Sales methods to suit your online clothing business
An increasing number of people have started online clothes selling businesses since the pandemic hit. There's a lot of flexibility in this industry with different ways to sell products, so here are a few routes you can take if you're considering starting your own venture.
This model is almost identical to the way clothes are sold in traditional clothing stores. The seller imports or purchases a certain amount of clothing from another seller and displays it online, usually through pictures or live videos. Like regular stores, this runs the risk of excess stockpiles, which usually end up in clearance sales or disposal.
Despite the risk, Ainun Anowar Abonee and Anika Anowar Srabonee, sisters who run AyKa Way Official, started their business with this model.
Anika says, "Some customers do not like to wait for their products. Spot purchase is more efficient and less time consuming for the entrepreneur compared to pre-orders."
In this method, sellers bring in apparel after clients have placed their orders. The financial risk is minimum, as is the likelihood of unsold clothing lying around.
Rafia Ferdous Mim, owner of Deal of the Day, says, "A pre-order based model helped me study what my customers really prefer. For small businesses like mine, the biggest fear revolves around having excessive stock. The products are usually too pricey to have them lying around in surplus quantities. Being a pre-order based page has enabled us to offer a large variety of products which otherwise would have been too risky to introduce to the market. It also makes our business more sustainable by reducing waste."
This process relies on selling clothes in bulk to entrepreneurs for a low price who will then resell them. It's a win-win situation for both parties – the sellers make higher profits and the customers get lower prices. Some wholesalers sell to the customer directly instead of going through another party.
Manufacturers usually impose a minimum order policy on sellers to ensure maximum efficiency and profit on each product they produce.
Samia Azmery, owner of Playdate Closet, says she converted her business to a wholesale model after getting only a handful of orders for her clothing store. She noticed that there were many small business owners who wanted to buy clothes in bulk with a low minimum order quantity, but couldn't order them directly from a factory.
"So I opened a wholesale group for other small business owners and my sales increased significantly," Samia explains.
The most eco-friendly model of all, second-hand clothing, saw a resurgence in the industry due to increasingly environmentally conscious consumers. Acquiring pre-loved pieces, refurbishing them and displaying them online for sale will be your main tasks here. While some thrift stores rely on donations, many businesses who sell thrift clothing choose to pay for their stock.
Sunayra Subha Pushpita and Shenin Serjin Promi, co-founders of Bangladesh Thrift, liked the concept of wearing unique outfits rather than fast fashion garments. Sticking to this particular model always felt rewarding as we could contribute to bettering our environment in our own way, they say.
Of course, selecting your method of selling is just the first step. Then comes the market research, search for suppliers, your store's social media or website, and finally, marketing. In other words, a business plan is your stairway to success.
Ziba Mahdi is your resident pessimist. Cheer her up at [email protected]