Why sell women’s apparel online

The women’s apparel market has been steadily growing globally over the past couple of years. In 2014 - the industry made a whopping $621 Billion - which represents a growth rate 12% over the previous 5 years. Growth is expected to contunue over the next couple of years - with stores with a niche or specialty offering expected to grow more rapidly. This presents a unique opportunity for small business owners.

Although Women’s fashion has a lot of major players - the vast expanse of the market provides a lot of room for small businesses to acquire a good chunk of the profits. The market is large - which presents an advantage to smaller business, because even by capturing a small percentage of the market - there’s a lot of room to gain profits.

As well - the diversity of the industry offers a lot of room for expansion into other products. For example, you could start off selling dresses for formal occasions and then move into selling high-end fashion accessories. A product like women’s fashion is great to sell if it’s your first foray into entrepreneurship - since there’s a lot of different directions you can take your company as sales pick-up.

How to drop-ship women’s fashion

When it comes to women’s fashion - there’s no shortage of dropshipping companies and wholesalers that can provide stock for your store. You can use wholesalers and ship your products out yourself - but if you’re really looking to focus your time and energy towards marketing, then dropshipping the items might be the best option for you.

Dropshipping companies are companies that will manufacturer, package and ship your products for you - meaning you don’t need to worry about storing expensive stock and selling it off. With drop-shipping - an order is placed with your supplier when a customer purchases from your store and the order is shipped out directly to your customer. With a third-party shipping company handling all the shipment and manufacturing needs for your store - you’re free to focus your energy and attention on marketing and building your brand on social media.

Having products drop-shipped does tend to be a little bit more expensive than purchasing product wholesale - however, there’s a lot of benefits to drop-shipping that make it a more financially viable option. Since the products are only shipped after they’ve been purchased, you’ll never run into the issue of having to store and sell-off expensive stock. This makes drop-shipping a much more low-risk business venture than purchasing products wholesale and shipping them out of your home.

The easiest way to have your products drop-shipped is by using the Oberlo app. The Oberlo app allows you to import products from AliExpress directly into your Shopify store in one click. From there - products are synced with your store so that when users purchases them - the order is sent directly to Oberlo’s warehouse where the products are shipped out.

AliExpress offers a wide variety of women’s clothing items - from dresses, to pants, to shirts, coats and accessories. This means that there’s a lot of room to grow and acquire new products regularly that are adaptable to your niche.

Build a women’s fashion brand

When it comes to building a women’s fashion brand - you first want to think about what kind of niche you want to go after. Do you want to sell business attire - like dress skirts and blazers? Or maybe you want to go for a more casual, down-to-earth aesthetic and sell t-shirts, hoodies and shorts. Whichever branding you choose - it’s important to have this in mind when selecting your products and building your social media following.

Products like women’s fashion tend to be more successful on visual-based social media platforms - such as Instagram and Pinterest. These are great platforms to get started on if you’re selling women’s clothing. If you want to start on one social media platform first - it’s best to choose the one that’s right for your demographic. If you anticipate selling to middle-aged women - you’ll find more of your target demographic on Facebook or Pinterest, whereas Instagram tends to skew to a younger audience.

Marketing women’s fashion on social media

Once you have an idea of what demographic you’re selling to and what aesthetic your branding will take - it’s time to start finding your audience. You can do this on the social network of your choice by exploring profiles and hashtags that are relevant to the expected audience for your brand. For example - if you’re selling activewear - you’ll likely find potential buyers following travel and sport-lifestyle profiles and hashtags. You’ll want to like and comment on posts from members of this audience to increase exposure for your brand and build your following over time.

Instagram influencers are another great way to build your brands on Instagram. Influencers are accounts with large, established audiences catered to a specific demographic. Because these users have an established degree of credibility with their audiences, they’re great for cross-promoting products from your store. Large influencers can usually charge exobant fees for promotion, but luckily smaller influencers for specific niches are usually low-cost and more effective.

There’s a ton of great options for increasing sales once you’ve built a social media following. You can use Shoppable Instagram Galleries to make it easy for your followers to purchase products directly from Instagram. You can also allow customers to purchase directly through Pinterest or directly through Facebook if you’ve set-up a Shopify store.

Once you have an understanding of your audience and the types of posts that they engage in - it will be easy to produce regular content that will catch their attention and drive sales. You want to produce content regularly - but keep in mind that the quality of your posts is more important than the number of posts. Women’s fashion is easily promoted via lifestyle shots of women wearing your products. You can take pictures yourself if you prefer or use any photos downloadable in our business starter kit - completely free!

Business model

Using drop-shipping - you can keep the risk and cost of your business low. You’re only purchasing stock after you’ve made a sale - so profits will always be more than the cost of goods sold. There’s a wide variety of women’s clothing items - so they tend to range a lot in price on AliExpress. Dresses, for example, can range in price anywhere from $10 to $30 - meaning they can be sold for around $20 (for casual items) and up to $100 (for more high-end products). Women’s coats also have a wide price range of $20 - $150 - meaning they can be sold for upwards to $150 if they’re more high-end down winter jackets and at around $30 if they’re more casual spring jackets.

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. You can also use Oberlo to drop-ship products directly from [Oberlo Verfied Suppliers](https://www.oberlo.com/verified-suppliers).
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 women’s fashion brand!

With the variety of products offered by drop-shipping companies and the upward mobility of the market - the time to start your own women’s fashion store is now! Download and use any of the photos featured in our Starter Kit for promotional emails, product photos, blog photos and more - completely free for commercial use!