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How To Start a Fabric Store Online: 8 Simple Steps

by | May 28, 2024

Selling fabric online? 

This might seem like a daunting task for fabric retail business owners — but it doesn’t need to be that way.

Maybe you already have a successful physical store and want to expand your business with online sales — or maybe you’re starting your fabric store from scratch. Either way, we’ve got you covered.  

In this blog, you’ll learn how to start a fabric store online in eight simple steps. Let’s dive in.

 

Step #1: Choose the Right E-Commerce Platform

First things first: You need to decide on the right platform to run your online fabric store effectively. You want to choose a platform that’s easy to use and meets the specific customization needs of your business.

Simplicity within the right online platform is essential to make the setup of your online business easy. Remember: It’s important to make sure that your in-store system and online platform work well together. Look for an inventory management that synchronizes both your in-store and online efforts to make this transition seamless.

The fabric store industry is unique when it comes to the specific needs that each fabric retailer is looking for in their online store. When selling fabric, customers typically need a specific measurement of each fabric, like fractional yards — ¼ or ¾ of a yard of fabric. 

It’s not as simple as selling a specific quantity of an item in other online retail stores. Fabric retailers like you are looking for specific fabric store features tailored to your business’ unique needs.

Look for an industry-specific point of sale (POS) solution that allows you to seamlessly set up your in-store and online platforms. A fabric POS has specific fabric features and integrations that help retailers like you address and run your business the way you need it to function. 

Related Read: From a Hobby Into A Business: How To Know If It’s the Right Move

schedule a Like Sew point of sale demo

Step #2: Set Up Your Online Store

When you set up your online store, the most important thing to remember is the importance of a user-friendly design. You want to make sure that your website and online fabric store is organized and easy to navigate. Customers should be able to easily search for products, add items to their cart, and check out without confusion.

Make sure your online presence assists customers throughout the entire buyer's journey. Your website should attract users, encourage them to stay on your site, and ultimately help them find what they need in order to make a purchase.

Remember to include the following information when setting up your online fabric store:

  • Product listings: Include detailed product listings, and provide clear and concise descriptions. The price of each product should be visible. Make sure you list all relevant details such as fabric type, dimensions, and care instructions for each product.
  • High-quality images: Include high-quality product images for all product listings. Customers should be able to see the fabric texture, pattern, and true colors of each fabric piece. If possible, offer multiple images from different angles, so customers can see exactly what they’re getting.
  • Store policies: Make sure store policies such as shipping and return policies are easy to find and understood by customers. If there are any other relevant guarantees or warranties that you offer, those should also be included on the site.
  • Contact information: Make sure to have your contact information accessible in a clear and easy way. Your customers should be able to reach out to you for any questions or support they may need. 

 

Related Read: 6 Reasons Customers Still Want Online and Offline

 

Step #3: Implement a Secure Payment Gateway

Once you’ve created your online fabric store, you need to make sure your customers are comfortable making purchases. Security is the most important part in building trust with customers and maintaining a great reputation.

Make sure you set up a secure way to handle online transactions. It’s important to ensure that your customers are confident that their payment information is handled securely on your website.

To securely handle payments, your payment gateway must comply with legal and industry standards — namely, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). When you comply with this, you protect sensitive data through encryption.

In addition to security, there are some other important aspects to consider during this step, including:

  • Variety of payment options: Offer a variety of payment options for your customer preferences. This could include credit/debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.
  • Fees and charges: The fees and charges associated with each payment gateway may vary. Some may charge per transaction, while others may have a monthly fee. Make sure you consider the fees that are associated with each payment method.
  • User experience: The process in which your customers take to make a purchase should be easy and seamless. Make sure to keep the checkout process easy so that you don’t run into cart abandonment.
  • Integration: The payment gateway that you chose should integrate with your e-commerce platform. This allows for a seamless checkout process and easier management for you as a store owner.

Many POS systems have integrated payment processing systems that help you manage payments. Industry-specific point of sale systems know which payment options are best for your industry, and they also ensure security.

 

Step #4: Manage Online Fabric Inventory

When you start an online fabric store, it’s important to manage your online inventory properly. Whether you’re starting out only selling online or you already have a physical store, managing your stock and inventory is essential. You need to make sure you know your inventory stock, so you can reorder a specific product and fulfill online orders.

It can be tricky to manage your inventory for both online and in-store sales, so it's best to connect both purchase avenues together. This way, when a product is sold from one channel, it’s reflected in the other channel.

There are many inventory management systems available for retailers. Having a cloud-based management software for both in-store or online sales allows you to manage your inventory from any place, at any time.

 

Step #5: Understand Shipping and Logistics

Once a customer makes a purchase online, it’s time to figure out shipping. It’s important to understand shipping logistics as you start a fabric store online. Some things to consider include:

  • Shipping options: Include standard shipping, express shipping, and international shipping.
  • Shipping costs: Base this on weight, order value, or offer a flat rate.
  • Shipping providers: Consider their rates, delivery times, and reputations for handling packages.
  • Packaging: Make sure to use durable packaging to ensure that fabric is well secured through the shipping process.
  • Returns and exchanges: Make sure these policies are clear and understood by customers.

Shipping costs are something you should consider closely. Free shipping has become a popular option, so consider the pros and cons of free shipping to see if it makes sense for you. Free shipping has its benefits and limitations.

Pros of free shipping include:

  • Increased sales
  • Competitive advantage
  • Reduction in cart abandonment

Cons of free shipping include:

  • Reduced profit margins
  • Increased prices
  • Geographical limitations

As a brick-and-mortar fabric store owner, there’s a lot to consider with shipping and logistics for your online store. Decide what’s best for you and your customer needs. 

 

Related Read: How To Set Up a Barcode Inventory System for Your Business

 

Step #6: Master Online Marketing

Now that your online fabric store is up and running, you need to get the word out. 

Marketing efforts are important for any online business. It allows you to get customers' eyes on your products, so you can build a unique customer base. You may not have a lot of experience with marketing, but it is manageable for someone who’s new to it.

Types of Online Marketing

There are a different types of online marketing that will benefit your online fabric store, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): This type of marketing helps your store show up for keywords in the search engine results. There are keywords that your customers are searching for, so you want your website to appear when they are searching for these terms.
  • Social media marketing: Social media platforms allow you to reach potential customers. It’s important to regularly post and engage with your followers and to use the platforms that your target customer is most active on.
  • Email marketing: Build out an email list and send regular newsletters. Make sure you’re providing valuable content in these emails, and that you’re not just sending sales pitches.
  • Content marketing: Provide valuable content to your customers by creating and posting blog posts or how-to guides on your site.
  • Paid advertising: With this avenue, you can spend money to reach a larger audience. There are many options to promote your paid ads to this audience.

Remember: You don’t need to do all of these online marketing strategies at once. Start with one and see how it goes — then slowly build from there.

 

Step #7: Provide Excellent Online Customer Service

Customer service is an essential part of online businesses. Customers want to be able to easily contact you with questions and concerns. As you make a plan to start your online fabric store, create a plan for how you’ll service your customers.

Make sure your contact information is easily accessible on your website, and that you have the bandwidth to respond in a timely manner. As a small business, this could seem like a big task — but it’s well worth your time and effort to ensure that your customers are able to build trust and have a good experience with your business.

 

Related Read: Leveraging Preloaded Vendor Catalogs

 

Step #8: Navigate Legal Aspects

It’s important to understand the basic legal requirements of running an online fabric store. Legal requirements vary depending on the location and nature of your business, so we recommend you consult with a legal professional to cover all your bases.

Some important legal aspects to be aware of include:

  • Business registration: Register your online business with appropriate government bodies and obtain the necessary licenses or permits.
  • Sales tax: Businesses are often required to collect sales tax — this varies by location. Make sure you consult with a tax professional to understand your specific requirements of sales tax.
  • Privacy policy: It’s necessary to have a clear privacy policy that explains how customer data is collected, used, and protected.
  • Terms and conditions: This document outlines the rules and guidelines for your online store and is important to have on your website.
  • Intellectual property: When you sell products online it’s important to respect intellectual property rights. Make sure you are not using any copyrighted images or selling counterfeit products.

 

How To Start a Fabric Store Online With Like Sew

Starting a fabric store online is a big step for you and your business’ success. Selling products online can increase your revenue and your customer base. By following these eight simple steps, you can take this next step with confidence. 

An all-in-one point of sale system can help you along this process and make this transition as easy as possible. Like Sew offers sewing and fabric-specific features and integrations to help you run your in-store and e-commerce business, including cloud-based software to easily sync your online and in-store inventory. 

Like Sew also has integrated product catalogs like Moda fabric and supplies, Northcott, Brewer, and much more. These product catalogs make inventory management and product listings easy to set up.

Ready to learn more about Like Sew? Request a demo today!