How To Increase Your Apparel Business By Using Dropshipping
Running an apparel brand is a true dream for many out there. And many of you are already doing this successfully. The clothing industry is constantly growing and it is already a 3 trillion dollars industry, and over one trillion garments are sold worldwide every year. The opportunities are enormous. There is always room to grow for all brands, regardless of size.
It doesn’t matter if you run a startup apparel brand or if your brand has been on the market many years. All brands have some things in common; they all want to grow, make a profit, and serve their customers with the best products possible.
Most brands start out with the intention to expand their collections. They tend to start out in one segment and specialize in one field. As the brand gets established and evolves it typically wants to expand the collection, add new styles, new colors, and maybe get into new product segments.
When it comes to growing and expanding the collection, a brand normally encounters a number of obstacles, making it more difficult to develop and create additional styles. Let’s take a look at the limitations.
Long product development cycles
The first issue is that the clothing industry has long product development cycles. It takes quite some time to product develop a clothing collection, to create the collection structure, design it, find the right materials, work through the sampling stage, find a manufacturer, produce the garments, and finally handle the logistics. It is quite common to start the product development 18 months before the actual product reaches the end customers. With so much going on in a clothing brand besides product development, many of you would like it to go a bit faster.
The second issue that a brand encounters when expanding is that developing new styles and paying for bulk production is quite costly. If you only start out with one or a few products, of course, it will be better financially. But that’s maybe not something you want to do. You want to offer your customers a wider selection, and the opportunity to match your different styles into outfits. Developing new styles means you have to spend money on sourcing fabrics and trims, shipping, creating patterns, and making samples. When the entire bulk production is produced, you will have to spend a lot of money before you potentially see any income. The costs will be even higher if you count for the competence, such as design, pattern making, marketing, and sales agents. How much money it will cost in the end, depends on the size of your collection. The more products you want to develop, the more it will cost you. It also depends on the technicality of your products. You don’t want your brand to be stuck because you can’t afford to increase your collection.
Minimum order quantities
One of the biggest challenges for clothing brands, especially new or small ones, are the requirements for minimum order quantities. This means that the material supplier or the manufacturer only will produce your material or garment if you place an order with a high enough order quantity. It can be that your factory won’t make your styles unless you are willing to order for example at least 1000 pieces of that particular style.
Advantages of an existing brand
Ok, now we have mentioned a few challenges that a brand encounters when it’s time to grow the brand and expand the collection. But the good news is that when you have been running your clothing brand for a while, you have a big advantage. You know your customer. You know what they like, what the are buying, and if you ask them you know what they would like to see more of. This means that you can more easily figure out what your customers would like to see from your brand. Draw information from customer feedback as well as sales data, and planning your growth will be so much easier compared to a brand that is just starting out. If you want to expand into more lifestyle product you can easily add, for example, hoodies and t-shirt to your offer. With Printful this can be an easy thing for you to do. More on this later.
Clear brand direction and collection structure
Another advantage that you have when you have been running your brand for a while is that you have put a lot of work and energy to create your brand and nurture brand recognition. Great branding helps improve recognition, it creates trust, it supports advertising, it provides clarity and focus, it states your business philosophy and above all, it sets you apart from your competition. A clear branding creates awareness and loyalty that connects your customers to your label. You have also put a lot of thought and effort into your existing collection. Therefore it is quite an easy step to expand with a few new styles. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, meaning you already know what’s needed from the new styles to fit into your brand and current collection.
Dropshipping and selling on-demand is an excellent option if you want to grow your online sales or if you are selling through Shopify, Etsy, eBay, or Amazon
There is a way where you can use your advantages of being an existing brand and still get around the most common obstacles when expanding the collection. It doesn’t necessarily have to take you 18 months, cost you a fortune, or be difficult because of minimum order quantities. Use your existing customer base, your determined brand guidelines, and the existing collection structure to decide how you want to grow your brand and in what direction. Let’s go over the most common reason why a brand wants to grow and how you can do it easily with a print on demand fulfillment company like Printful.
Reason for growing
The most successful clothing brands of the 2000s have evolved into lifestyle brands. Lifestyle brands go beyond specific apparel product identification to include many areas of living, from sheets and dishes to furniture. Think Polo Ralph Lauren. When a customer loved a brand he/she wants to surround themselves with products from that particular brand in their every day living.
So why limit yourself to clothing? Printful gives you the option to easily expand your brand into a lifestyle brand. You can add products such as cups, towels, bags, hats, and wall art. You don’t have to search for a range of different suppliers in areas where you have no knowledge. You can easily find them all in one place at Printful.
Get into new product segments – women’s, men’s, and/or kids
Are you only doing women’s wear and you get asked if you have men’s wear? Or the other way around? Maybe you want to add kids’ options to your collection? Now, with Printful, you can do exactly that with a minimum risk. By expanding your business into new segments, your brand will appear more complete and your customers can get a wider selection to choose from.
With Printful’s printing options you can easily add new styles where you choose between several prints and colors to add a brand line that is more personalized. When you have set up your account you can easily browse styles and create your personalized garments. Depending on your brand niche, the possibility to add personalization to your collection can be a game-changer.
So if you are an existing clothing brand that wants to expand, whether it is for creating a lifestyle brand, get into new segments, add personalization, or just having more styles to sell and generate more income, you should seriously consider Printful as a viable option to do this. Removing the product development time means you will get quicker to market, and also that you can spend your resources on areas such as marketing and sales. Because in the end, that’s where you need to put most of your energy to succeed with your brand and create a sustainable business. You will see a return on investment sooner, and taking away the larger parts of the product development costs automatically has a positive effect on your cash flow.
Printful is created so that you easily and seamlessly can integrate it with your existing e-commerce solutions such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Squarespace. This means that your customer won’t notice any difference between your already existing styles and the ones you add trough Printful, not diluting your brand.
How does it work?
You can easily create a free account with Printful where you set up the selected products. Then you connect it to your online store, where the products will feel cohesive to the rest of your existing products. When a customer places an order, it is automatically sent to Printful where it gets manufactured, packed, and shipped. You get a notification and tracking number when the order is shipped. Your customer will receive the product in a package covered with your branding, which makes it look like you shipped it out yourself!
Running and growing a successful apparel brand takes time, effort, manpower, and money. All product development can be rather complex and costly. By using Printful you can give your customers additional products, where they can proudly buy and use your brand. See these products as “low-hanging-fruit” products. Most brands have basic t-shirts or bags and hats. Now you can add those products to your assortment hassle-free. No need for product development, sourcing, finding manufacturers, no need for stock. You will quickly see what products take off or not, and you can adjust, add more colors or prints without any inventory investment.
Give it a try, you can’t fail!
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