Why sell purses and handbags online

The purse and handbag market has been steadily growing over the past few years and is estimated to continue to grow into the next decade. From 2015 to 2019 - the compound annual growth rate of the purse and handbag industry has gone up in the United States as well as in the UK and is expected to grow at around 5.9% over the next two years.

With the market expanding and the holiday season right around the corner - the time to start thinking about breaking into the handbag industry is now. It might seem a bit nerve-wracking to jump into an industry with so many established companies - but the size and diversity of the purse and handbag market leaves a lot of room for smaller brands to corner specific niches and aesthetics. The bag industry also has a ton of room for expansion - from luxury purses to designer backpacks - there’s a lot of possibilities for crafting a personality for your brand.

Get started building a purse brand

If you’re building a purse brand online - you’ll want to start by thinking about the personality of your brand. There’s a lot of options for branding purses - from luxury-style brands to more casual handbags. When thinking about what kind of identity you want your purses to take, try to find a niche that interests you the most. This will help with keeping up your enthusiasm for the brand when setting-up your social media accounts and building your following.

Maybe you consider yourself something of a cosmopolitan fashionista. If this is true - you might want to dip into the more high-end, luxurious side of the market. If you’re more of the sporty type - then maybe less expensive, more casual and practical bags might be up your alley. The types of products you choose to sell are very important in guiding how you find your audience - so make sure to have a clear idea in mind when you start on building a following. You’ll want to tailor your social media marketing strategy to the types of customers you hope to attract.

You’ll also want to keep your options open when selling handbags and purses so you can think about expanding into other territory when the business picks up. Where you choose to take your business is up to you - but it’s best to take it in a direction that will feel more natural for the following you’ve built.

For example - if you decide to sell high-end purses to an older audience, it would make sense to consider moving into selling fashion accessories down the road. If your products are more on the sporty side, maybe active-wear might compliment your products. You want to craft a brand identity that both works for the products you’re selling now and can work for products you choose to sell later on.

Using drop-shipping to sell handbags

Drop-shipping is a great option for entrepreneurs who might be just starting out because it negates the need to design, manufacture or ship your products. Drop-shipping companies are manufacturers that will ship products directly to your buyers when the products are purchased. Here’s how it works: when a customer places an order - shipping and product info get sent over to your drop-shipper who sends the product out to your customer.

With this system in place, you don’t need to worry about storing stock or shipping items out of your home. This frees up more time for you to focus on building an online presence for your brand and attracting followers that you can funnel to your online store.

You can lower the cost of goods by buying products in bulk from Alibaba. However if you’re looking to have product shipped on-demand after purchase - you can also have them drop-shipped through AliExpress by using the Oberlo app - which lets you add product to your online store in one click. Drop-shipping products tends to be a bit more expensive that purchasing them wholesale and shipping them out yourself. However, due to the fact that the item is shipped only after it’s been purchased - you’re a lot less likely to have overstock and a lot more likely to turn a profit.

AliExpress offers a lot of different types of purses and handbags with many different designs. The variety of products makes it easier to corner a specific niche and find designs that will appeal to that niche. When looking for products - it’s best to think about branding and pick products that will help build an identity around your brand. Understanding your audience and what they’ll find appealing is essential marketing your purse company - so make sure you know who you’re selling to before you decide what you’re selling.

How to market purses through social media

Once you’ve decided what products you want to start selling and the type of buyer you want to attract - it’s time to start moving on to building an audience by finding those people. If you’re just getting started - chances are you’re looking to keep costs low. This means that - at least in the beginning - your primary marketing platform will be social media.

Purse and handbag brands tend to do better on visual mediums - such as Instagram and Pinterest. Remember also that you want to use a medium that has the right age-group demographics for your brand. Instagram tends to skew to a younger audience - so this is likely the best platform if your target audience is younger. Pinterest’s user-base tends to skew closer to middle-aged - so if you’re selling high-end luxury purses, this might be the best channel to grow your following.

You want to explore profiles and hashtags relevant to the audience you’re looking for. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to exclusively follow purse and handbag companies - but you want to think about which celebrities, influencers and brands your audience would currently be following. For example; if you’re selling casual bags for the outdoorsy type - maybe consider scoping out followers of travel blogs and outdoor gear brands.

Understanding what your audience find enjoyable will help you when creating content that gets your followers attention. You want to produce content regularly - but keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. Remember to like and comment on audience posts as well. This will help to get exposure for your brand and help you build your following over time.

Purses and handbags are best promoted using lifestyle shots of people using your products. You can take pictures yourself if you’d prefer - or you can use any of the photos in our downloadable starter kit above. As your brand grows, you might also consider posting pictures of your own customers using your products. This helps to build word-of-mouth brand recognition and can make your followers feels like the brand is an extension of themselves.

Instagram influencers are another great wat to market your products on Instagram. Influencer accounts are accounts with large, established audiences. They’re usually catered to a specific demographic and have an established degree of credibility with their audiences. This makes influencers great for cross-promotion. The credibility that an influencer has with their audience can easily translate into credibility for your brand. Some larger influencers do charge fees for promotion, but smaller influencers for specific niches are usually low-cost and more effective.

You can also increase sales by making it quick and easy for your followers to purchase your products directly from their social media account. Shoppable Instagram Galleries can give you the option to tag product in your images and have the tags link directly back to your online store. You can also allow customers to purchase directly through Pinterest if you’ve set-up a Shopify store.

Business Model

Drop-shipping purses and handbags can be both low-cost and low-risk. Since the products are paid for only after you’ve sold them - the cost of goods will always be lower than the price they’re sold at. Purses on AliExpress can range in price from around $15 to $40 for more high-end items. This means that if you sell your products at around $40 - $50 you can expect to make a lot of profit. If you’re selling more high-end purses - you can also get away with higher price points.

Dropshipping tips

If you decide to dropship through AliExpress, here are a few tips to set yourself up for success.

Free shipping can be exceptionally slow on AliExpress, and the express options are often prohibitively expensive. Try to find sellers that offer epacket shipping; it's an affordable alternative that allows trackable and quick shipping from China to most developed countries including USA, Canada, and some of the United Kingdom.
AliExpress can sometimes seem overwhelming because there are so many products. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to product selection, sort your search results by “Most Ordered”. This will put the best sellers at the top of the list and give you a general idea of what’s selling and what’s popular.
To get a better idea of what the cases look like in real life, check out the Reviews tab for product listings and view “Reviews with Photos.” Be sure to read the reviews as well, to see what others are saying about the product. Also, you’ll want to check out the “Transactions” tab within the product listing on AliExpress. If you see several purchases from one person, it’s likely they’re dropshipping the item. This tells you it’s likely a good item to sell.
Even though you might be paying next to nothing on AliExpress, don't under-price your products. You’ll want to leave enough margin for marketing, so try to sell products for three or four times your cost.
Try bundling your items into themed sets, or offering complementary products. Check out what the competition is selling to get a better idea of what product categories might be particularly relevant to your audience.
Platforms like Facebook allow you to target very specific attributes or behaviours. For example, if you use Facebook ads to drive traffic to a cell phone store, you can target iPhone 6 users for iPhone 6 phone cases and target LG V10 phone users for LG V10 phone cases. These device-specific options can be found in the ‘Behaviour Targeting’ section of your Facebook ad manager. Hyper-targeting can be applied to a wide range of behaviors and demographics.

Start Your Own Purse Brand Today!

With the purse and handbag market steadily growing over the past couple of years - there’s never been a better time to start your own purse business. Download our royalty-free, high-resolution images and get started today!