Clothing can be a great resale item. Everywhere you turn clothing is available for you to buy and resell. You can buy clothing at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, auctions, flea markets, or even off the clearance rack at department stores. Clothing is also a fairly easy, straight forward thing to sell. Once you have a system in place you can easily replicate your listings. Take new pictures, modify the title and description and you have another item ready to sell. Clothing is also easy to ship, not many packaging materials are needed and you certainly don’t have to worry about your item getting damaged in shipping. It is a great item for new sellers or for experienced sellers looking to expand there business. With all that being said here are my top 10 tips for successfully selling clothing online!
1. Brands Are Important
Clothing can be a slow sell. Some items will fly off the shelf and others will sit for months and months. One of the biggest determining factors of your item selling is the brand. If you have a store full of really great clothing brands then you have already won half the battle. A great brand won’t guarantee a profitable sale (if it did this would just be a Top ONE list) but a poor brand, a cheap brand, is almost a guarantee that your item won’t sell and won’t be profitable. When you are out sourcing clothing items be sure to know what brands you are looking for. Its a great idea to check the eBay completed listings and see what brands seem to sell and for how much. And don’t be afraid to make yourself a list of those brands and take it with you when out sourcing product.
2. Weird, Funky and Ugly
Sometimes you can throw tip number 1 right out the window. Have you ever seen a shirt that you just couldn’t believe anyone would want it? Maybe it has some really outrageous design, loud colors or looks like it came straight out of a horrible Christmas special? BUY IT! Sometimes the uglier the item the better. Some of my best clothing sales came from items you couldn’t pay me enough to wear in public. Ugly sweaters are some of the best examples, its trendy to have “Ugly Sweater Parties” and these people are willing to pay up if its ugly enough. So don’t be afraid to take chances on the ugliest shirt in the store, it just might also be the most valuable.
3. Time of Year
When it comes to selling clothing, the time of the year matters. You will get much more for a jacket in November than you will in June. It is common sense, not many people are looking for winter clothing when its 100 degrees outside. Although your item may still sell you are much better off holding back and waiting until the right time of year to list that item. But as a buyer, the summer time is the exact time you want to be buying winter clothing. You will have little competition so some really great scores can be found. But this tip doesn’t just have to do with temperature. If you have an ugly Christmas sweater you are more likely to sell it in December than in May. Also pay attention to what sports are currently active. Did the Chicago Blackhawks just win the Stanley Cup? Thats a great time to sell your hockey sweater! (yes its a sweater in hockey not a jersey… you can also donate it… to me that is) Be sure to be listing all of your items at optimal times to maximize your profits!
4. Pictures Pictures Pictures
The importance of your pictures cannot be overstated. If you can’t take great pictures than everything else is just a waste of your time. You won’t make any money and your inventory will sit until you are old and gray. Here are the pictures you should be taking for EVERY clothing item. Full garment front, full garment back, up close of any decorations (design, buttons, zipper, pockets), up close collar, the tags, pictures of any and all BLEMISHES and any other pictures you can think of. The important thing is to take 12 pictures of every item. Taking 12 pictures will maximize your chances of appearing at the top of the eBay search results. Also, be sure that your first picture is the best picture. This first picture will be what potential buyers see in the list of all the other shirts. You want your to look great, to stand out among the crowd, to get the buyers attention! Great pictures will help drives more sales, horrible pictures will put you out of the clothing resale business.
If you are selling clothing your best online option is eBay. Sure there are other sites but nothing matches the traffic and opportunity you will have when selling your clothing on eBay. When selling clothing on eBay be sure to list your items in the correct category, do your research on completed listings (not just sold listings, completed listings), fill out the item specifics, take 12 pictures, and be sure to have a title that uses great key words. For more information on selling items on eBay check out my Youtube Channel.
6. Be Honest
Being a deceptive, trying to hide flaws from buyers, will cost you money! If the item has a stain and you try to hide it in the pictures or you just don’t mention it then you risk getting a return and negative feedback. Think how much that can cost you. You likely won’t be able to sell the item again, you will have to refund the purchase price and the shipping, you may have to pay for return shipping and the buyer could leave you negative feedback which WILL deter people from buying from you in the future. All because you were afraid you wouldn’t get as much for that vintage Pendleton flannel if it had a small hole at the cuff. The lie is not worth it. Further if you are overly critical of your own items. If you mention the smallest flaw, take close up, clear pictures of any blemishes than you are building trust with potential buyers. They will think “wow I can barely even see that little speck, if they are pointing this out there must not be anything else wrong with the shirt”. I may not always agree with it but we have all heard the saying, “honesty is the best policy”, when it comes to clothing that is dead on.
7. Take Measurements
It is extremely important when selling clothing items to take measurements of every item. Anyone who has ever grabbed an item in “their size” and headed off to the dressing room only to find the item was about 2 sizes to small can tell you that every brand is different. You need to arm your customers with as much information about the item as you possibly can. This makes for happy customers and happy customers don’t return items. So what measurements should you be taking? For shirts, at a minimum, you should be measuring its length, chest / bust and sleeve length. For pants, at a minimum, you should be measuring the waist and the inseam. For pants you may also consider measuring the rise and the leg opening. Take a look at the sold listings on eBay, look at what measurements the sellers that are getting top dollar take and do the same.
8. Learn Shipping
Many new sellers are awful at shipping. They are so worried about the listing and the pictures and the entire process of the sale that they forget about shipping. The sad thing is it costs them money! You pay eBay fees on your shipping so if you can reduce shipping costs you are also reducing your fees. If you offer free shipping than there is an even more direct savings by shipping better! All of your clothing items should be shipped through the United States Post Office and most of them will be shipped via First Class Mail. A few months ago I made a Youtube video, Guide To Shipping Clothing On eBay. Even if you think you are doing everything correctly, do yourself a favor and watch that video.
9. Be Organized
It is very important to be organized when it comes to your clothing inventory. If you are like me than before you know it you will have 300+ clothing items for sale. Time is money and the last thing you want to be doing is spending 20 minutes looking for that Tommy Bahama shirt that sold yesterday. I have heard of people just putting there clothing items in tubs or folding them and putting them on shelves. I do not recommend these methods because they are not efficient. It will not be easy to find sold items and it won’t be easy to add to your existing inventory. What I do recommend is hanging all your items on either a portable clothing rack or a wall mounted clothing rod. As for the order of the items I recommend one of 2 methods. Either alphabetize your clothing items by brand or assign each clothing item a stock number. The great thing about the stock number is that you can also get an idea for how long the item has been sitting. Determine a way to attached your number to the item, or hanger and leave a place in your listings where you list the stock number. Either way will make it much easier and quicker for you to find your items.
10. Start Slow
Here is what you don’t want to do. Decide you want to start selling clothing, go to the thrift store and buy 100 shirts regardless of condition, brand or anything else. I guarantee you will be stuck with clothing that you can’t sell, you will get discouraged, overwhelmed, and you will basically have a dreadful experience. What you should be doing is starting out slow. Buying a few different items, trying a few different styles, a few different brands. PERFECT those few listings. Make them the best you possibly can, make those listings your template for future listings. Learn what works for you. What picture angles work, what you like to say in your description, how you write your titles. I can give you tips on all sorts of things but everyone is different, everyone has their own style. Learn you, your style, what you like to do. Get comfortable with the whole process from buying to leaving feedback after your item sells. Once you feel fully comfortable, feel free to dive on in and start swimming with the sharks.
So there you have it my top 10 tips for successfully selling clothing online. I hope you can take what you have read and apply it to your business. That you have learned something new, something that will help you make more money. If you feel that selling clothing is your thing than I would also encourage you to read my 10 Essentials For Clothing Resellers blog post.