How to know if your fashion brand is ready to approach 3rd party eCommerce?

New blog post - how to know if your fashion brand is ready to approach 3rd party ecommerce

Once you have watched this short video you will be able to answer if your fashion brand is ready to engage in 3rd party eCommerce.


By answering the 8 most important questions you need to honestly answer to discover if your brand is ready.

Prefer to watch?

Here’s that video!

More of a reader?

Here’s a recap of the steps from the video!

So firstly, what is 3rd party eCommerce?

It can simply mean two different options.

It can mean wholesale or it can mean marketplace.

So they are really the two key methods for fashion brands to use. And that is simply you as a brand, stocking your product on a third party’s website.

So who is killing it as a 3rd party platform?

There is a powerhouse like Amazon.  We all know who Amazon is! And they are a well-known marketplace that sells brands throughout the world, across multiple different product types.

Can you believe they originally started out as simply selling books?

There is Zalando a huge platform in Europe.

Predominantly based in Germany, but selling to 17 different countries across Europe.

Fun fact – Last year, they saw their gross margin increase by 20%.

These platforms, these third party platforms are growing and they are dominating the market.

So if you are a small fashion brand, you can’t go wrong by using them as a means to reach new audiences and make more sales. So let’s go back to the point today.

So how do you know if you are ready to approach these big platforms?

In this video, I am going to run through some questions and you need to use this as a checklist, to answer if your fashion brand is ready for 3rd party eCommerce.

Are you established enough?

It’s such a powerful question.

Ask yourself;

Have you got a following? Have you got enough Instagram followers, for example?

ASOS really value the fact that you have to be established. You have to have a social media presence and a following. So they actually want you to have at least 20,000 followers on Instagram, for you to be classified as established enough for them to work with you.

Ask yourself; are you very clear with your brand values; who you are, your tone of voice? As you need to have a strong presence and vision, to display these to a third-party e-commerce site to be taken seriously.

"ASOS really value the fact that you have to be established... they actually want you to have at least 20,000 followers on Instagram, for you to be classified as established enough for them to work with you"


Do you have the budget to cover 3rd party eCommerce?

Ask yourself; do you actually have the budget to be able to afford to do third party e-commerce?

You might be thinking, why do I need a budget? I’m selling my product. I’ll be making money, won’t I?

Yes, that’s the end goal.

But to actually work in 3rd party, eCommerce specifically wholesale, you actually have to upfront quite a lot of the beginning costs. I’m actually talking potential costs for you that could at least last the first six to nine months of the beginning of that relationship.

So within the budget, within the cash flow, a few things for you to consider are that you would have to pay the manufacturer to produce the goods before you actually sell them. So you’d be producing your range and a wholesale partners range. So that’s double the cost potentially.

Plus you will have costs to consider like;

If you’re going into new markets, you will have to pay legal costs, setup costs, like all the different fees.

You need to know if you can afford to do that.

And with a wholesale deal, you’re only likely to make 20% Margin. So it’s a very slim profit margin versus your own direct to consumer channel.

So you have to weigh up if you can afford to take a small payment for doing this and the sales method.

Is your collection ready for 3rd party eCommerce?

How much product do you have?

The general base requirement is you need to have two drops per season and within each drop, you need at least 25 options.

So if you’re not big enough yet, as in option count, then you are not ready to approach 3rd party eCommerce. (that’s quite specific for wholesale).

If you want to do a marketplace, there are a lot of small marketplaces out there in the market that you could choose to sell through. And that means you don’t actually have to have a certain amount of options.

It’s your choice. But again, some of the big marketplaces still have a minimum option requirement that you must meet.

fashion wholesale requirements

Are you willing to create exclusive designs and/or collections?

Talking about collections have to consider; are you actually willing to create an exclusive collection?

For example, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere and you want to approach the Northern hemisphere, are you actually ready to design a weather-appropriate product?

You need to answer; Do you have time to design this? Do you have the budget? Do you have the skillset? And do you want to do that?

Have you built 3rd party eCommerce into your strategy?

This question is a huge one! …

Have you actually built this into your strategy?

Ask yourself; what are your business goals for 2021, 2022… ? And have you actually defined your global sales strategy?

Are you clear with exactly what you want to achieve?

To successful go into 3rd party eCommerce it is a really important question for you to answer honestly. And you need to make sure that any of your stakeholders in your business also follow this strategy that you’ve defined.

Within your strategy ask yourself;

What is the timeline?

What are the milestones?

What’s your actual approach? like how are you going to do this? And do you need help to do that?

Do you need to work with someone like Carley Johnson Connections that we can help connect you to these platforms? We are the experts, we are connected in the industry and can get you into these accounts.

Finally, how are you going to actually achieve your wholesale or marketplace launch?

wholesale connections service

How logistically able are you?

Are you set up to ship globally?

Have you got a really good streamline logistical process or are you just in the setting up phase? And you’re not really achieving what you need to.

For example, you don’t have your label sorted. You don’t have your packaging. You’re just using DHL.

You need to have your logistics sorted down to a T before considering 3rd party eCommerce.

Can you accept global payment?

Think of your back office.

How are you set up as a business?

Are you able to actually transact with these big platforms? And can you accept global payments?

How much do you really want this?

This is just some advice from me… Really ask yourself, how much do you want this?

This is a really important question.

It requires an honest answer. Because working in wholesale or marketplace actually does take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s not easy. It doesn’t just happen like that. That takes a lot of work, a lot of monetary investment, and it’s a long game.

You could choose to start this strategy now, and you may not launch your product for another six to 12 months. So again, you have to be invested in actually seeing through the whole of this project.

The second part of this question is you will have a lot of setbacks. So mentally, in your character and in your brand, ask yourself; are you actually ready to take these setbacks? And are you potentially ready to bend over to these sales platforms to actually secure the deal?

Conclusion - Is your fashion brand ready?

I really hope these questions have helped you to understand if you are actually ready to approach 3rd party eCommerce.

If I can help any more, please reach out. I’m more than happy to answer any questions and help connect you to any sales platforms.

Leave a comment under this video or reach out to me directly by sending me a DM here.

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