“How to start an online boutique?” So many people mostly girls and women search for these terms. Basically for proper instruction and guide to start this business.
It is always there on the back of your mind. Clothing, accessories, or handcraft has always obsessed you. Enough so, that you or your friends would call you an expert.
You are thinking about starting a business and all the possible ideas do not click as much as the thought of selling the one thing you are super passionate about.
Now, selling those products in a physical shop might be a little risky considering the limited potential customers in your area. So, what is better than a physical boutique store? An online one, of course.
Better does not mean easier, it is a long process starting an online boutique. There is a lot of stuff you need to take care of before making even one sale, but, do not get disheartened, this can be the perfect job for you.
You can wake up every day feeling excited about working on your boutique site, searching for beautiful products to sell, and making a living doing something you enjoy.
So, if you know this is the right path for you, let us learn the valuable steps that will get your online boutique the shine it needs.
11 steps How to Start an Online Boutique like everything you imagine and more.
1. Have a plan:
Almost all the time, starting an online boutique begins with a lot of energy. The energy that is being fuelled by the vision you have of yourself with the perfect online boutique, making huge stacks of cash.
The excitement that dies off as soon as you hit your first roadblock. Making a thorough plan, that includes every milestone that you need to reach before you can see your perfect boutique, is very important.
From getting the funds you need, getting all the paperwork and license that will be required, and to officially launching your website. Everything needs to be written down and anticipated. Planning will do a lot of heavy lifting for you and your shop.
2. Finding the place to do business:
Decisions like these are vital for how to start a boutique. The platform you sell on needs to have all the things you are looking for.
If you want to start your business with a place that already has an established customer base that can easily find your boutique, then registering your store to an e-commerce platform is what you need.
The e-commerce platform can help ease some of the pressure of promotion from your back but comes at a price.
The price is the limited freedom you will get selling from their platform, you have very little say in the design of your site and the conditions they have might not be the right fit for you.
So, if you are like that then making a blog is your thing. With a blog, you own 100% of your site and therefore, get all the control of design, and running your business.
The price for a blog, though, is that it is expensive and you need to do a huge amount of promotion that can cause you to lose all the hair in your head.
3. Choose an interesting brand name:
The brand name needs to have that special something to work its magic and attract all those people. It needs to be something that makes people want to click the link as soon as they see it.
Come up with a witty name, have flair, and can easily be associated with the stuff you are selling. This step is not hard to do, but having a quality name for your boutique will boost the image of your brand quite a bit.
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There is an infinite amount of combinations you can use; a little wordplay can work wonders and make sure that name matches the tone that you are going for.
After coming up with the name, check to see if it is available to use or if someone has already taken it.
You can make sure it is unique by making up your word by just changing up spelling and keeping the pronunciation intact. This is also useful for creating intrigue about your boutique.
4. Be consistent in your products:
All your products should share a common link, be it material, appearance, or style. If your customers see two products that look entirely different from each other, like ones made on earth while the other is a mars product.
They could be turned off in trusting your creative process. The customers need to feel like you can help them decide on a product from a room of items that all intrigues.
The quality of your product needs to be consistent too, do not create a price range that is too wide for a particular type of product. Having products that match in looks and quality will make your boutique look very professional.
5. Have a niche look to your brand:
It pays to have your customers take one look at your boutique and know exactly what they can find. Make sure you tailor everything on your site to attract the type of people you want like an online clothing boutique store that sells only gowns.
Selling only one type of item means that you can buy a large quantity from one place; wholesale clothing for boutique owners will make them a lot of money.
Know your demography, what do those people do every day, what are their hobbies, how much they’re willing to spend, what type of music do they listen to and what type of artwork do they like.
At this stage, you have to bring out some stalker skills to attract the audience you want.
However, it does not always have to be about the customer’s preference, you can go with the look you want too, as long as you have confidence in what you are looking for then you do not need to worry much.
However, always keep in mind that your online boutique store brand and your customers need to be on the same vibe.
6. Show off your products:
No one is going to buy your product if they see a badly taken photo of it. If you just pick up a product and click a picture of it from your phone, and think that that is good enough to upload into your website catalog, then you need some hard education.
The photos of your products in your online boutique store website should look much better than they do in real life.
To make this happen, you have to do a lot of work but do think that all that work is for nothing, it will pay off when your customers buy your products just by how good they look in the catalog.
For this, you need a few things: a good camera to take high-quality photos with, a very simple and complementary background that blends gorgeously with the product.
Some basic knowledge of good lighting to make the images look as attractive as they can be and the perfect angle to show off the best features of your products.
This is starting to sound more like Instagram modeling tips but it is the same thing. The only difference is that instead of likes you will be getting sales.
Also, you do not need to hire someone to do this job for you, invest in some equipment, and do it yourself. If you do not know much about photography, just look as previous examples of similar works, and copy what they are doing.
7. Be smart in choosing your suppliers:
Sometimes you cannot just order the best products you see. You have to consider many things while picking the sources of your products. Remember, you are not just a customer anymore.
Saving just a penny from choosing the right shipping options can be the difference when you calculate your profits.
Some suppliers are inconsistent in delivery and they can cause a lot of trouble for your business when supply does not meet demand. If possible, get your sources from places that are closest to you or the once that are more reliable.
Go to nearby crafters and strike up a deal with them, which will save you a lot of money in shipping costs, and you can also get to ask them to make the products look the way you want them too.
You can also go buy your products from local antique stores. eBay sellers also give affordable pricing and many times the manufacturers themselves sell from there, so you could get a great deal on wholesale items.
Lastly, you can approach manufacturers directly and strike up a deal with them. They can offer you the lowest prices but make sure shipment is not much of a trouble.
8. Please your customers:
It will not matter if you have everything on point but the quality of your products is lagging. Customers will not come back and will not leave good reviews if you do not sell them a great experience.
Be careful in choosing the places that make the products you want to sell. Choosing small businesses to make your products can guarantee you good quality. Handcrafted products are always the most liked by customers.
Nevertheless, the handmade craft can be very costly and time consuming to make. You might not be able to make as much money selling only handmade products. Your customers will be turned off if they see the sold-out stamp more times than they should.
Manufacturers are more reliable in the supply side of things, but they can sometimes give you products that drop in quality to some extent. Consider looking for small-scale wholesale manufacturers who can match your standard in quality.
Overall, a good mix of items from a handful of sources is best for your online boutique store.
9. Do some promotion:
The best way to get your products noticed is by going on multiple social media platforms and posting content there. The content should be engaging, interesting, and can drive in more sales from your store.
The most common way to promote social media sites is to post the most attractive looking photos from your catalog. This is where photography skills come into play.
But you don’t have to be limited to just photography, you can also show off your creative side and do your videos, memes, and all sorts of stuff that people like. It pays to be entertaining on social media.
The best platforms for this Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and even YouTube. People on YouTube are spenders if you know how to find an audience there.
Instagram and Pinterest both have a large number of people who like luxury items. If you play your cards right, the sky is the limit for your online boutique store.
10. Get promoters:
Promoting your brand alone is not enough to get you the amount of attention you need to grow your business.
Hire a promoter, who can be anyone from a blogger, YouTuber, Instagram influencer, or just your regular customers. Find the social media personalities that you most identify with and who is the audience is your targeted potential customers.
Offer them money to create a sponsored post that contains discount codes from specific to that particular promoter or maybe they can mention your store, in a very positive light, in one of their posts, or put a link to your shop from their blog.
Your brand should find promoters who enjoy using your products and who share the same excitement, and interest in the products as you. Brand ambassadors are people on social media platforms that you think can promote your products.
Offer discounts to share the brand name with their friends and followers. You can also promote your brand by asking your customers to refer to their friends.
This can get you many new customers if you can offer your customers some exciting discounts and prizes. You can make limited giveaway products to your customers who share links to your online boutique store
to as many places as you like. This can be done by using the giveaways in a type of contest and people who want to participate can share your link around.
If you are low on cash, you can always just find influencers who you think would like your products and send them free samples of your stuff along with a nicely written letter in goodwill.
They can be grateful enough to give your boutique a shout out in one of their blog posts, social media posts, or video uploads.
11. Email List & Social Media:
Create an email list and ask people to subscribe so, you can easily connect customers inbox with your products, special offers, and so on. It will increase your business overnight.
As mention above, perform on a few trending social medial pages/profiles. Be online regular as a video stream. Share regular update of your product features. Spend some amount to gain targetted followers. Study social media marketing on the internet.
Starting an online boutique store is the same as any e-commerce store. It takes a lot of business skills and determination. It is a tough and long journey for beginners.
It will be a while until you see your business turning a profit but with the right business plan, it will happen eventually. With an ever-growing number of customers, an online boutique can make you comfortable living and help turn your passion into a career.
- Why are online boutique stores so expensive?
Ans. The fact that online boutique stores are smaller-scale operations than retailers answers that question. Clothing vendors for boutiques do not have that much money for buying large wholesale bulks.
The Clothing vendors for boutiques have limited storage capacity and have to buy fewer amounts of products that cost more per piece than wholesale prices.
The big retailers usually have huge storage facilities and can buy a large bulk of wholesale products from manufacturers at very low prices. This is why retail shops can offer low prices and give attractive discounts.
- Are online boutiques profitable?
Ans. People who shop at boutique stores are looking for unique, interesting, and high-quality products. These products are very expensive but the customers are not looking for low prices while shopping here.
Owners of these stores do not have to give competitive pricing for their products as they are not in competition retailers and their customers are not the same.
The online boutique customer is willing to pay high prices so the owners can have high margins. Online shopping boutiques can be very profitable in this way.
- What are the differences between boutiques and stores? What is a boutique?
Ans. The boutique can be interchange with a store sometimes but in the literal definition, they are both quite different.
A boutique is a small shop that usually sells fashionable clothes, fashion accessories, and other luxury items whereas a store is a place where products to be sold are kept and sold. A boutique can be called a store but not all stores can be called a boutique.
- What is the best online builder store?
Ans. There are a few places that offer simple to use software that you can use to build your online boutique with. Free website builders should be avoided because customers do not trust them.
Squarespace is a website hosting and building company that offers very attractive and smooth templates for e-commerce sellers. WordPress is the commonly used web builder; it has the latest features and is the best variety in design.
- Do I need a vendor license to sell an online boutique?
Ans. Yes, just like a real shop seller, online boutique sellers also require business licenses to conduct sales. The government needs to tax your earnings and keep track of the activities you take part in while working on your boutique.
There are various licenses that e-commerce vendors need and some codes are required like GST number. You also need a digital signature to verify transactions on the internet.