You Should Release Products Like the Big Guys, Right? Wrong!
So you've seen your favorite brand release a collection before and that's probably given you some preconcieved notions about what a collection should look like for your brand. But have you ever stopped to consider why big brands build their collections in specific ways? Well a lot of it has to do with the product sales and marketing strategy and what their supply chain looks like for producing apparel. And guess what? While the retail+mass production approach to sales & marketing + production has been great over the last 100 years, there are definitely cracks in that approach that are starting to show. From the human and environmental impacts of mass production overseas to the high profile bankruptcies of some of the largest retailors and clothing lines, many people have begun to question if that approach is the best model for clothing sales.
There is undoutably a great opportunity in selling your apparel online direct to consumer and using dropshipping is a great way to get started, because it allows you to control your costs and invest your time and assets into building your brand instead of holding inventory.
So if you are going to start your clothing line with a different approach, it's also worthwhile to consider how the direct to consumer sales and marketing approach linked with dropshipping should reflect in your collection planning and overall marketing approach.
There is no doubt that dropshipping has huge advantages over mass production, in that it is simpler and more cost effective to sample an item and begin selling it, as it requires almost no capital beyond simply purchasing a sample.
So how can your clothing line use these advantages to win customers and get as many sales as possible?
One of the most obvious approaches is to ensure that your collection size is appropriate and that it will allow you to consistently create and release new products. By keeping your collection size small, meaning the number of products within your collection, it allows you to develop, sample, market, and release the collection very quickly (within weeks, not months). Keeping the collection size small is a great way to ensure that you can release collections more frequently. And a real key here is that the more new collections you release, the more opportunities you have to market your brand to your customers and this is a key element to making the direct to consumer sales and marketing approach work in your clothing line's favor.
The perfect collection size for dropshipping
Well, there is no perfect collection size, it's going to be different for every brand. However, if you are just getting started with your clothing line, we recommend starting with 3 products to create your first collection. It's simple enough to be executed easily and interesting enough to be able to market it well. It provides enought choice for your customers, but not enough to overwhelm them with options.
However, most importantly, when planning your collections it's best to pick a collection size that you feel confident that you can execute in a short timeframe consistently. Just launching a single collection typically isn't enough, as it will take ongoing releases of collections to attract the attention of your customers and influencers in your target niche. So take care to plan collection sizes for the longterm, set a goal that you feel confident you can achieve month after month.