn into customers. How to increase sales? For starters, let them find the item they’re looking for with ease. Organize your products based on different categories, either by type, price, bestsellers, featured, or else. This makes the process of researching and filtering products fast and easy. No one wants to spend a lifetime looking through thousands of products. In such a case, it is more likely for a potential customer to exit the shop than to buy something.
If you are not sure how to organize your store, it’s always a good idea to look at how your competitors do it and inspire yourself do to better. There are several things you should focus on. Be careful when displaying products on a single page. Too many products or pages may cause disgust with your customers because of the huge range of choices. Also, offer different options for showing the products, for example, in a list or grid view. Some find it easier to browse when products are shown in a list format and vice versa, so it would be practical to be given the option to choose.
Additionally, if feasible, try to provide customers with as many fundamental filters as you can. These could include filtering by size, color, brand, type of material, etc. The greater number of options for filtering the better experience your customers will have. When it comes to the layout of your categories, for starters, you can try a few different ones to see which one appears the most attractive to your visitors. Once you determine it, you can apply it to all of your categories of products.
Setting up payment methods
As complex as it may seem, setting up a dropshipping payment gateway isn’t that hard. If you built your store with an eCommerce platform, it will be even simpler for you. For example, Shopify has its own ‘Shopify Payments’ processor, allowing users to manage payments via Stripe’s user dashboard. At the end of the day, whichever platform you use, if you need any assistance for this step, just check their support center.
Going forward, it’s very important to test the chosen shipping methods before launching them. Also, allowing multiple payment options will increase your sales since most customers use different payment methods. Allowing them to choose their preferred method is a vital part of the payment process.
What’s the point of all this? It means that the easier the checkout is for customers, the more sales you’ll have by the end of the month.
Getting your clothing boutique visible online
It is the right time to get busy and find your target customers. By using different search engine optimization (SEO) practices, you can increase your chances to rank higher in SERPs. By getting a better place in search engines, it gets easier for your potential customers to find your store. Confused? Let’s clarify this part better.
To establish a strong foundation for your online boutique, you need to determine which keywords you will target. Moreover, to stand a chance to compete in the industry, try to define different variations of your targeted keywords, and implement them in your store. When it comes to SEO and eCommerce platforms, Shopify offers several SEO built-in tools that can help you optimize your boutique.
However, if you choose to build your store on WordPress, you can always explore different SEO tools and plugins, such as Yoast.
Some online boutique owners can’t afford any of their time to set up a proper perfect SEO strategy. If this is the case with you as well, it would be a good idea to hire a professional to do it for you. Any quality freelance SEO expert can help your website get ranked in the search engines. It is important to emphasize that the investment in a proper SEO strategy for your online boutique is considered long-term. Not only will it help your existing customers to reach you more easily, but it’s also meant to attract a new audience.
Launching your online clothing boutique
After you complete all the previous steps, it’s time to double-check everything. From a design perspective, make sure all categories and products’ pages are accessible and easy to navigate. Don’t forget to check if there are any bugs as these could discourage your customers to buy from you. From an SEO perspective, be certain that all your meta descriptions and alt texts are clear and well-written.
Once everything is in order, you’re good to go live. Submit your sitemap to Google and analyze if any issues come up. As soon as you launch your store, don’t sit idly by – examine closely your traffic every day to see if something needs to be improved.
Promoting your online boutique
Investing a portion of your profits into advertising is always a good idea. Aside from SEO, paid advertising is a quicker way to get your store exposed to the right audience. By investing in ads, you can attract new visitors to your boutique and turn them into customers. Social media networks and Google ads are currently the best way to advertise your store. You could spend a few bucks to attract a new audience and encourage them to buy your products.
The most popular social media networks to use for this are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You won’t believe the results sellers get with the latter since most of the audience comprises women interested in fashion clothing. It’s well worth noting and trying out before you decide where to invest next.
Finally, advertising your luxury clothing boutique must go hand in hand with a powerful SEO strategy.
Now let’s emphasize which are the best selling products in the clothing department. This will considerably help you explore your best options for building a profitable boutique. If you got stuck thinking about what to sell, you don’t have to conduct extensive research to decide. Our list of top-selling fashion items will ease things for you.
Choosing the right products to sell is significant because of two major reasons. You will avoid the hazard of putting unpopular items on the market and losing money along the way. To emerge from the crowd of online boutiques that sell clothes, you have to offer an attractive palette of products. By selling these types of fashion items, you won’t lose time and money on advertising products that don’t have a future.
So, which are the fashion items that keep your target-customers awake at night ready to throw in some money?
The top items to sell online
It is an all-time favorite fashion item. Regardless if it is women’s or men’s jeans – this is an epic clothing piece that is necessary all year round. You won’t make a mistake if you feature whatever type of jeans from distinguished brands and designers in your online boutique. It is an item that both women and men need and wear almost every day.
What are the ladies into that I could feature in my store? You won’t go wrong with dresses. Add some casual dresses perfect for going up for a coffee or lunch and elegant dresses for parties, weddings, or other occasions. The better you filter out and sort the diverse types of dresses in your store, the more of them you are going to sell. When a lady is on the hunt for the perfect dress, she knows exactly whether it will be for an evening party or afternoon lunch. Therefore, ensure that you don’t let her wander around through your products to find the right one.
It is no surprise that shoes made it on the list of the best-selling fashion items. Shoes, in general, regardless of the type, are a trending item without any exception. People tend to buy new shoes for every season and every special occasion, therefore, there will always be a demand for shoes. To sum up, having designer shoes as part of your collection is a good chance to make an extra profit.
Even though it is an item worn mostly by women, it is the most popular accessory of them all. If you are a woman, you certainly are aware of this. But if you are a man, you surely ask yourself, how many handbags a woman needs? The answer is – any number is never enough. Shoulder bags, cross-bags, tote bags, backpacks, clutches, purses – whatever you sell, ladies will buy. Selling bags will never go out of fashion, and you certainly will increase your profits with this top-notch item.
The same goes for jewelry. Women wear jewelry on every occasion. Furthermore, jewelry makes the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion. Hence make sure that you add some jewelry pieces to your luxury collection. When it comes to jewelry, ladies will always go for high-quality gold or silver jewelry over inexpensive alloy or other materials. Thus you can make substantially big profits by featuring premium jewelry from famous brands and designers in your boutique.
Sunglasses are an accessory that will always be in demand. Everyone wears sunglasses either for protection or style, or both. It is the perfect product to sell all year round because the Sun is always shining somewhere across the globe. If you are into selling sunglasses and want to succeed, firstly, they must be top-quality. The majority of luxury brands design premium sunglasses with fancy designs. Thus, you have a risk for failure if you feature some branded sunglasses in your boutique.
Knowing which are the most trending clothing items and accessories can lead your online boutique in the right direction. Ultimately, featuring in-demand products in your store will give you the chance to step up in the industry.
However, in the end, regardless if you know which the best-selling products are if you buy them from an unverified supplier, you are doomed to fail. So, the next question that comes up is:
How to find clothing vendors?
Finding the right wholesale vendors for your online boutique is the key element for success. You need suppliers that are praised for their superior delivery of services. If you plan on opening a luxury clothing boutique, you must know the answer to the very important question. That is – where and how to spot wholesale clothing suppliers?
Having a reliable supplier that has a vast and quality collection of wholesale clothing and accessories from popular brands and designers is a must. And identifying these vendors is a long process, but it’s worth it in the long run. It will allow you to place unique products in your store and attract more visitors. Supplying your boutique with quality branded clothes is a way to spice things up and excel in the industry.
Let’s explore where you can search for wholesale clothing vendors, and how to identify which are worth pursuing.
Searching through search engines
One of the easiest ways for locating wholesale vendors for boutiques is by searching through search engines. But it is not the safest one. You wonder why? Usually, when navigating through the internet, you can stumble upon fake and unverified information.
These days, we are swamped by a load of news and information that we are unsure if it’s true or false. The same could happen when looking for verified wholesale suppliers for your store. Not all results you will come across in SERPs will be valid. Starting to work with a supplier who provides you with fake designer clothes could pose a major risk to your business.
The most popular and widely recognized brands are the usual targets for counterfeit. Therefore, when you get into the business of selling branded clothing, one thing is sure. Without a doubt, you will need to do a background check on your potential vendors.
Using social media channels
Not everyone wants to spend a large amount of money to advertise their wholesale company online. Some wholesalers prefer to stay ‘old-fashioned’ and use the power of social media to find new customers. You may find some of these scattered around Facebook’s or LinkedIn’s wholesale groups.
Simply search for wholesale groups and request to join their community. This is where wholesale vendors hang and promote their collections of luxury products. By joining these communities, you can explore new business opportunities and stay up with the latest trends in the industry.
Using wholesale directories
One of the safest ways to find suppliers is by browsing the global wholesale directories. These specialized “wholesale yellow pages” usually have some good insights and enough information for certain suppliers you’d wish to know more about.
As an example, the L.A. Fashion District is a directory that includes a wide range of wholesale suppliers that specialize in several industries, including branded clothing. Their list is huge, and it will ease your process of finding reliable and trustworthy wholesalers, with prices varying from high to low.
Attending apparel events and shows
Industry events are a great alternative if you find tiring the process of looking for wholesalers all over the internet. By attending events for wholesale clothing you will get a unique chance to meet the right people face-to-face.
Furthermore, as an online boutique owner, it is important to network with professionals in the wholesale industry for several reasons. You will get to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and see the most popular wholesale items to sell. Furthermore, you can explore new business opportunities with potential vendors.
Finding suppliers that offer stock lots
If you want to supply your store with a larger amount of branded clothing and accessories at extremely low prices, go with stock lots. Numerous suppliers who work with wholesale also offer the possibility to buy stocklots. It means buying large quantities of products, offered by liquidation stock wholesalers.
If you succeed in selling this amount of products in a short period of time, your business will literally explode in profits. Thus, the opportunities with wholesale lots are endless if you fight the right supplier. For example, BrandsGateway sells branded clothing stock lots with discounts of over 90% off retail prices. It is the perfect way to buy designer clothing in large quantities and at reasonable prices.
Comparing different suppliers’ prices
Sometimes it’s hard to choose between different wholesale vendors for boutique clothing. In such a case, there is one technique you can experiment with. Compare the offerings of the potential wholesalers for your boutique. Buying in bulk from a certain supplier might seem as if you’re getting large profits from your clothes, but that’s not always the case. You can increase profits even more if you compare the prices from different suppliers before deciding what to purchase.
Also, it could be a good idea to be open to collaborating with more than one wholesale supplier for clothing. Not all suppliers offer products from the same brands or designers. When you are selling branded clothes, this could be a good thing. You get the chance to supply your store with unique items from different brands and at prices that you find most reasonable.
Choosing between quality vs. quantity
Another element that can influence your decision about who to be your supplier is whether you are up for quality or quantity. Do you want to have an online boutique that sells clothes from mediocre brands? Or you would rather offer high-quality clothing from premium brands?
By default, the quality of the product is what increases the overall value, but price as well. You have to make up your mind which business model is more beneficial for you as an online entrepreneur. Whether you are going to focus on quantity and choose low-priced branded clothes or go with quality and stock the store with expensive limited pieces is up to you. To explain, you should assess the situation, explore your opportunities and target audience, and choose wisely.
Lastly, clothing vendors for boutiques are great for any boutique. You can buy great quantities of high-quality wholesale items at prices that can be reduced to up to 95%.
In the end, if you consider the process of searching for suppliers long and tiresome, we prepared this guide to make things easier for you. For that reason, we compiled a list of the best clothing vendors for your boutique.
Here comes the list of the 10 most trustworthy and reliable suppliers for luxury designer wholesale.
Top 10 wholesale clothing vendors for boutiques
BrandsGateway is one of the leading clothing and accessories vendors, offering premium brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Michael Kors. The company provides unique wholesale clothing to boutique stores all around the world. Located in Sweden, it covers both the European and U.S. markets with fast and secure shipping within 3-5 days.
BrandsGateway’s products are authentic, always shipped with their original barcodes, labels, and hand-tags. In contrast with other wholesale clothing suppliers, the supplier provides the possibility to buy in bulk without having to buy in large volumes. Their minimum order requirement stands at 1,000 euro or 1,120 U.S. dollars per transaction.
As a B2B luxury fashion company, BrandsGateway sells wholesale clothing for boutique owners, retailers, or wholesale vendors. Namely, the company currently has thousands of clients all around the world, such as small retailers, department stores, other wholesalers, and eCommerce stores.
Postskriptum is a high-quality boutique, wholesale clothing, and accessories stock supplier that collaborates with 500 companies in 25 countries. The company deals with branded wholesale products by Tom Ford, Dolce, and Gabbana, Michael Kors, Cavalli, Armani, Donna Karan, etc.
This wholesale supplier offers authentic apparel, footwear, and accessories from leading European manufacturers. The company’s storage facilities are over 5,000 square meters. They expand their range of products depending on the needs of the market.
ASL Express is a company that sells branded clothing and sportswear. They offer wholesale designer clothes from brands like Adidas, Reebok, Puma, Nike, and Timberland. Their buyers can benefit from a wholesale discount of 30-70%. What’s more, the company has an Enterprise Resource Planner that can tell you about the delivery status of your shipment. You can track if your order is dispatched, processing, or pending. All of their products come with original tags and labels, which is proof of their authenticity.
ASL Express is a B2B supplier of authentic sports clothing and shoes and operates as a part of Adam Sinclair Ltd. It can supply your store with wholesale products from their base in London, no matter what your location is.
Branded Wholesale UK
As the name itself implies, Branded Wholesale UK sells branded wholesale items. More precisely, they feature women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing and footwear by brands like Nike, Armani, Adidas, Givenchy, etc. The company sells products to customers who are both well-established and the newest retail startups.
By registering, you will be able to see the newest offers, prices, and special offers as well as track your wholesale order. Branded Wholesale UK currently accepts payment through three payment methods. Payments can be performed via PayPal, BACS transfer, and by check. When it comes to delivery and shipping, countries and costs are divided into zones, from zone 0 to zone 5 for orders up to 31.5 kg.
Wholesale Clearance UK
Wholesale Clearance U.K. sells wholesale designer clothes, jewelry, footwear, stock lots, and other types of products. Their customers are usually boutique owners or eBay resellers. Moreover, they sell surplus stock and items obtained after bankruptcy, to both individuals and companies of all sizes. Over the past 10 years, the company became a multi-million dollar business. As a result, it now has 15 employees and a warehouse located in Dorset, England.
F&P Stock Solution
F&P Stock Solution buys overstocks, customer returns, and liquidations of shoes, textiles, and accessories and re-sales them to wholesalers. The company is based in Berlin, Germany, and is one of the biggest clothing vendors for boutiques in the country. They deliver products to more than 40 countries around the world. Most importantly, the products they sell mostly represent recognized European and American brands. They offer a product mix that can have pieces from both new and older collections.
Their products are divided into 3 categories (A, B, C) according to their quality, packaging, and defects. The company’s vision is to give a second life to unsold stock clothing inventory. On the downside, they don’t provide any logistics or shipping assistance. Buyers need to organize everything by themselves. This is one of the very few companies in Europe without logistic assistance. When it comes to payment methods, you can pay by credit card, bank transfer, cash in person, and via PayPal.
Zadarovstock is a B2B wholesale supplier of designer clothing, accessories, and shoes. They have a collection of products from affordable brands such as Mango, Pimkie, and H&M. Zadarovstock sells products like swimwear, footwear, outerwear, accessories, dresses, and jeans. The company has more than 10 years of experience in the wholesale market. In addition, they offer discount prices of up to 95% of the retail price.
To clarify, the company only works with large quantity orders, from 5,000 units. Their key mission is the promotion of reasonably priced European fashion brands. The shipment of products is managed from their warehouse in Valencia, Spain. Zadarovstock currently offers two payment options for its wholesale buyers.
Jonah’s Brands is a designer wholesale clothing company established in 1989. It ships to online boutique owners worldwide. The company is based in Brooklyn, New York, and it sells wholesale designer clothing, shoes, accessories, and bags, as well as luggage and cosmetics. The array of brands featured in their collection includes Chloe, Prada, and Zanotti. Jonah’s Brands is a company with proven experience in providing quality merchandise from the best brands in the industry to companies worldwide. They are one of the most aspiring clothing vendors for boutiques in the U.S.
Fashion Stock Netherlands
Fashion Stock Netherlands is a well-known designer wholesale clothing supplier of clothing in Europe. You need to start with a minimum of 1,000 pieces, but 20,000 or more pieces of clothing are also available. They supply products to boutiques based in Central and Eastern Europe. Fashion Stock Netherlands sells brands like Pierre Cardin, Mexx, and Diesel. The company is based in Rosmalen, the Netherlands, and specializes in selling branded apparel. Fashion Stock Netherlands supplies clothes to clothing wholesalers, importers, and entrepreneurs. If you want to receive their latest offers, you need to fill in a form, and you will receive it.
Alicotex is a Dutch wholesale clothing supplier of luxury clothing. Their 15,000 square meters warehouse in Alkmere is one of the largest in the region. It’s where they prepare and pack all products for shipping anywhere across the globe.
To buy clothing from Alicotex, you may do so via bank transfer or by cash. All clothes are authentic and carry a tag from brands such as Replay, Denham, Glitz & Glam, Supertrash, Scotch & Soda. There are over 900,000 pieces in stock and discounts are available instantly, or upon visiting their warehouse.
To sum up
Making a powerful strategy for building and growing an online clothing boutique isn’t a simple and easy process. You have to think through numerous aspects to the tiniest detail. Our comprehensive guide will get you on the right path from the very beginning. It gives the answers to three key questions: How do I start an online clothing boutique, which are the top clothes to sell online, and how to find vendors for clothing. In addition, it discovers the best wholesale suppliers.
In conclusion, the foundation of a successful online boutique consists of understanding and following the steps for building your store. Later on, identifying which products have the potential to bring you the biggest profit. In the end, determining which suppliers have a solid offering of luxury branded clothing and are valuable to pursue.
Table of Content
- How to start an online clothing boutique?
- Understanding the differences between dropshipping and wholesale
- Choosing the best online store builder
- Picking a domain name
- Finding the best website theme
- Adding products to your online store
- Setting up payment methods
- Getting your clothing boutique visible online
- Launching your online clothing boutique
- Promoting your online boutique
- The top items to sell online
- How to find clothing vendors?
- Top 10 wholesale clothing vendors for boutiques
- To sum up