The reactions are divided. When you hear of someone dressing up their dog, you either roll your eyes or you adjust your own pup’s cute jacket.
But there’s a third group of people, too: the ones who recognize the potential income opportunity relating to pet clothes.
Can you make money selling dog clothes online?
The average e-commerce store brings in a few thousand to over one hundred thousand dollars per month, and dog clothes are no exception. All you need to do is research what type of clothing you want to sell, how to sell it, and focus on marketing well.
Let’s take a closer look at how the process of setting up shop works, what types of niches there are, how much you can expect to make, and more!
How to Sell Dog Clothes Online
You can start earning money with an online pet clothing store in four simple steps:
Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these!
1. Decide What Type of Dog Clothes You’ll Sell
When it comes to dog clothes, it would be hard to exhaust the different articles of clothing that are out there. Some of the more common ones are:
- Bow Ties
Basically, if you as a person can wear it, then there’s probably one made for your dog, too. And yes, that includes accessories such as:
- Life Jackets
And while dog clothes are available for pretty much every size and breed, there’s a significantly higher percentage of people buying clothes for smaller breeds, such as:
- Yorkshire Terriers
Dog clothes – just like people clothes – can be made out of many different materials as well, and there are benefits to each type.
If you’re selling jackets to keep a dog warm, it would make sense for it to be made of a warmer material such as wool.
If you’re selling clothes to dogs with sensitive skin or with multiple allergies, it should be made of hypoallergenic materials such as cotton or silk.
So, as you can see, there are virtually countless options available to you and your customers, which is why it’s extremely important for you to pick a niche.
When you choose a niche, you’ll be able to significantly hone in on your target market, and therefore drive targeted traffic to your online shop and potentially make more sales. So, for example, if you choose to sell dog accessories for the sole purpose of dressing up a dog, your target market will likely be affluent females with smaller pups.
Regardless, you should choose a specific area to focus on and determine to be as big an expert and leader in the space as you can be.
2. Decide How You’re Going to Sell Your Dog Clothes
There are two main ways you can sell dog clothes online:
- Traditional Inventory
The Dropshipping Method
Dropshipping is where you sell products, but you don’t have to keep an inventory because either the manufacturer or wholesaler will take care of all the shipping for you when you receive an order.
Some benefits to drop shipping are the fact that you do not have to have an inventory stocked up. This means not only less money you need to invest in right up front, but you also don’t have to find a place to store all those goods.
Also, with dropshipping, you don’t have to pay for inventory until you make a sale, making this the much more affordable option at first. This is because the wholesaler or drop shipping company will generally take a cut of whatever you sell.
This means you’ll be able to focus more time on selling, and less on raising the initial funds to get up and runnig.
And if saving time and energy is your goal, this is the method for you. This is because, once you have your online store set up, you don’t need to do much else.
The drop shipper will handle all the manufacturing and shipping on your behalf. However, there are some major disadvantages, such as not having as much control over the product – especially quality control.
You’ll also have less opportunities to fully customize branding, which can hurt future marketing efforts later on down the road.
Although there are a large number of companies that are beginning to integrate custom branding into certain packages they offer.
The Traditional Method
The traditional method is where you would buy products from a wholesaler or manufacturer and store the inventory yourself and take care of the shipping all on your own.
Some benefits are that you can actually have your eyes on the products and see that, if you are not satisfied with the quality, you can choose to take that particular item out, thus ensuring the customer is getting the best quality item you have.
Another benefit is that you have more opportunity to brand your products and potentially put more add-ins into the shipping box. These can be things such as a brochure or note card about your company – with the goal of getting your name more closely associated with the product.
If people are really satisfied with the clothing they purchased for their dogs, this can be very good because they are more keen to remember the brand and potentially spread the word about your company and get you more business.
One disadvantage is the fact that you have to take care of all the shipping yourself, which can be a timely endeavor.
But the biggest disadvantage to the traditional method, in my opinion, is the fact that you have to come out of pocket for all of the initial inventory.
This could be a huge issue because you can purchase a large amount of inventory up front and have your company sink, or you can purchase virtually nothing and your company could take off.
Either way, you’re unprepared for the outcome, and the results could negatively impact either your pocketbook or the future reputation of your company.
3. Setup an Online Store
Getting an online shop is pretty easy especially with the rise of the e-commerce industry. When looking for a platform for your online shop, there are many options, some of the most common being:
The first two platforms are nice because they walk you through the whole process of setting up your online store – everything from choosing a name for your business (which you want to make sure nobody else has) to getting all of your products in the store and payment methods integrated.
But WooCommerce is good because it’s built around WordPress. So not only is it super easy to setup, but you can add a blog section to your store and use it to get targeted, free traffic in front of your offers. And since a big stumbling block for people getting into ecommerce is not getting enough traffic, this can give you an edge over your competitors if done correctly.
No matter which online shop platform you choose, if you are going with the dropshipping method, you want to make sure that the platform and the dropshipping software are compatible.
With Oberlo dropshipping, for example, their software is only compatible with Shopify – and Oberlo is one of the largest general dropshipping companies that offers pet clothing. So that’s an important aspect to look into before choosing your platform.
With a traditional shipping method, you obviously can have your pick at any e-commerce platform you want, and some factors to maybe consider when picking are the cost of using the platform and if there are any fees they take when a sale is made.
4. Start Selling Your Dog Clothes
When you have all of these other steps completed, the final step is to get started selling.
Now, in order to get customers, you’re going to want to drive traffic to your website. This can be done through learning about SEO (search engine optimization), or through advertisements with things such as Google Adwords.
When getting traffic to your site, you should know that the conversion rate is generally around 2-3% if you have targeted marketing. That means you’ll make 2-3 sales per 100 visitors on average.
Once you get sales, you are going to want to try to keep those customers as repeat customers. This can be done through a mailing list, where you send out regular emails that could contain coupons or promotions, or even including coupons in your packaging when you ship items.
How you go about getting customers can also be affected by who your audience is. If you are going after a more general pet owner audience, then you’re going to want your advertising or even your website look to be more generalized to all pet lovers.
But if, for instance, you’re selling clothing specifically marketed at pet owners of a sporting breed, which are much more expensive, then you are probably going to want to tweak your marketing to appeal to a more affluent person.
How Much Can You Make?
The amount you can make really depends on your niche in the dog clothing industry, who your target audience is, and your marketing success.
The average ecommerce store across all niches can make anywhere from a few thousand dollars a month to over one hundred thousand dollars a month (I know, that’s a lot).
What’s a good profit margin?
According to Shopify:
As a general rule of thumb, a 10% net profit margin is deemed average, while a 20% margin is deemed high and 5% low.shopify.com/blog/profit-margin
However, the more specific a niche you have, the more you can potentially charge, and the more people will reasonably pay.
Just to give you an idea, say you specialized in pet costumes for things like Halloween. Well, pet owners spend around $490 million per year on Halloween costumes, with the average cost being $20-$30 per costume (although some were more like $100).
And if you took a look at the average ecommerce order value, it’s about $78.
For one thing, that means people are willing to spend a lot of money online. But it also means that if you made just one sale per day at that average value, you’d be making $28,470 before expenses.
And with the fact that you should make more than one sale per day eventually if you are marketing well, then you can see how the income potential could be quite large.
So the industry averages are a guide, but as with any business, how much money you make ultimately comes down to the effort you put in.
What Are Some Good Niches?
Before you get involved with selling dog clothes, it’s important to understand why people buy, and what type of people are buying dog clothes. Because when you understand why people are buying, you put yourself in a much better position to come up with a profitable niche.
And yes, there are tons of different reasons why people purchase clothes for their pets, besides dressing up their fur babies to look like cute little outfits like this (lol)…
Here’s some examples to show you what I mean:
- Fashion conscious people who want dog clothes to dress up their dog.
- Dog clothes for special occasions (weddings, halloween, fancy dress).
- People who are buying warm clothes for their dog during colder weather.
- Special dog shedding coats for people who don’t want their dog shedding hair everywhere.
- Dog clothes to help protect their dog’s allergy-prone, rash-prone, sensitive skin.
- Booties and jackets for dogs that go out in snowy conditions.
- Clothes to help dogs recover from an injury or surgery. In those cases, the pet won’t be able to bite, lick, or scratch an affected area.
- Dog shoes to help protect their paws from glass, sharp rocks, or burns from hot asphalt while walking.
These are just a handful of ideas, with some research and brainstorming you might be surprised at what you can come up with.
In any case, it’s important to understand that some people don’t just buy clothes for their pets just so they can look cute and stylish – albeit that is some people’s sole reason.
Knowing this, it should make you feel more secure about the size of the market that’s truly out there – and the need for you to pick a niche and narrow down your target market.
In the end, you definitely can make money selling dog clothes – but it’s not quick and easy money. You have to put some time into research and marketing before you’ll start seeing the results of your efforts.
And if, after reading this, you’ve decided maybe this isn’t for you, there are other ways for you to make money as a pet lover besides just this!