Start Up
    How To Setup An Online Clothing Store For Free by Alara Charis
    April 12, 2021
    0As an SME in Africa, venturing into the fashion business is only one piece of the puzzle. Another piece you should also figure out is how to take advantage of the online space to sell your clothes. Having an online clothing store comes with a lot of advantages ranging from massive visibility to capital reduction.
    However, before setting up an online clothing store, some basic things should have been put in place.Things To Note Before Setting Up Your Online Clothing Store
    A lot of people have plans of setting up an online clothing store. However, one major challenge is where to begin.
    Venturing into the clothing business as an SME in Africa requires putting quite a several things into consideration. Some of the factors to consider include:
    What type of pieces are you focusing on?
    Clothing pieces come in varieties out there. They range from female to male wears, casual to corporate wears, unisex wears, e.t.c. Except your plan is to sell pieces cutting across all of these categories, you need to decide which to go for. As much as possible, try to specialize in a clothing category you’re most comfortable with.
    Consider the kind of pieces you will sell before setting up an online clothing store
    What’s the market saying?
    Virtually all business sectors are currently being explored by more than one business owner. What this means is that already, there are established markets for that particular business you’re considering – in this case, clothing.
    Study your intending business environment. Also, ensure you carry out in-depth research to figure out the best type of audience you want to serve. Proper research will save you from investing your money in a clothing category that won’t yield sales and profit.
    How much capital is required?
    Running any business whether online or offline requires adequate capital. You want to find out how much capital is needed to start up your online clothing store. The capital will vary based on the clothing category you’re specializing in. Getting the right amount of capital will go a long way in getting things started.
    Free Online Marketplaces To Set Up Your Clothing Store
    Jumia is one online platform that allows small businesses to put out their products for free. With Jumia, you can always open your clothing store, list out your products and start making sales. Jumia showcases your clothing pieces to thousands of buyers out there, hence, increasing visibility for your products.
    Just like Jumia, Konga is another online marketplace built to help small businesses showcase their products. Setting up your store is quite easy also. All you have to do is signup, create your store and begin listing your products. With Konga, you get to choose what payment method suits you best. Also, you can decide whether you want buyers to make payment before or after delivery.
    Pros Of Setting Up An Online Store On Jumia/Konga
    Your products will be displayed to numerous users who search for that particular clothing item.You get unrestricted access to your online clothing store.You do not have to pay for a domain or site hosting.These platforms handle your payment options with ease.
    Cons Of Setting Up An Online Store On Jumia/Konga
    Lack of brand recognition: While selling on these platforms might be free and make your clothing items visible to buyers, it takes over the place of brand visibility. For instance, when a buyer purchases your clothing piece and gets asked where he/she got it from, the usual response would be ‘I got it on Jumia ‘ or ‘I got it on Konga.’ If brand visibility is your major priority, then this might not be the best option for you. 
    High competition: Jumia and Konga have several other sellers with the same product you’re putting up. What’s more? Most times, the same clothing pieces from different sellers get displayed to buyers at the same time. With this happening, it’s quite tough getting buyers to purchase your product.
    Loss of business: The moment any of these platforms crashes, so does your business. When there is a shutdown, it not only affects the platforms but also the businesses listed on them,
    Online Clothing Stores For Businesses With Websites
    Some SMEs in Africa with websites opt for eCommerce website builders. This provides you with the luxury of purchasing eCommerce auto-installers that will get installed on your existing website. Installing this can easily be done without hassle. Some free eCommerce platforms to set up a clothing store for website owners include:
    Free WebStore
    Free WebStore allows you to list as many as 30 products for free. In addition to preceding fees for payment, WebStore charges a transaction fee of 2% per sale. The free plan works perfectly for you if you don’t have to list over 30 products. However, if this number is too small for you, then you have to upgrade to the paid plan.
    The free plan also comes with some restrictions such as no integration of social share buttons and no blog page feature.
    WooCommerce is a familiar store for SMEs in Africa who use WordPress. The plugin has been made for small, medium, and large online business owners who make use of WordPress.
    How does it work?
    First, you integrate the WooCommerce plugin for your desired shopping experience. While setting up your store, you can also customize and include specific extensions that best suit your store needs. With WooCommerce, you can select a preferred domain name and hosting for your clothing business.
    WooCommerce does not place restrictions on your store’s uptime or bandwidth. Rather, you have complete control over your online store.Conclusion
    A lot of SMEs in Africa in the fashion space understand the importance of moving their businesses online. Setting up your online clothing store might seem like quite the task but with the right action steps in place, the journey is made as seamless as possible. While sales might not boom almost immediately, the key is to stay consistent and give it time. Soon enough, your online clothing store will be booming with orders.

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