Category feature: Lingerie and underwear

Banner1-Avasam

Ever thought about owning your own lingerie boutique, or adding underwear to your existing online store? Lingerie is a great category to start selling, since there is such a range of items, and niches within the market that you can work within.

Some sellers have avoided selling lingerie in the past, since the chance of having old stock can be high for certain styles and sizes, but this doesn’t need to a problem in 2020. Working with suppliers that utilise the DropShipping model allows sellers to offer a greater range, without needing to invest capital in stock, or worrying about needing to clear random sizes. And with Christmas approaching, when typically there are huge numbers of lingerie products sold, quarter four is a great time to start selling lingerie.

Why should I sell lingerie online?

Why Should I Sell Lingerie Online

Worldwide, the lingerie market is currently worth around $38.5 billion, and by 2025 that figure is expected to climb as high as $49.5 billion. Selling lingerie online allows retailers to offer a much bigger range of items than they could in a high street store, and it can be relatively simple to get started once you have identified the suppliers you’re working with and you’ve set up the sales channels that you want to sell on.

Although lingerie sells extremely well during the run-up to holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, it really is a year-round bestselling item. Different seasons call for different styles of lingerie, which is just one of the reasons that we recommend it to sellers – either as an addition to an existing store, or as the focus of a new venture.

What types of items count as lingerie?

There are a lot of different items that can count as lingerie and underwear, which means there are plenty of items you can source for your store or marketplaces. Some of the items we can think of that sell well include:  

  • Body suits
  • Brassieres (bras)
  • Bridal lingerie
  • Bustiers
  • Camisoles
  • Chemises
  • Corsets
  • Dressing gowns
  • Knickers
  • Night gowns
  • Panties
  • Teddies
  • Thongs
  • Negligees
  • Waspies

With such an array of products that sellers can choose from, it makes sense to narrow down your search to a particular niche as you get started.

What types of lingerie niches are there?

There are a number of different niches when it comes to selling lingerie and underwear – and although we’ve gone into a few of them here, there may be others that you can find and capitalise on.

Functional, every day lingerie

Really good every day lingerie with fantastic fit can be hard to find – which is why so many customers default to big name brands like Marks and Spencer. And when we say functional, every day lingerie – we don’t just mean a T-shirt bra and standard knickers in plain black or white. Functional means different things for different people. It isn’t just people of different shapes and sizes that we’re talking about either. Look at fun prints and colours, adjustable straps, styles and so on.

Every day lingerie can be an easy niche to sell in within the lingerie category, but you’re likely to have a lot of competition, so you’ll need to ensure the quality of your products is high, and your prices comparable. Your range should be pretty diverse too, so add black and white T-shirt bras to your lingerie collection, because they will sell well – but don’t stop there.

To make more sales, look at ways you can diversify – whether that is the range of colours you have available, the fabrics used or different cup styles. Cotton is popular, but different fabrics are widely used, while underwiring and padding are both items that split the opinions of bra wearers everywhere, depending on the size of the bust! By having a wide range of items, you’ll have more opportunities to make sales, since there will be a bigger chance you’ll have the style that your customer prefers.

Sports underwear

Sports and exercise is designed to make us sweat – and by the nature of most sporting activities, it makes all parts of our bodies move around a lot. That means that an everyday, cotton underwear set often isn’t suitable, especially for intense exercise. At best, normal daily underwear doesn’t provide enough support, and at worst, chafing or rashes can occur – which can leave permanent damage on the skin.

That’s why sweat-wicking fabrics are now common in sports underwear, and why designers are creating bra structures specifically for sports – to prevent movement an provide more support for breast tissue, and to prevent rubbing and chafing. Although bras are typically the first thing many of us think of when we’re considering underwear for sports, knickers are just as important – especially when running long distances for example, when seams in certain places just don’t work.

There is a demand for sports underwear year round, although with New Year’s resolutions and in the lead up to spring and summer there is sometimes more sales to be made. If you’re selling sports underwear, you can also make sales by adding workout clothing, socks and sports equipment for at home to your inventory.

Shaping underwear

Shapewear used to be about super-tight corsets or long-line, high waisted shorts that are dubious shades that were just a tad too close to Elastoplast beige. Today, thanks to high profile influencers including the Kardashians, and the rise of shapewear brand Spanx, things have changed. Demand remains high for shapewear (we spoke about it in this post last year) and there is demand year-round – at least, outside of COVID-19 lockdowns, anyway. Body suits, smoothing cycling shorts, high waisted briefs, sculpting slip dresses and control top tights – they are all great options that customers look for when they have an event to dress up for, such as going to the races in the summer, or Christmas or New Year parties in December.

If you’re going to sell shaping underwear, be sure to add a range of options for all different shapes and sizes to your inventory, and although shaping underwear isn’t typically thought of as sexy or pretty, if you can find items that fit that bill too, so much the better. Don’t forget to look for a range of shades – black, white and beige are traditionally the colours of shaping underwear, but they don’t always suit different skin shades.

Post-natal and nursing underwear

Both during pregnancy and after a baby is delivered, there are huge changes that happen to the body. Typically the breasts grow, sometimes by more than two inches, and the requirements that women have from their bra may change – for example, some women choose to wear a bra designed specifically for sleeping during pregnancy. During nursing, being able to fasten the cups with one hand is almost always a requirement – since there will often be a baby in the other arm!

This niche is a specialist area, and so ideally sellers will need to know about how pregnancy and breastfeeding might affect the body, so they can advise customers accordingly. Sellers will also need to be aware that customers might need to return or exchange their purchases.

Post-mastectomy bras

When breast tissue needs to be removed in order to prevent tumours from spreading, bras need to function differently. Arm movement can be restricted after the operation, so front-fastening bras may be desirable, the patient may decide to wear a prosthesis which requires a pocket, or if reconstruction has taken place, different shaped bras that offer more support may be required. For a while after the surgery, there may even need to be drainage tubes that need to be accommodated. It is important to note though, that just because a surgery has taken place, the preferences and personal style of the wearer hasn’t changed! Offering a range of styles, colours and fabrics will ensure you’ll be able to make sales.

This niche requires a lot of knowledge – why pockets are required, how seams can affect the comfort and so on. You’ll also need to be prepared to provide exchanges, since different styles and fits simply won’t suit some customers, and the nature of the surgery they have undergone means that their preferred style and bra shape may end up being quite different.  

Fetish wear

We’re not going to get into too much detail here – what customers get up to in their bedrooms is none of our business! However, what we will say is that some surveys estimate more than one in six people enjoy fetishes in their sex life, and in reality, it is likely to be far more popular than that. That means there is a huge opportunity to make sales of lingerie in materials and fabrics that are different from the traditional satin and lace. Rubber, latex, and leather might not be everybody’s choice for their daily lingerie, but there is definitely a demand for underwear and other items made from alternative materials.

If you’re tempted to start selling in this niche, sure to do your research carefully so you can really capitalise on the opportunity. It should go without saying, but if your online selling business is a side project in addition to your day job, make sure you do your research at home and off the clock!

Since fetish wear is linked with people’s sex lives, selling sex toys and products such as lubricants alongside your fetish wear products is a logical step to diversify your business.

Nightwear

Many people think of lingerie as being bras and knickers, but it also includes nightwear. While there are plenty of sellers of pyjamas and comfortable nightshirts, there is a year-round demand for luxurious negligees and chemises, and silky soft pyjamas. Why not help elevate customer sleepwear to something a little more indulgent? Adding nightwear that is made from tactile fabrics such as silk and satin can definitely help to boost your sales.

Be inclusive

If you’re tempted to start selling in this niche, sure to do your research carefully so you can really capitalise on the opportunity. It should go without saying, but if your online selling business is a side project in addition to your day job, make sure you do your research at home and off the clock!

If you’re starting to sell lingerie online, then think about how inclusive you can make your brand. Inclusivity is a huge issue that has had a spotlight shone on it in the world of fashion recently, and creating a lingerie or fashion brand that is inclusive isn’t just socially conscious and a good thing to do – it will actively help you to make sales. We’re not claiming to be an authority on inclusivity, but these are just a few things that jump to our minds:

    • The size range typically stocked by high street stores (8 to 18) doesn’t fit everyone
    • Not all people who choose to wear lingerie are women (or may not have been labelled as female at birth)
    • ‘Nude’ isn’t a single colour – people have different skin tones
    • People with disabilities may have different needs from their lingerie

These aren’t the only things that customers who want to buy lingerie will expect from you, so if you’re planning to market your business as an inclusive brand, be sure to do your research, and stay current of developments in the fashion world as well as your target customers.

 

When listing your lingerie items

When listing your lingerie items

People that wear lingerie generally want to know laundry instructions before they buy. Most of us have encountered the situation where we find an item of clothing that we love, but it turned out to be hand wash, or dry clean only – and then sadly, that item ends up rarely being worn. With consumers shopping more intentionally, and wanting to get more wear out of the clothing they buy, it is important to let your customers know the laundry information, as well as the exact material used in your listings. This applies to all fashion items, but even more so with lingerie, since it is next to the skin and is worn regularly.

What sells well alongside lingerie?

Whether you have an existing business that you want to expand, or you are planning ahead for scaling a brand new business that focuses on lingerie, there are a number of products that can complement underwear and other lingerie items. Which ones suit your business best will depend on the particular niche that you’re selling in, but typically other gift items such as perfume, and items that pair with lingerie – tights, stockings and hold-ups are a great add.

Fashion items work alongside lingerie too, which makes sense – customers buying underwear are likely to want outerwear, after all! If you’re selling more daring lingerie items then sex toys, latex or leather clothing and high heels can be a great add to your offering, and help to increase repeat custom.

Can I use Avasam to sell lingerie?

Absolutely! We have a number of suppliers on the platform who are selling different styles of underwear, lingerie and nightwear, so sellers who want to start selling lingerie, or add to their range without investing in stock can do so quickly and easily.

Working with Avasam products means that all you will need to do is make the sales on whichever sales channels you choose, while your suppliers deal with dispatching to your customers. They will also deal with issues such as surplus stock, and there aren’t any contracts or commitments, which means you can simply stop selling items if you find there is no demand for them. This means you can sell a more inclusive range of sizes without needing to invest cash in larger or smaller sizes that there might not be a market for.

Avasam allows sellers and suppliers to get the most from DropShipping without encountering the issues that are traditionally associated with the model. By working with Avasam suppliers, your customers won’t have to wait for their deliveries in the same way that they would if you were DropShipping from China – since all our suppliers are in the UK. In the event that there is an issue that requires an exchange or return, it is easily completed in just a few days.

 

The Takeaway

Lingerie and underwear items can be a fantastic way to start a new business, or to expand an existing businesses to help increase sales and profits. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of needing to clear odd sizes, or don’t have capital to invest upfront in stock, you can still sell lingerie by working with Avasam suppliers. You’ll get the product information you need to sell inventory, and Avasam can work as your sole platform, or it can feed into your inventory and order management system. In this case, you’ll see your Avasam products as though they were another warehouse location, and your order information will be updated too.

To talk to us about your specific circumstances, book a call with us. We’ll talk you through everything you need to get going – especially if you have technical questions. If you’re ready to get going, you can sign up for your free account here, and you won’t have any fees until you’re making more than 10 orders per month.

Avatar
Dawn Matthews
Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back.Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her second book.Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

DropShip products from verified suppliers to diversify your inventory and scale your eCommerce business

Start free account

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bigcommerce

×
Bigcommerce

Get BigCommerce FREE
for up to 3 months if you

sign up today

GET THE OFFER