Reselling clothing online has quickly become one of the easiest ways to make extra cash. Many have even quit their jobs to become full time resellers. So just how much can you make selling clothes online? It all depends on you, but you can earn well into the six figures if you have the drive. In this article we’ll share pro tips on how to make the most and do it fast.
Where to sell your clothes
The decision of which app or website to sell your clothing on is important. You’ll want to choose one (or multiple) that is most in line with the type of items you’re selling. Will you be selling mostly vintage? How about designer? Will you be selling shoes, purses and other items besides apparel? These questions will help you in your search for the best resale apps to run your business.
Sourcing the apparel you’re going to sell
Knowing where to source your secondhand gear is another important early step. You’ll go through your own clothing quickly, thus you’ll need a resource for acquiring fresh gear to sell. The most popular way of doing this is to visit local thrift stores. This could be a Goodwill, Plato’s Closet or any of the 25,000 secondhand clothing stores located throughout the US. Be prepared to spend at least 5 hours per week on this task. Though to truly do a thorough job sourcing, you’ll probably need to spend 10 or 12 hours.
Another place to source used gear is ShopGoodwill.com. This is Goodwill’s own website and many people don’t even know it exists. ShopGoodwill is great because all Goodwill’s in the United States list items for sale here. An industry secret is your local Goodwill will many times keep their best items off the floor and list them for sale online instead. They do this because they know they can fetch a higher selling price online.
A third method for sourcing used apparel is to purchase it by the bushel. That’s right, by the bushel. There is so much used clothing available out there that there are companies that sell it by weight. A portion of our clients use this method because it guarantees them a large amount of stock at one time. It also ensures they have a continuous supply. A quick Google search for buying used clothing in bulk will return a list of resources.
Organizing your inventory
Unless you want your inventory taking over your bedroom, kitchen and living room, you’ll want to organize. This is not only for your own sanity, but for efficiency as well. If you’re selling hundreds of items per week, locating and shipping purchases quickly is key. This also contributes to providing quality customer service, which we get into more below. Here are the two inventory management styles used by the pros:
- Folded – Neatly folding your apparel and storing it on shelves or in boxes is a tried and true method. This style of inventory management is used by people selling at home and companies like The Real Real and Goodwill. Even monthly subscription companies like Fashom and Stitch Fix store their inventory folded.
- Hanging – Using a hanging method will take up less space than folding. It’s also easier to locate items in preparation for shipping. Though you’ll need to setup a system for this. If you’re operating out of a garage or warehouse, setting up a system of hanging rods is an inexpensive option. These rods can be purchased at your local hardware store or Amazon.
Once you get above 1,000 items in your inventory, it can be difficult to quickly locate items to ship. Organizing items by brand and by size has been helpful for many resellers. Additionally, creating a garment labeling system, such as with SKU’s or barcodes is also a great way to organize.
How to make the most off each item
The overall theme use by the pros is a little preparation goes a long way. Preparation will directly impact the question of how much can you make selling clothes online.
Take good photos
There’s no substitute for quality photos. Now days everyone has a smart phone that can spit out DSLR-like image quality. Make sure to iron garments before your photo session. Place them on a solid colored background that is slightly contrasting. Photograph items in natural light when ever you can. You may also want to take photos of garments on hangers or on a mannequin. This can help buyers see how the garment will hang. Also be sure to photograph any defects, unique features, tags, etc. (examples of good and bad)
Find stock images
The more images you can provide, the better. A good practice is to find stock imagery of the garment you’re selling. This is in addition to your own photos. Do a Google search for your item and try to find one of the garment laying flat and/or on body. This will also help your customers get a better idea of how the garment will look.
Write and honest description
This is one of the most important steps in the listing process. This is how people find your listings. You’ve probably heard of SEO (search engine optimization) and using proper keywords. Search engines and apps have bots that crawl product descriptions so when someone types in a search for a specific item, the app can return proper search results. Want to know how much can you make selling clothes online? It’s all about the description.
Is your item from a certain era? Is it stretchy? Do those jeans sit low on the hips? The more descriptive you can be the better, but don’t go writing long paragraphs. People lose interest in reading long descriptions very quickly, so bullet points work best. ReferralCandy article does a great job at outlining the top 8 tips for writing a product description that sells.
Other pro tips for making the most off your items
- Mention where to buy the item new – Let’s say someone searches for Nordstrom, if your item has the word Nordstrom in its description it has a chance of being included in the search results. Which could in turn guide a potential customer to your store.
- Research pricing – Supply and demand will dictate what an item will eventually sell for. So you’ll want to do competitive research to determine what similar items are listing for. Pricing items to sell will increase your chances of unloading items quickly.
Even though you’re not a global retailer with billions in revenue, providing quality customer service is a must. Many of the online resale platforms, such as Poshmark, allow customers to follow your store. This will alert them when you add new items or if you’re running a sale. People will be more inclined to follow you and repeat-buy if they have a memorable experience.
Ship items quickly
The old saying don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today is especially true here. Try to ship items same day and include a short thank you note with each purchase. Some say it’s a good practice to also include a coupon code for their next purchase.
Add an additional layer of customer satisfaction by reaching out to customers after they’ve received their package. This will help you address any issues early and rectify them if need be. Set reminders for yourself to check shipping and deliver times through which ever service you use to ship.
Include free shipping
People are more happy with a purchase if they feel they’ve gotten a good deal. Instead of charging for shipping, offer free shipping. Though the reality is you’re not really offering it for free, you’ll just include it in the purchase price. So be sure to include the shipping in your items price. Be conscious when you’re including free shipping, if you have international buyers, shipping gets costly.
Poshmark is one of the best apps for making it feel like each seller has their own store. They also have one of the best communities for resale. Every day, thousands of sellers engage customers and other resellers through sell parties. This is a great way to bring attention to your store.
Often overlooked is the packaging items are shipped in and the presentation of the item itself. Make sure to fold items nicely and use proper sized shipping containers. Nothing is worse than receiving a tiny item in a huge box or vice versa. Additionally, as more people are becoming aware of the trash caused by shipping, consider biodegradable shipping bags.
Really want to make your customers smile? Add a personalized thank you note in the package. It’s a short and simple way to tell customers you care. Provide your business contact information on the note. Follow up once they’ve received their items and send a link to a rating system if the site/app you’re using allows this.
Tools to make your resale life easier
We hope the pro tips listed above will give you better insight into how much can you make selling clothes online. Reselling clothing takes effort, so how about some tools to make your life easier? Your job as a reseller is to provide relevant information about the items you sell. There’s one task involved in reselling clothes that you hear people complain about the most. Measuring each item and inputting the measurements into the listing. Measuring clothing by hand is time consuming and tedious. Tailored has created a solution.
Handsfree clothes measuring
It’s a tech called Capture and it will measure your clothes for you. When you’re taking your lifestyle photos for your listing, use Capture to take a final photo of your garment. Though this photo will actually measure each garment and provide you with a complete list of its measurements. It only takes a few seconds, and the information is easily downloadable for adding to your listing.
Listing to multiple platforms, or cross listing, is a great way to maximize your earnings and exposure. Apps like Resellkit allow you to list on your favorite platform, then will cross list to two other platforms of your choosing. Do your homework on this one, there are plenty of others out there.
Other Pro Tips
Tailored has met with numerous large resale brands. Sorting through items that aren’t selling is a common issue. No business wants items sitting on their site for 30, 60, or 90 days. Thus inventory management is something you’ll want to be mindful of as you grow. Inventory rotation will have an impact on how much can you make selling clothes online.
When reviewing your inventory, check the items that have been on the longest. If they’re not selling try crafting a different product description or taking different photos. If this still doesn’t help an item sell, try adjusting the price down each week by a certain percentage or dollar amount.