Written By: Marilyn Mahinay
How to Start Selling Clothes Philippines: Exclusive Guide
Sales and income can come fast and furious if you set everything up correctly and are prepared. Some beginner resellers start making sales within a couple of days. Others take a week or two. But if you’re not selling within 7 days. You’re likely not doing your homework.
Many resellers simply post images, invite by saying visit my online store or products and pray for a sale. Then they wonder why they get little to no sales at all. If that is you or are a beginner, then this article is for you.
The correct way to get to sales is a simple and easy process. It’s not rocket science but it does require you to read a little, watch a few videos and then do the work.
Dropshipping In Philippines
Why we hate waiting for deliveries. Most guys want to be called drop shippers. Most women like to be called resellers. It’s essentially the same thing.
The other definition of a drop shipper is a fulfillment center where you send products to and they warehouse your products, label them for you and ship them to your customer for you. So, both definitions are correct but can be used in a different context.
The Normal Process
When you use images from a supplier, post them on a sales platform, receive orders and the supplier drop-ships the order directly to their customer, that’s what drop shippers and resellers do. Both are essentially online retailers.
Unfortunately here in the Philippines, we have little patience for long delivery times. Nobody likes to wait more than a few days to receive items from couriers.
The China Dropship Process
But, when you order from online retailers, and they get their products from China, it takes 2 -4 weeks or longer and that is very hard to wait that long. Consumers in the Philippines are highly suspicious of long waiting periods and get extremely nervous waiting so long and that’s why cancellations and refunds usually occur.
Niche Marketing For Beginners
A Faster Path To Sales and Why. We’ve always said groupthink can be dangerous, and in the case of selling online, it can certainly be misleading at best. People tell me all the time, I’m going to sell online and make a lot of money.
Often when I follow up with them, their story has changed, the excuses are abundant and the one consistent theme to their story is, “They Thought It Would Work”.
Not listening, not learning and not focusing are the biggest issues. Why? Because, if you don’t know what you are doing wrong, you are simply in the dark. All you know is that you are not making sales.
If you had listened, taken the training, followed the steps and did the work, sales actually come pretty fast after that. This is one time you cannot demand instant gratification. If you cannot commit to a few days of learning and following the process, it’s time to find another source of income.
Understanding Suppliers & Why. There are many suppliers these days and you have to be very careful that you are not picking a supplier that is what we call a kitchen table supplier. That means they are independent, work from their home and don’t really stock their own products.
They also are what we call fly-by-night suppliers because many of them simply disappear over-night never to be heard from again. The reason is that they often try to undercut the other suppliers by taking tiny 20 and 30 pesos profit margins. Good for the buyer, bad for the industry.
COD is popular right now and when these suppliers offer COD, that means everyone waits for the paid fee to be distributed. But when a customer either cancels the order or refuses the COD delivery, the courier still charges the supplier with the delivery fee.
The inexperienced suppliers will usually take the loss because they did not understand the rules of COD.
The Philippines has one of the highest rates of cancellations and refusals with COD and just as quickly as you see new suppliers appear, Usually during December and January they disappear as fast as they appeared because they don’t want to deal with the loss of money due to canceled and refused COD.
Nobody likes to talk about this and the big e-commerce sites are very tight-lipped about these issues. After all, When you make say P20,000 in sales, that’s your gross sales amount. But nobody thinks that the real net profit that goes into your pocket is really in the range of P4,000 pesos.
It’s easy and sounds much better to say yes, I made 20K last month but in reality, only 4k went into their pocket. Everyone does this and they also don’t tell you about the money they lost on COD cancellations, returns, and refusals.
Understanding the basics is really important. That’s why when Lynns Fashion Store tells you to expect P20,000 in income, they mean in your pocket.
Are All Your Stocks Available?
This is probably the most common question we have received over the last decade. Why? Because it’s frustrating for everyone when the customer orders an item, pays for it and then finds out it’s out of stock.
The customer is likely mad and frustrated and so It’s not good for the seller either. Here is the reality, there is no such thing as unlimited stocks! As much as we would like to fulfill every order, stocks sell out all the time. That’s the retail industry.
How often have you gone into a department store, found the item you wanted but its not in your size or color. “Sorry Mam, Wala, out of stocks”. Suppliers cannot guarantee that items will always be in stock. Suppliers have no idea when a customer is going to buy and what they are going to buy.
Best Selling Platforms
Pros and Cons You May Not Know. I’m going to give this information to you from a reseller’s point of view. It’s important that you know this because what I am about to say may shock and/or open your eyes.
As a reseller, I expect to sell products. I expect to make a reasonable profit and I expect to develop a repeat buyer base also known as loyal customers. This way I can do follow up sales campaigns, up-sell and cross-sell my products to previous buyers of mine. This allows me to earn the income I want and need to have a prosperous life for myself and my family.
This is not an unreasonable expectation!
The Problem with Marketplaces!
Market places are common and can be a good experience if done correctly. When you go to a local marketplace to buy food, you may only have one or two competitors and that’s ok to deal with.
However, when you have thousands of competitors all competing with you in one location, it can be very difficult to make sales. Especially if they are selling the same or similar items that you are, for lower prices.
Marketplaces online have a different agenda. They usually prioritize the buyer and their buyer experience and leave the scraps to the Seller.
Honorable Intentions / Buyer Experience
Both Lazada and Shopee have the best intentions and they put the BUYER first. They want the buyer to have the best experience possible. And, in my opinion, they have done exactly that. As a buyer, it’s the best experience ever, most of the time.
That means if they have to put competitors on your merchant “Add To Cart” page so a customer can spot a possible same or similar product for a better price before they add your product to your cart, so be it. But from a Seller/Merchant Point of View, that is insanity.
Remember as a reseller you want to make sales and a profit for what you sell. Typically a good selling experience is that you don’t have to deal with competitors on your own buying page or add-to-cart page and you are not forced to play the price wars game. This is often a business killer if you don’t know what you are doing.
Forced To Allow Other Merchants On Your Selling Pages
It seems obvious but many beginners don’t know what they are getting into. Imagine spending P2000 or P5,000 pesos a month on Facebook ads and driving lots of traffic to your product pages. Good Job! Then the customer is almost ready to buy your product and wait!
Their curiosity gets the better of them, they scroll down just a little and there are all these amazing other images of like or similar products by other Lazada or Shopee Merchants. (Also known as your competitors)
Their prices are about the same or lower than yours and with one simple click of their mouse, they are gone and on your competitor’s page now. You not only lost a sale, but you also lost a customer and you lost the cost of your ad spend for your Facebook Ads.
I think those other merchants should be thanking you. Don’t you?
Adding Insult to Injury
Ok so now you know the down-side of being a merchant on these kinds of marketplaces. But Wait, There’s More!
Remember this is from a Resellers Point of View. So you now know that having other competitors on your add-to-cart page is probably not a good thing to do. But, by doing this, you are once again, forced to participate in PRICE WARS!
A price war is where a competitor has the same or similar product and they mark their product down in price to beat yours. You then see their price is lower and you reduce your price to beat theirs. Now multiply that by hundreds of other merchants/competitors seeing what your prices are and everyone is trying to beat everyone else and you are forced to play this silly nonproductive game.
All price wars push the price so low that no one makes enough profit to earn a decent income. This is not a good business practice. It’s Excellent for the Buyer, but for you the seller, it sucks!
No Customer Loyalty
When you sell on a marketplace that promotes other competitors on your pages and forces you to compete in price wars, customer loyalty is the last thing you will likely not get. It’s simply too easy for an interested buyer to check your prices with all the other competitors with just a simple scroll below your add-to-cart page.
Most buyers are a little more sophisticated these days, even here in the Philippines. Buyers do shop around. But, only if it’s easy to do. It also depends on the urgency they have to get what they want, need or desire. Remember, they want fast instant gratification and that is your friend in this case.
The more they want, the less they shop around. Usually, the first exposure they get may be enough if you catch them at the right time. High priced items that are over a couple of thousand pesos, they’ll likely shop around, lower-priced items like non branded or overrun type items do not typically inspire comparison searching.
If you are trying to sell to unemployed or low wage earners and P50 pesos is a big deal, then they may do some comparison shopping but often if they like and trust you, they’ll buy from you right away.
Independent Shopping Platforms
So having your own independent shopping cart platform like Shopify or QuickStart Shopping Cart (For Transparency, Quick Start Shopping Cart is Owned and Operated By Lynns Fashion Store) or even selling on a Blog or a social media platform like Facebook is much better.
Why? Because there is very little comparison shopping and there are no forced price wars you have to constantly deal with.
Independent shopping platforms are better suited for those that have a process and know what they are doing. There is also typically more control in the right way. Now You Need Customers
How To Find, Approach & Engage
Facebook Not What It Used To Be
So now comes the part where everyone has the biggest challenges. Facebook has changed so much and has become much more strict and just posting images on your timeline will not generate much in sales for you these days.
Even if you have the maximum on your FB personal page of 5000 friends, figure only about 2% or so will actually see a post organically from you.
Unless the other 98% are proactive and truly checking your FB page manually, they won’t see any of your posts and think you disappeared. It’s just not what it used to be.
OK, so all we need now is to find customers first. No customers, no sales. Customers are the heart of your business. So how do we first find them?
We start with the “Low-Hanging-Fruit”. Those are your family and friends first. Don’t get me wrong, they can be the toughest to sell to, but you can sell them if they are approached properly. And no, you don’t have to give deep discounts to family. There are ways to get them to want to pay your prices.
Narrow Your Niche of Buyers
By narrowing your niche of buyers, finding them becomes easier. What I mean is that let’s say you are selling dresses and tops. Women is the overall buying Niche. But you narrow the niche by using special events and seasons as your excuse to approach women.
Facebooks Birthday List
Facebook offers a birthday list. Let’s say you have 5000 friends and followers and only 20% order from you over the year for their birthday. That 1000 possible orders just for birthdays.
If your order has an average of 2pcs per order that’s P200 pesos per order profit and that’s P200,000 Pesos real in-your-pocket income, just for one event a year and that’s birthdays.
Can you imagine if they become repeat buyers all year long? This is not conceptual. We have several members that focus heavily on birthdays and it’s incredible what they do.
Anytime there is a special event like Birthdays, Weddings, Graduations, Engagement Parties you have an excuse to connect with your list of existing friends and followers.
Free Unlimited Facebook Resource of Buyers
Facebook has an unlimited resource of people you can friend. You just have to know how to do it properly without violating their new terms of service. We know-how.
This can be done on all the social media platforms but you definitely have to know their terms of service and how to work the system.
Just like birthdays, Holidays in the Philippines hold high regard and the opportunity to sell more dresses and tops increases. New Year’s Eve Parties, Valentines and Christmas are just a few of the popular ones. There are dresses for every occasion and season.
When you settle down and focus and have your process done, Marketing is easy, it’s fun and can be very profitable.
Youtube videos are an excellent way to drive traffic to your products. Notice I said drive traffic to products. NOT TO YOUR WEBSITE. If they visit your products on your website, then they are there to look at the product you promoted.
The chances of a sale are much higher than trying to simply say, “Hey Visit My Cool New Dresses Website”. You’re just asking for window shoppers and not buyers. So don’t do that.
Yes, your first instinct is to say you have a cool new website. That’s not the smart way to market and earn an income.
Branding Your Business
By using videos, you are also branding your website address in a subtle but very strong way. It should always have your website address, a logo and a call to action.
Imagine putting out a new video each and every month and people that visit youtube will start to recognize your website address and products. The more recognizable you become on the Internet, the more traffic and sales you will get.
( Transparency Notice. We offer a Yearly video marketing subscription where you can download new videos every month, so how cool is that?)
So now you know how to find free buyers and some of the ways to approach potential buyers at the right time with special events and holidays.
What To Say and How To Say It
I could write a book on this but I’ll give you one great example. This one copy-paste chat response will earn you a lot of income.
Customer: “Do you have this item on hand?”
Common Response: “No, but I’ll check to see if it’s available”.
(This response will drive customers away and you not only lose the sale but the customer also)
BEST RESPONSE: “YES! We can ship it to you right away. What is your Address?
(This response has made more sales than ever thought. A simple positive reply with a question to confirm the order)
Now does this response work every time? Of course not, but it does work a lot.
This response will either be answered by OK, here is my address and the sale is made or No, I’m not ready yet, what is the material made of, or how much is shipping? Or can I get free shipping etc.?
The Best Response is designed to pull any other concerns from the buyer. You are in control of the conversation and if you have a list of common questions, you can answer those questions with pre-determined copy-past answers.
These copy-paste approaches, responses, questions, and answers are all determined and created with a little bit of human and sales psychology involved. Now you are a real business and leading your customer to a sale.
And yes, we have copy-past chat scripts all ready for you. When you are prepared, you have control and the advantage in the conversation.
If you want more sales, being prepared is always the best thing to be.