Selling clothes online

Selling clothes online

Wondering how to sell clothes online? Here’s a detailed guide on everything from how to get started, to figuring out how to deliver clothes to your customers and grow your business.
£25 (excl. VAT) per month + selling fees
Selling clothes online

Selling clothes online: An overview

The ease and convenience of online shopping have resulted in a steady rise of eCommerce websites offering a wide variety of merchandise, attracting customers from all over the world. One of the most widely searched and popular categories in online shopping is clothes.

Having an online clothing store can be potentially more advantageous compared to setting up a physical store for a variety of reasons. Primary among them could be factors like reduced paperwork, lower overheads and comparatively smaller initial investments, as well as factors like not requiring on-ground staff to manage a physical store on a day-to-day basis.

Another advantage of an online store is that it allows you to reach a much wider market, whether locally, nationally or internationally, compared to a physical store or chain of stores that only exist in one or more specific locations.

The potential drawback of not being able to touch and feel the clothes you’re buying is offset by the enormous variety easily available online, as well as the easy returns and replacement options offered by many stores.

So, if you are looking to sell clothes online, this is probably a good time to set up your ecommerce shop specialising in apparel. Whether you are a fashion designer who wants to promote your products or someone interested in setting up a store that sells clothes from different brands all in one place, eCommerce could be a lucrative business model, if done right.

What are the different types of online clothing stores?

Customers today have nearly endless options when it comes to buying clothes over the internet. Whether it’s a specific kind of clothing or items from a preferred brand, online clothing stores cater to a wide variety of niches. Here, as a seller, it is important for you to identify your niche and figure out how you will distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Broadly speaking, online clothing stores can be of many different varieties, including but not limited to:
  • Single brand stores: These are stores that sell items produced by one single brand. They range all the way from well-known luxury brands to small businesses that have their own labels.
  • Multi-brand stores: As the name suggests, these sell clothes by many different brands in one place.
  • Used clothes stores: These stores specialise only in selling used clothes – second-hand apparel, in other words. However, it must be noted that some websites, like Amazon, do not allow the sales of used clothes. You can do so on your own website, of course.
  • Speciality clothing stores: These are stores that sell clothing that only applies to one specific category. These include sportswear, womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, babycare clothes, clothes targeted only at pregnant women, etc.
So, as a seller, you have a wide variety of ideas to choose from. What is crucial is that you choose something that you are personally aligned with but which also has a demand in the market, so that you can run a business that satisfies your preferences and also has a chance to become profitable.

Why sell clothes online in the UK?

The online sale of different clothing items has been growing steadily over the past three years. This number is projected to grow progressively over the next few years in the UK, particularly spurred by the ecommerce boost witnessed after the pandemic in 2020.

The UK in particular is considered a booming market. As per a recent survey, 62% of women and 49% of men in the UK purchased at least one clothing product online during 2020. The same survey also shows UK consumers rank second in the world when it comes to shopping online, with an average spend of £2,419 in 2022.

So, if you want to start your own ecommerce business or are looking to have another potential source of income, then selling clothes online can be a good option to consider.

How do online clothes stores work?

Online clothes stores operate just like any other ecommerce stores. The customer chooses the clothes they want, selects the colour or size (depending on the options available) and places the order. Payments can be made with one click using a credit or debit card, and many brands even offer a cash-on-delivery option.

The purchased products are then shipped to the indicated address, and, if the received item does not fit properly, or does not meet expectations, most stores allow the customer to simply return the item and buy another one instead, with the paid amount either being given back as a credit at the same store or refunded to the card used to make the payment.

Should you start your own clothes website or use an existing one?

What is the best way to sell clothes online? If you decide to become an online clothes seller, the first step is to decide whether you want to have your own website/online store or use an existing one. What you choose depends on your preferences and your specific situation and requirements.

The potential advantage of having your site is ownership. You decide everything that goes up on your online store – from the type of clothes you want to sell to the pricing of each item and updating the store as you see fit. One possible challenge of having your store is reaching the right customer base and drawing them to buy from you rather than from competitors. Standing out from the crowd will mean investing in advertising and marketing solutions, as well as developing a strong social media presence.

If you want to go this route, you can hire a team of professionals to develop the website for you or build it yourself. You can also buy any of the many ready-made website templates that suit your taste and start the store, without needing much web development knowledge. Whatever you choose, you need to ensure the website is trendy and appeals to the targeted customer base.

If this seems daunting, selling your clothes on an existing online retail website – Amazon, for example – can be a helpful option for you. The key difference here is that the website is already set up and is fully functional in all aspects: from listing different kinds of clothes, to payment options, in-built mechanisms to showcase images, etc., everything is already in place and you just need to follow certain steps to list your items.

Another advantage is the comparative ease of building your store, as well as the range of support functions available to you, from easy delivery to customer support and advertising tools. You also don’t have to worry about maintaining the website or getting professional help in case something goes wrong – the existing website will have its own troubleshooting and customer support teams for this.

Another undeniable potential benefit here is the access you get to a huge customer base that is already looking at clothes listed by other sellers on the site. This makes it easier for them to find your products, instead of them having to navigate to a separate website – yours – to find you.

Essential features of an online clothes store

Every clothing store needs to have certain features to be able to attract customers and gain business traction by meeting customer expectations. Here are the basics:
  • High-quality images: Online clothing stores need to have high-resolution, professionally shot images (photographs) of the actual clothes being sold, including multiple angles of the same product. Always ensure you take photos with the full garment completely displayed either on an actual model or a mannequin – never just on hangers. Take close-ups of any details you want the customers to notice, such as buttons, cuffs, collars etc., and upload images against each item. You do this yourself with a good digital camera, even an entry-level DSLR (not mobile phone cameras), along with the proper use of lighting. If you are unable to, consider using a professional photographer. Upload photos of the same garment in different colours and different sizes with different models if your store offers such options for each item.
  • An accurate size chart: To avoid rejection of your items and to minimise returns from customers, ensure that you have a size chart that explains the dimensions of each clothing item in various international standards (because a size 7 in one clothing line may be different from a size 7 in another). Use a live model or a mannequin to develop a standard size chart for your items in different sizes such as small, medium, large or extra-large. This will help you reduce unnecessary overheads because wrong sizes are a primary reason for clothes bought online to be rejected or returned in large numbers, increasing the cost for the seller.
  • Care instructions: Provide detailed care instructions for the type of fabric/material used in the item of clothing, the condition of the clothing etc. Wrong instructions could result in permanent damage to the clothes, prompting negative reviews for you and potentially damaging your store’s reputation.
  • Correct clothing names: Each item of apparel needs to be correctly and accurately named. This is important because people search for a particular garment type by using specific terms. If these are not used or are wrong for some items, customers will either not find the item or make a complaint that their time was wasted as the item was in the wrong section.

Understanding seasonal sales for clothes

fashion trends in line with the changing seasons in the clothing industry. ‘Spring/Summer’ (Jan-June) and ‘Fall/Winter’ (July-Dec) are the two primary seasons in the fashion world for introducing new clothing collections into the market. Customers are also very aware of this and use it to tailor their shopping habits.

For a smooth transition between different sales seasons, you have to make sure you order or keep ready items that consumers will look for well ahead of time, plan your purchase or production accordingly and clear out the excess inventory of a particular season before the next begins. To excite customers into buying items from the previous season, you can introduce different kinds of discounts and promotional deals just when one season ends and the other begins (that’s why these campaigns are popularly known as ‘End of Season’ sales). These will help you reduce wastage or spoilage of your inventory along with its associated costs. It is important to stay competitive in pricing your items even during these end-of-seasons sales periods.

How to sell clothes on Amazon in the UK?

Amazon is already the most popular online-only fashion clothes retailer in the UK. So, if you are looking for a popular website to host your clothing store, Amazon could be a good choice. To set up an online clothing store on Amazon UK, start by creating your Amazon seller account and entering your business details. Remember to select the clothing and accessories category.

Then, choose a business plan that suits you: As an ‘individual’ seller you only pay a fee if you have sold an item, whereas as a ‘professional’ seller you pay a monthly fee regardless of whether you list or sell products (although both plans pay a referral fee for items sold). The Professional plan also gives you access to advanced sales tools which help you advertise your products, and inventory tools which allow you to upload multiple files and manage your orders via feeds and reports.

As a seller of apparel on Amazon, you need to understand all the rules, restrictions and prohibitions for clothes on the website. Also, ensure you follow Amazon’s selling policies to avoid being banned as a seller on the site.

For example, you cannot sell clothes by certain popular brands and you can only sell new clothes on Amazon; used or refurbished clothes cannot be sold. Also, Amazon only allows the sale of authentic apparel: so, ensure you take the required permission from the retailers, wholesalers, original manufacturers or designers you’re buying from before you list clothing on Amazon. One easy way to find out whether an item is restricted for sale is by using the Amazon Seller App’s barcode-scanning feature. As soon as you scan an item, you will be informed whether it is restricted or not.

Amazon Handmade for artisanal apparel

If you want to sell clothes made by a local artisan community, then Amazon can help you become one of the many online stores which sell handmade apparel and accessories through Amazon Handmade. This is a community on Amazon where you can sell unique products to shoppers around the world. You will need to go through the business model and the detailed guidelines for Amazon Handmade and understand the ways to sell your items there, for this is very different from the regular Amazon seller accounts.

Everything sold on Handmade has to be strictly handmade or hand-assembled and no mass-produced products are permitted to be sold here. Examples of products that can be sold on Amazon Handmade are artistic apparel, crochet handbags, bead bracelets and pillow cover among others. All these products need to be exclusive, and no manufacturer should be involved at any stage.

The products you choose to sell can be made by a team of a maximum of 20 members and not more. You will first need to qualify to be able to sell on Handmade. You will also need to provide proof of quality that you make the goods yourself. This includes uploading images of your goods and the production process of the item. Once you meet the requirements, you can start selling your artistic handmade products on Amazon.

Listing clothes, the right way

Now that you know what to sell, the next, crucial step is listing the clothing items and accessories you want to sell in as much detail as possible. For each garment, you need to first create a product listing on Amazon for it. If someone else is already selling the same item – for example, a particular designer dress or a certain handbag – you can copy the same listing and add more details specific to the item in your store. If you’re the first person to sell that item, however, you have to create your listing. How many products you can list at a time is dependent on the plan you choose: Professional sellers can list items in bulk, whereas Individual Plans allow you to only list one product at a time.

Ensure to provide all the correct details including sizes, describe the category or segment of the clothes and indicate whether they are new, used or like-new clothes (note that you cannot sell used clothes on Amazon). You also need to give proper care instructions along with high-quality images of the actual item from multiple angles and in whatever colours you are offering. List the original manufacturer’s product code in case you are selling branded items (if you want your brand to be recognized, Amazon gives you the provision to register your brand before you start selling).

Once you have finished listing your products, you need to set the price for each. You can set prices for either single or multiple listings of your products based on the chosen selling plan. Amazon also gives you an option to find out the current lowest prices for certain products using the ‘Match Low Price’ tool, which allows you to compare the current sales prices in the market and helps you match that price to stay a competitive seller.

Storage and inventory for clothes

For an online clothes business to sustain itself, a proper storage facility is important where you, as the seller, can store the clothes you plan to sell properly to ensure there is no damage to the items. Depending on your business model, the volume of stock you intend to store and the types of clothes you sell, choose a storage facility with conditions that work best for your needs. Different materials require different storage conditions, so try to ensure that you have a process in place for each. Otherwise, you risk your clothing items getting damaged due to weather, humidity, or improper storage, which could end up being disastrously expensive for you.

In addition, a good inventory management system is essential to help you manage your stock of clothes – to know how many items you have in a storage facility, which ones are sold out, which ones need to be ordered afresh, etc. Inventory management can help you keep up with the numbers, status, and location of products available for a business to sell at all times. When popular items drop below a certain number, you will know it is time to order more. On the opposite end, if a particular item is not selling as fast as expected, then you can speed up its sales by creating more offers, discounts, etc.

Overall, when inventory management is done right it can help you in better management and faster delivery of your clothing products. This in turn can positively affect your business by boosting sales, keeping clients satisfied and aiding in the success of the business.

Order fulfilment for clothes

For any online clothes store, it is important to have an efficient process in place for storing, packaging, shipping, and delivering your items to the end customers – this process is called fulfilment. As an Amazon seller, you can choose from one of two methods: Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfilment by Seller (FBS) to deliver clothes to customers.

You need to pick one or the other based on your specific situation. If you already have a system in place, or are dealing with small quantities and have your storage sorted, then FBS may perhaps be a better option for you. Also, some items are not allowed to be delivered using FBA, in which case you have no option but to handle the process yourself.

Handling your own fulfilment also allows you to use your packaging and attach your labels to the delivered items. In certain cases, it may also allow you to have tighter control over your profit margins, thus being more beneficial for you. You can also use Seller Fulfilled Prime, which allows you to deliver products that fall under Amazon Prime directly from your warehouse or storage location, making your store more attractive to customers.

However, this being apparel, you need to ensure you also have an efficient ‘reverse logistics’ plan – how to get clothes back from your customers to you in case they want to return or exchange an item. For many sellers, this can be problematic, especially if your customers are located far away or in another country.

The advantage of using FBA for clothes

Under Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), the entire process of storing, packaging, shipping and delivering your clothes to your end customers is handled by Amazon for you. FBA is available for anyone who is registered as a Seller on the site. Another advantage of FBA is that the Amazon team will also be handling customer service, complaints, and returns for your online clothing store. All you need to do is ship your garments to the closest Amazon fulfilment centre to where you are, and sit back and focus on running your store.

Promoting your online clothes store on Amazon

If you choose to be an online seller on Amazon, one of the potential advantages is being able to use the site’s proprietary tools to help promote your online clothes store and its products. Thus, you can create more visibility for your online store and reach a wider set of buyers.

You can go through the Amazon Seller University carefully for free training videos to help you learn the basics of sales, sales tools, advertising and sales promotion. Amazon advertising can also help you measure the effectiveness of your ads which can assist you in creating branding solutions for your store. Check out the Amazon Ads website to learn more about marketing your business.

Promoting your online clothes store on social media platforms is another essential way to increase your business presence in the current era. Social media marketing campaigns can also help you find out where your target audience is, based on their interactions and the analytics that social platforms give you. This can help you increase your promotional activities such as sponsored advertisements, targeted campaigns, etc.

You can also look into using online fashion influencers if you have the budget. Having social media influencers to engage your target buyers in interesting activities/contests to announce flash sales or give away gift coupons can help boost your business.


Selling clothes online can be an opportunity to serve a wide range of customers across the globe. With many types of clothes and business models to choose from, finding the one that allows you to keep your online business flexible and affordable can be a good idea. The combination of a good online presence and strong customer service can lead to the success of your online store. It can even be an alternate source of additional income for people with a steady job.

Be thorough in understanding the different aspects involved in setting up and running an online clothing store though. Whether you want to sell just clothes or clothes along with specific accessories, consider Amazon. The site can help build your business as millions of people visit it every day and the various resources and tools on offer can help get you to a position where you start selling within a few hours of registering yourself. Amazon’s beginner's guide can help you bring your online business dreams into existence.


What is the investment needed to become a clothes seller with Amazon?
Amazon's sales plan offers two possible variants for your business - billing per sale (individual sales plan) or monthly flat-fee billing (professional sales plan). You can decide which option is best for you based on your business model.

Amazon also charges a referral fee on each sale, which is a percentage of the total transaction and varies depending on the product category.

Shipping costs depend on whether you pack and ship items yourself (FBM) or outsource the shipping to Amazon (FBA). If you choose to carry out orders yourself, it is possible to use the shipping labels of Amazon (check here) to be able to offer the parcel tracking service to your customers.
Can I sell my clothing brand on Amazon?
Yes, you can sell your clothing brand. Use the tools provided by Amazon that can help you reach more customers for your unique clothing brand. All you need to do is start by registering your trademark with Amazon.
How is the process of product returns handled on Amazon?
The FBA returns processing fee applies to only customer-returned products sold on Amazon and in certain fashion categories for which Amazon offers free return shipping, including Clothing, Shoes and Handbags.
The returns processing fee will not apply for other fashion categories such as jewellery, watches and luggage for which Amazon offers free return shipping.
Should I only sell my clothes on Amazon exclusively?
No, you are not limited to selling your clothes only on Amazon. However, if you choose to sell your clothes through multiple sales channels, then you should be careful in keeping track of your inventory and organize sales processing accordingly. With this variant of selling, Amazon’s multi-channel fulfilment can certainly help you manage your inventory and sales process.
What are the potential benefits and potential challenges of selling clothes on Amazon?
Being able to access Amazon's large database of online shoppers can be a good advantage when you are selling clothes on Amazon. Amazon's tools and business resources can help you optimize sales and grow your business while growing your customer base alongside. Fulfilment by Amazon can help you with managing warehousing, sales, shipping orders, and returns management, and this will in turn help you free up your resources and focus solely on your business. However, with many sellers present on Amazon who are already catering to a large diverse customer base, the competition is high. You need to be smart with your pricing and strong in your customer service skills to be able to create your mark and overcome challenges.

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