Building an eCommerce for college apparel

After preparing your business plan, you can launch your eCommerce platform for college apparel. Do you know how to do it? Keep reading!

Paulina Karadagian
5 min read

College - or university - apparel is a key item for branding. It builds a feeling of "belonging", a connection between students, alumni, and staff.

 

When I was in college, I felt so proud of belonging there that I started shyly buying a decal for my car. Yeah, let them all know I was attending THAT college! After that, the shopping frenzy began. A T-Shirt, a hoodie, a coffee mug, omg-look-at-that-cute-teddy-bear-with-a-t-shirt-college-logo, and then, why not let the teddy bear wear the same hoodie as me? "Do you have this in baby size?". And then, basketball season began, as well as football. Let's support our teams! Please take my credit card! Thank you!

 

Thirty years passed in a blink of an eye. Those clothes don't fit me anymore, and I'd love to get my college sweatshirt for the gym. I'll sail over seven seas to buy a hoodie, but, alas, they don't have an online merchandising store, and I live in another country. Too bad their website did not enter XXI Century yet.

 

How do I get to have an eCommerce store for my college/university apparel?

At first sight, it may seem overwhelming. First, you need to plan your business model. As a clothing business, you'll need to decide on the basics: will you print on demand, custom cut and sew, private label clothing, or dropshipping?

 

Let's go over this step by step:

 

  • Print-on-demand: When a customer places an order, either you or a third-party printer creates the product. You don't have ready-made stock to deliver the sale on the same day, but, in return, the operating expenses are low.
  • Custom cut and sew: This is an expensive choice, especially for colleges and universities, since it focuses more on building a brand from scratch, so you need a design team, sewers, a warehouse, etc.
  • Private label clothing: Your college or university partners with manufacturers to order unique products marketed under your brand. The investment can be a little high but allows you more flexibility in sizes and samples as you can fine-tune your strategy without an extra cost.
  • Dropshipping: Essentially, the college/university acts as the middleman. When someone places an order, you re-order from a third party.

 

These are the most usual ways of a business plan in apparel stores. Once you decide what better fits your store, it's time to move forward with my best friend: Drupal Commerce!

Drupal Commerce for your eCommerce platform: To infinity and beyond!

There are a lot of eCommerce platforms, but Drupal is the most versatile. As I stated before, Drupal is a Content Management System (CMS). When you use Drupal for building your website and decide to get an online store, Drupal Commerce is a match made in heaven. Don't believe me? I'll show you how you can make a heavenly experience not only for customers but your staff as well.

 

  • Content-driven commerce: Online selling is not about a nice picture, a list of available colors and sizes. It requires good storytelling. Content marketing can convince your customers, keep them navigating your site and drive sales.
  • Integration with payment gateways: Why settle for only one payment gateway when you can have more than 80+ integrations? Let your customer decide how they want to pay.
  • Mobile-first design: Since most customers tend to buy from their phones, it is designed in a way that fits every screen size. The buttons, positions of the images, scrolling, etc. make it easy to browse the catalog, select the product and proceed to the checkout.
  • Different languages: For your overseas students, you can switch to their local language and currency.
  • Products are easy to manage: Because one-size-does-not-always-fit-all, and also, it comes in different colors, you can use the SKU system. For example, if a gray shirt comes in L and M, it will have a different SKU ID, making stock control easier to handle.
  • Different levels of trust for permissions and roles: If your staff needs to make adjustments to descriptions or images, you can set permissions. If there is a mistake, you will know who was responsible.
  • Speedy and dynamic UX: User experience is a must. If your site is fast, clear, and easy to understand, it will have an effect on sales.

 

Drupal Commerce is a secure platform that allows flexible shipping methods, automatic tax calculation, discount handling, search options, and many more features. And, on days like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you don't need to worry about the system collapsing since Drupal is scalable, meaning the server capacity gets bigger as needed and smaller when not.

 

At Awkbit, we love to take care of every little detail to deliver outstanding eCommerce platforms, reliable apps, and fast and amazing websites to make the lives of students and staff easier. Don’t be shy! Get in touch with us and be ready to transform your needs into an all-around digital experience.

Reach Out!

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