With hundreds of online clothing shops, you might be wondering how in the world you’d compete. Every now and then, you hear of a new one succeeding, indicating there’s still room for more at the top. Even when you’ve got a solid unique selling point, it wouldn’t hurt to learn from the big names before you start an online clothing shop. We’ve selected the top stores you can draw inspiration from and why consumers love them.
- Net-A-PorterA pioneer of online retail, Net-a-Porter launched at the time the dot-com bubble burst and people were highly skeptical about purchasing anything online, especially fashion. Good thing for founder and owner, Natalie Massenet, she had good instincts. The brand is now considered the Vogue of ecommerce clothing – they even have their own magazine – and being sold on their site is now a coveted spot. Owe it to the company’s discriminating taste in design and labels, latest fashion trends and the high-quality black box purchases are delivered in. It was with this brand that the world discovered the almost-guiltless click of a mouse and the thrill of anticipation in online shopping.
- Nasty Gal
We can’t talk about top online stores without discussing the wildly successful product of the #GirlBoss, Nasty Gal. The shop may have hit rock bottom just last year but it’s interesting to take note of what sent it skyrocketing from a humble eBay account in 2006 to $100 million in 2012. In an article published by the Business Insider, Sophia Amoruso stated listening to her customers that ultimately brought her success. She made sure she bought pieces her customers would love, styled them right and let her products take over social media mostly posted by satisfied buyers. However, what caught shoppers wasn’t just the items but the brand’s personality which reflected her own and began when she named the store but didn’t realize it at the time.
- Bona Drag
This e-store sits on its own nice little niche. While everyone else is competing in the market with the same brand names, Bona Drag focuses on indie brands. From clothing, to shoes, to jewelry, to accessories, customers are more likely to see unique finds their friends won’t most likely have. It’s like a well-hidden treasure trove, especially since the designs are very unique and eye-catching. Offering a selection of eclectic pieces, it’s hard to get bored shopping on the site.
As huge e-tailers increased in popularity, the threat of a cut in revenue streams for boutique shops was growing as well. These stores did not have the technology and the money to compete with these well-known companies. That’s where Farfetch came in, offering a virtual store for these boutiques. But how does the online firm appeal to consumers? These small retailers weren’t ordinary shops but luxury brands where you can find rare designs by respected names such as Alexander McQueen and Alexander Wang. They don’t just sell timeless items but fresh off-the-runway merchandise.
- The Chapar
It’s a store that understands the busy, modern man and the fashion-illiterate’s go-to-guru. They’ve made shopping for men easier, less time-consuming and clearer. The Chapar offers styling services with their own team, partnering with highly esteemed brands such as Dockers, Ralph Lauren, and Hugo Boss to name a few. Customers fill out a form online, after which a stylist calls to discuss his needs and preferences. A package with the suggested outfit, complete with accessories and shoes, is mailed to the buyer. He’s obligated to pay only for the items he decides to keep.
- Opening Ceremony
Founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim wanted to do more than sell products but bring the experience of fun, excitement and adventure they love about shopping. Equipped with an eye for great pieces, a mix of well-known brands and independent designers, and a fun approach to fashion and business, Opening Ceremony was born. It’s founded on the principles of the lack of biases that come with little-known labels and a bet to see if their shop’s merchandise would do better than those of their New York designer friends. Some of today’s internationally acclaimed names were first introduced to the shores of the US through Opening Ceremony like Havaianas and Alexander Wang.
One of the key elements to looking fashionable, especially with men’s wear, is the fit. Stantt understands this more than any other brand. Taking the issue of the perfect fit seriously after founder Matt Hornbuckle’s shirt was the butt of a joke on a first date, he and Kirk Keel started a business that offered clothes in 75 sizes. For the perfect dress shirt, all they need are your chest, waist and sleeve measurements, and they’ll tailor and deliver it to your doorstep. With returns only at a rate of 5% compared to the industry average of 30%, their business model has proven to be a success. They even ship free measuring kits.
- Moda Operandi
Moda Operandi is to fashion-forward as burgers is to fast-food. The company prides itself on the exclusivity it offers its buyers while successfully creating a combined experience of the virtual store and the brick-and-mortar. The brand is anything but the usual. Via their website, customers get to pre-order items right off the runway which can only be viewed through private truck shows—only during a specific window of time, of course. Their store isn’t even a store but a showroom, with only invited guests allowed to buy merchandise during a booked appointment.