How to Start an Online Clothing Store

Updated April 17, 2017

As online shopping becomes more secure, more people are going to their computers to shop. Shopping for clothing online is easier and can be cheaper. Sites often have sizing charts as well, and some let you input your measurements to see what the clothing will look on someone your size. As demand for online clothing stores increase, you might consider starting your own.

Decide what you are going to sell. Will you specialise in women's, men's or children's clothing, or will you sell all clothing? Finding a niche market and aiming your merchandising toward that market can make a store successful. Identifying your market can help you learn your demographic.

Get your merchandise. Are you going to make special clothing in your home, perhaps baby or doll clothes, take photos of it and market it to the buyers of baby or doll clothes? What happens if someone orders hundreds of articles of clothing? Can you make them all and deliver them on time? You can set up a manufacturing operation, hire people to sew from your designs and have a ready supply, but how do you pay for all that if orders are not steady and profitable? Make sure you can supply the merchandise before you jump into a business such as this.

Consider buying wholesale. If you buy large amounts of clothing to resell, you have to order the right sizes, colours and pieces of clothing. You then have to ship the clothing that is ordered. Before shipping, you have to have a place to store all that merchandise, so make sure you have enough room.

Consider shipping costs. Shipping means packaging, addressing and getting the package to the shipping company you will use. The cost of shipping must be built in to your website (see Resources).

Design and establish a website or hire a designer to do it for you. Buy a shopping trolley application. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can buy complicated or simple shopping trolleys. You must enter photos, description, sizing capabilities, shipping costs and the available colours of each article you wish to sell (see Resources).

Investigate drop shipping. A site that uses a drop shipper simply faxes an order to the shipper, who then does all the work. The drop shipper keeps the merchandise in a warehouse, packages it, ships it out and takes care of returns as well. You keep the difference between what the customer paid and what you paid (see Resources).

Market your store online. You can buy ads, use social networking and set up a blog to spotlight your store. Marketing is the key to success with any store, so know or learn how to market successfully to make a profit (see Resources).


Keep abreast of fashion trends by reading trade publications and visiting stores regularly. Take advantage of the know-how retail buyers can impart to you.


Avoid tax problems by learning the rules and regulations for running an online business. For example, you must charge sales tax for purchases made by a customer in a state where you also have a brick-and-mortar store. Include your online business income on both your federal and state income tax returns.

Things You'll Need

  • Server
  • Website developer
  • Clothing
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About the Author

This writer has been at the writing craft for over 50 years from long before computers or even electric typewriters. Now retired from her day job she spends retirement hours writing for online sites.