Too often we are led to believe that China is the ‘be-all and end-all’ when it comes to sourcing clothing for your online fashion boutique. Whilst this may be the case for established fashion brands whose MOQ purchases are between 1000 -10,000 units, this is not necessarily the best approach to take when first starting out.
Just like most businesses the key element is validating your market and understanding product demand. Don’t make the mistake of starting an online boutique and selling items that are readily accessible within mainstream retailers.
If every retailer is buying and sourcing from the same vendors or wholesale fashion distributors, eventually every online boutique starts looking the same. Take a look at these fast fashion retailers, although they remain key players and raking in millions a year, they all have one thing in common…
They pretty much become a carbon copy of each other and end up selling similar, if not the same items. Running an e-commerce fashion retailer requires constantly keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends and styles.
Remember what may be ‘trending’ today may not necessarily be trending next month. We see people making the mistake of entering markets that are highly saturated or competitive. Now we’re not saying you can’t enter these markets and still generate revenue, but in hindsight you may find it difficult to ‘stand-out‘ within a niche market that is overly crowded.
The key to starting a successful online retailer is making sure you find products that are in demand but also not extremely competitive either. Though it seems like a no-brainer, you’ll be surprised the amount of people who make this mistake. Sourcing items from Alibaba and throwing up a 2 – day eCommerce store on Shopify without conducting any prior research is the perfect equation for disaster.
Yes, we’re sure you have watched multiple e-commerce gurus tell you it’s super easy to start selling products online. They probably even listed a ton of items you can source today and start making money from.
But, let’s take a second to do the math. Say you watched an eCommerce guru’s guide on how to start a profitable online business. They have 1.2 million subscribers and 64,000 views on a specific video. At least 1/3 of those viewers have followed the exact same methodology and even went as far as purchasing the exact same items.
Realistically we’re now going to see an influx of people selling ‘the same exact product’ on sites such as Amazon, Ebay or even creating Shopify accounts. Once again creating a saturated market…
We highly recommend anyone starting an online fashion retailer to conduct thorough primary research on the market they are aiming to tap into. A quick 20-minute google search is not the best way to validate your market. Instead start brainstorming your ideas, researching your core customer segment and more importantly, the demand for the products that you want to sell. The secret to a successful online business model is finding untapped markets with a demand for your product.
If you need a team to discuss your niche idea, or come up with a strategy to tap into your market, or even want to join us on our next sourcing trip – sign up for our newsletter!