While it is true that many people have failed in dropshipping clothes, this should not make you fear the idea—clothing can be one of the best things you can dropship as long as you know what you are doing. Whilst new drop shippers might struggle, you can do wonders with a few good tips and tweaks.
By why and how?
In today’s tutorial, I will teach you not only how to dropship clothes, but also why you should do it. Our coverage today will include:
- Why you should dropship clothing?
- Should you build a general or niche store?
- Where do you get clothing supplies?
- Tips before you launch your clothing store
- How you should price your clothing products?
- How to dropship clothes step by step
- Tips to help you market your clothing store
By the end of this tutorial, you should have a solid foundation of how this business works, and what steps you should take to build a profitable clothing store via dropshipping.
Why should you dropship clothing?
Obviously, we all need clothing. But this reason is not enough to back up a business. There has to be something more.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to consider clothing as a dropshipping business.
- Demand – there will always be a demand for clothing. It is a matter of choosing what niche you want to focus on. You can sell clothes for babies, teenagers, or adults. You can also dropship trendy clothing. On top of that, narrow down your focus on specific types of clothes—prom dresses, goth dresses, party and cocktail dresses, formal ones—it is really up to you.
- Supply – there is no shortage of suppliers for clothing. As you can see, this industry is not like toys. The toy industry is chockful of changing trends and demands. Because of that, you would be hard-pressed looking for a consistent, high-quality toy supplier. With clothing, just go to AliExpress, and you will find hundreds if not thousands of clothing suppliers.
- Inventory – in dropshipping, there is no need to keep your own inventory—all the more a reason to start a clothing store. In basic retail, you need to buy the clothes before you can sell them. In dropshipping, you can post as many clothing items as much as you want. You only buy them once orders are placed.
- Market – there are various market segments in the clothing industry. You do not have to sell all of them. If you want to focus on lingerie, then go right ahead! If you want to concentrate on the sleepwear market, then, by all means, do it. Sometimes a good focus will help you convert more!
As you can see, all these reasons provide you with a strong foundation for a retail business. With various segments in the market with different needs, you can fulfill these needs with products. And the best thing about the dropshipping model is that you do not have to buy them all at once.
What does this mean? It means that even if the fashion trends change overnight, you do not need to worry about this change. You won’t be stuck with expensive stock!
All you have to do is to change the content of your store, and you will not lose money as compared to the old way of doing retail where you have to buy all your products and keep them in a warehouse or a store room in your physical shop. Don’t you just love the internet??
Should you build a general or niche store?
This is a good question. Many people who start a dropshipping clothing store failed. And the main culprit?
They did not niche down enough.
The trouble with dropshippers is that they know that there is no limit to their inventory, so they try to attack all clothing niches at the same time. They build a super general store. As a result, their customers get confused, and their store does not have a “character.”
What you have to build is a niche store—something that targets a specific group of people. For example, you can build a clothing store for women. While this is still a general store, it does segregate your market.
In a general clothing store for women, you can offer tops, bottoms, formal and informal wear, lingerie, and so much more.
Better yet, you have to niche down further. For example, you can build a store that sells nothing but nightwear. The beauty of this is that it is easier to create a customer persona—you can easily create a customer avatar, and then build your marketing strategy from there. You then know exactly who to target!
Here are the advantages of a niche store:
- Targeted market – if you sell a specific kind of clothing, you are drilling down your prospects into a specific group. You will create ads that are targeted to a specific kind of buyer, not in a random or ad-hoc fashion.
- Smaller inventory – as a niche store, you only have to serve one demographic. As such, you do not need to fill your store with 500+ products.
- Better SEO – it is easier to write blog posts and target specific keywords, all of which will rank your website at the top of the search engines. If you build a general clothing store, you will be targeting hundreds of keywords, and it would be very difficult to rank.
- Higher conversion – since your marketing ads and efforts are targeted, you will only attract site visitors who have one foot in the door already—these are people who have an interest in your products. Since they already like what you have to sell, they are more likely to buy from you than a random site visitor.
Now, to help you out, here are some ideas about a niche clothing store:
- Goth clothing
- Clothing specific to camping
- Formal clothing
- Baby clothing
- Sports clothing
- Yoga clothing
As you can see, the people who would visit your site have an intent to buy—they do not just go to your store because they want to check it out. If you create an ad for camping gear, your target audience is made of people who love camping gear.
If all your store’s content is about vintage style clothing, the potential customer would certainly think that you are an expert in this niche—and with credibility, you will find it easier to convert a site visitor into a paying customer.
Where do you get clothing supplies?
At this point, you should have already decided what kind of clothing to sell. The next step is to look for reliable suppliers.
Here are my recommendations:
- SaleHoo – this is a dropship supplier tool where you can find millions of products, including clothing. The SaleHoo tool cannot be integrated with Shopify. Instead, you need to contact the suppliers, and then you have to upload the products in your store manually. SaleHoo costs $67 annually, or you can buy lifetime access for $127.
- Spocket and Oberlo – these are different tools that work in the same way. Both are free, but there are paid upgrades if you need better service. You can use both of them on WooCommerce, but they work best in Shopify.
Both of these are directories that allow you to automatically import the products you want to your store. They also have automatic price changes—plus you can fulfill the orders from the dashboard. You no longer need to go to the supplier’s website to order the items. You can also find US dropshipping suppliers here.
- Direct – what this means is that you have to send an email to the supplier of the clothing you want, and then ask if they dropship. This, of course, also means that all your product importing and updating are done manually.
- Print on demand – the last option is to register for an account at a print-on-demand (POD) company like Printful and Printify. You need to design your own clothes, and then post them on your store as a mock-up. Once a customer buys, the POD company would print it, and then ship it to your customer. This allows you to theme your clothes to target your audience exactly.
If you do not want to design your own clothing products, then POD is out of the question. The best option among all of these is to use a dropship supplier tool like Oberlo, Spocket, and SaleHoo. Why? Because these companies put the suppliers through a test before the supplier becomes part of their directory. Good suppliers will save you a lot of headaches, trust me!!
Tips before you launch your clothing store
Before you launch your dropshipping store, you need to think about your supplier and your market. These are two crucial things that have a direct impact on the success of your store.
- Supplier – make sure you look for a supplier that is reliable. The best thing you can do is to order at least one item from a supplier, especially for branded dropshipping. From this exercise, you will know if the supplier is dependable. You can find out how long the supplier takes to ship, and if the quality of the product is worth the price you are going to sell it for. You could also use the piece you receive to make real photos for your store.
- Market – how sure are you that there is a market for the product you want to sell. You have to do your research to back up your ideas. What you can do is to go to Google Trends, and then type the keyword for your product. If the trend score is greater than 50, then it means there is an adequate number of search being done about your product.
Never ever take a supplier’s word for it. You need to test if the supplier can deliver and if the supplier has credibility. Do not be fooled by photos. There are many clothing photos that look great on models, but they are made of polyester—a bad type of synthetic fiber that is cheap. If you sell this, your customers will often be disappointed.
How should you price your clothing products?
Pricing is an important component of success. If you do not price your products correctly, you would be surprised that your store may be selling, but you are financially losing.
The first thing you need to think about is your expenses. You need to have a hard line on how much you are spending on a monthly basis.
We will no longer discuss what these expenses are, but let us say that your store, virtual assistant, marketing spend—all of them typically costs about $400 a month. To break even, you have to produce a profit of $400 per month for your sales.
Next, what are your projections?
If you think you can sell 50 items in a month, then you have to divide $400 by 50. This means that you should have at least a profit of $8 per piece of clothing you sold. This calculation, however, only allows you to break even.
At best, you should price your products with a gross profit margin of 100%. If the clothing is worth $15 from your supplier, you should not sell it for less than $30.
You may say that this is already too high—that your competitors are selling it for a low price. If you are selling online, the last thing on your mind should be your competitors. Why? Because the internet is huge and beating your head against your competition is not a good business practice.
Your goal is to price your products in a way that the business can pay for itself—cut-throat competition is not going to work in dropshipping. Focus your pricing according to what your business needs, not according to how your competitors are doing it. If you target your customers well and send them to a conversion focused and professional site, they will gladly pay a premium.
How to dropship clothes step by step
There are only a few steps needed to build your dropshipping store, but each step is crucial to your entrepreneurial success.
- Choose a niche
- Choose a platform
- Build the store
- Market the store
We have thoroughly discussed why you need to build a niche store instead of a general store. Before you start selling clothes, you should choose a niche that you want to focus on.
Your platform is an important aspect of your store. If you choose a bad platform, your entire website is going to be difficult to use, not only for you but also for your customers. If you need more support about how you can market your store, you can read the next section.
Tips to help you market your clothing store
There are many ways that you can market your dropshipping store. The key here is to understand where your customers are congregating online. This is important, especially if you are planning to pay for ads.
Here are some tips for marketing your clothing store:
- Social media – this is free, so it is best that you use different social media channels to post your products. The best channels to use are Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Do not use Twitter for clothing, unless if you are selling politically-influenced clothing. Be aware that you need to post often to get any traction.
- Solo ads – this is an email marketing campaign where you give your ad to someone who has an email list. This person sends your ads to his email subscribers. If the recipients are interested, they will click on the link in the email, find themselves in your store, and then buy. Just make sure you find a reliable supplier with a list related to the customers you want to target.
- Paid ads – this is one of the most effective ways to market your products. The trick to succeeding with ads is by using the correct keywords, or by selecting the right audience. At best, you have to create two versions of your ad. Test, test, test. For clothing I would recommend Pinterest ads. The competition (and thus the price) is lower, and it is an ideal place to sell clothing!
Make sure that you always A/B split test. Launch at least two different ads at a small budget. See which one is performing better, and then scale that up.
The other way to market your store is to write blog posts. This is a slow process, but it can help you build massive free traffic over time.
The blogs must be related to the interests of your target market, and you need to be able to produce content that is helpful. If a person finds your blog, chances are that this person is going to click on the link to your shop.
So I Can Dropship Clothing?
Clothing is one of the three basic needs of human beings. It is only a matter of selecting the right clothing and the right market—you cannot just pick random clothing items and sell them. You need to find clothes that fit a specific group of people and then hit them with ads that resonate with their personalities.
Despite clothing being a basic human need, do not mistake it for something like food. Clothing is associated with behavior and beliefs. As such, part of your learning process on how to dropship clothes is to also learn how to identify a need, or a pain, which your products must address. Don’t just sell what everyone else is selling! Stand out! Give your customers that ‘wow’ moment when they see your store!