To successfully launch a fashion brand online, you must follow these 5 criteria.

To successfully sell a fashion brand online, you need to consider all of the criteria given below before starting to design your collection.

I will explain the specific eCommerce criteria within each planning process that I have implemented during the past 8+ years. I have worked with both UK & Australian brands to launch their businesses onto the global market using platforms such as ASOS, Zalando, Nordstorm, Zalora, The Iconic. This experience means I know what a fashion brand needs to consider before launching onto the market.

Criteria 1. Planning a product range for eCommerce.

Firstly, you need to know how many sales channels you will be launching on, and the main country to which you will sell. This is important as market and climate will play a huge factor in your product range.

Once you know the market/s, you then need to focus on specific traits. Here are just a few that you need to consider.

  • Which hemisphere are you supplying and what is the climate? This will affect the shapes designed and the fabrics used.
  • Will you source locally or overseas; this will play a part in the cost and lead time of your product.
    What are the bestselling sizes within the category you are targeting? Size curve is extremely important as this can affect the designs you create.
  • What is the fashionability of the market/s? This will not only play a huge part in the categories you offer but also the style of the product.

You really need to know your market and the consumers you are targeting on each platform before you design the product range. You need to be focused on their needs.

Criteria 2. eCommerce option planning.

As in the first criterion you need to know how many sales channels you will be launching on before you start option planning. Option planning is specific to each brand’s capabilities; there will be no definitive answer but I can share some top tips based on my experience.

⮚ Newness is key. If you design a pre-fall collection, don’t launch it all at once. Phase your new releases out over the month. Customers love newness, so create excitement.
⮚ Plan each season based on the hemisphere and drop .e.g. Northern Hemisphere (N.H.), Autumn-Winter (A.W.) include knitwear and jackets, but only start to plan them from August onwards, no earlier.
⮚ You may need to consider an option plan per platform/market e.g. N.H. and Souther Hemisphere (S.H.) and/or ASOS & Zalando if you choose to work with third-party sales channels.
⮚ When selling to a branded buyer, for example, ASOS expect a de-selection rate of 30%, therefore if you show 25 options, it is likely they will only select 17 options. You may need to plan more options then you expect to sell.

Criteria 3. Sustainability considerations.

Sustainability is one of the hottest topics of 2020. If you are looking to launch a new fashion brand, I would strongly encourage you to be sustainable in some way.

Sustainability online is very black and white, you can either be ‘tagged’ as being sustainable or not. By this I mean the search function and menus of most websites allow the shopper to search for exactly what they are looking for. You could choose to tag your fashion brand with some of the most common options:

  • Organic.
  • Fair-trade.
  • Vegan.

Aside from the product, there are other ways that you can show yourself online as sustainable. You could use recycled packaging, or request customers to re-use packaging. You can follow circular design in each collection. You can give back to the community by manufacturing locally.

Whichever choice you make you need to decide before launching your fashion brand online as this will affect all the messaging around your brand, the product and launch.

"Sustainability is one of the hottest topics of 2020. If you are looking to launch a new fashion brand, I would strongly encourage you to be sustainable in some way."


Criteria 4. Market-specific compliance.

Before launching a fashion brand online, you need to ensure you comply with the requirements of that market. Do your research. I am going to tell you about the 2 major global market requirements but you will need to do further research on each of the markets prior to launch.

The two major sets of regulations governing your products are REACH, covering Europe/UK and Prop 65, California specific law in the U.S.A.

It is your duty as a brand owner to ensure that your factories and suppliers comply with these laws as a standard. I would encourage you to go one step further than just asking also request a testing proof. This should be something that your supply chain is willing to do.

To grow quickly and successfully around the world, this is a key criterion that you must implement now.

Criteria 5. What sales channels you will use.

Before launching your fashion brand, you need to decide which sales channels are right for your brand. Simple.

This is a huge strategy decision that should have been made at the very start of the process. It will have informed the product, the options, and the timing of when you will launch.

I would encourage fashion brands to launch on a minimum of 2 channels at the same time; your own shoppable website and your own shoppable Instagram. Within the next 6-12 months of post-launch, I would encourage you to expand and launch on global 3rd party platforms like ASOS, Zalando.

You need to have a plan pre-launch and stick to it. Each season is planned so far in advance, so you cannot get this wrong.

Plan with confidence.

A successful launch is defined in planning. Don’t be off-put by the current economic crisis, it is still feasible to launch a fashion brand if you ensure you have a solid, in-depth, well-researched plan. 

Launching during a crisis is all about being innovative, and taking opportunities from downfalls. Certain products will thrive, ensure this is yours.

Please share your thoughts? Are you planning on launching a fashion brand in 2020? Id love to hear your plan.

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