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How to Start an Online Boutique from Scratch

December 9, 2020 in eCommerce



How to Start an Online Boutique from Scratch

So what all would you need to start an online boutique? What are the benefits and challenges that you can expect from starting an online boutique? Finally, how can you grow your online fashion eCommerce?

These aren’t random questions but are an overview for you about the article you are reading. 

There are numerous ways as well as the plot holes which you can find to start an online boutique. But we are focusing on the steps to start an online boutique that can bring profit eCommerce, not just quickly but also sustainably.

You wouldn’t need any past experience as we are starting out from the scratch. The fashion industry is among the fastest-growing industries around the globe and here is the chance for you to learn to get your piece of cake.

But before you start an online boutique, we really wish to clear a misconception of “easy-money”. Surely operating your business from the comfort of your home would be great but there are some challenges that you must know before you can jump onto the benefits of starting an online Boutique.

Challenges of Starting an Online Boutique

Choosing the Right Product

Starting an Online Boutique

Especially when you have a pool of options to choose from, having the right products listed on your eCommerce is very important.

Will you be selling shoes, jewelry, clothing, or some other accessories? It is very important to choose your own niche.

Converting Traffic to Customer

Converting Traffic to Customer

Let us be very clear here. Generating traffic is hard in itself. In addition, you would also be needing the right people to come to your site who are actually interested in purchasing your products.

This fairly depends on the way your products and website are set-up, your marketing, and customer support.

Being Consistent and Customer Friendly

Customer Friendly

Fashion eCommerce has a great responsibility to be consistent with the new trend and fashion. Fast-fashion or the classics. When you start an online Boutique, balancing the trends with your profit and demand could be challenging.

Global Competition

Beat the eCommerce Competition

Unlike an offline store, you may also remember that your competition is at a global level. In saying so, you also have a global opportunity to start an online Boutique and cater to the global audience. We will be learning more about it further in this article.

Managing Funds

online fashion eCommerce,

This isn’t saturated to the online fashion eCommerce, but to any business online and offline. Obviously, the cost of starting and operating an eCommerce boutique is way less, but if not taken care of the funds, it can be very tough to keep your business sustainable.

But enough with the challenges here. In the following article, we will make sure that we minimize every challenge you may come across and get all the benefits of starting an online Boutique.

Benefits of Starting an Online boutique

Fewer Capital Investment

Compared to an offline store, creating a window shopping section for your customer is way affordable for your business. More than the capital, starting an online boutique requires the effort and the time to grow.

Again, if you do your beginning right (as shown in this article), you can eliminate the unwanted efforts and save a lot of your time.

Better Brand Recognition

brand

Your customer is spending most of their browning on the internet or scrolling through social media. This means, when you start an online boutique, your customer would be able to connect to you, follow you, and engage with you way quicker than you may expect.

Quicker Global Reach

Start an Online Boutique

As we were saying. Starting an online Boutique opens up a window for the world to be your audience. Especially as you are an online fashion eCommerce, you would be able to go across the borders to reach your audience, from the comfort of your home.

Analytical Support

Start an Online Boutique

Data is the new currency for every business. The more data you have about your customer and your business, the more likely you are to grow your online business.

When you start an online boutique, you can see the unfiltered actions your customer took on your store. This way you can also interpret the trends, likes, dislikes, and most importantly the interaction of your eCommerce fashion store and the customer.

One-on-one Customer Experience

Start an Online Boutique

When you start an online boutique, you can actively improve your customer experience by interacting with them one-on-one. Wondering how? Well having an online fashion eCommerce has the benefit of technology, where your customer wouldn’t have to wait for you to open up your store doors in order to make a purchase.

Your online boutique runs 24 by 7 for 365 straight and more. And this means people can come to your store at any time they wish to and they will get the same service of selecting out of the options according to their choices.

Streamlined Workflow and Success

Guide to Start an Online Boutique

When you start an online boutique, you also manage to turn down most of your daily works that can be easily automated. This includes reaching out to your customer, tracking the orders, interacting with customers, and more.

As these tasks go on automation, you can focus on other important aspects of your business, which can boost your success rate at the pace you want.

Step-by-step Guide to Start an Online Boutique

Select your Niche

Guide to Start an Online Boutique

Even before you think of the name of online fashion eCommerce, it is very important that you choose your niche. The world might be your audience, but not everyone has the same interest in fashion as you have.

So start off by sorting out the niche you have some past experience or knowledge about. You don’t need to be an expert, but you surely need to know about the products that you are about to sell.

When you start an online boutique, with this you need to target a specific type of audience that might be interested in your product. You can start by tailoring down niche as:

Clothing Boutique

Clothing Boutique
  • Formal wear
  • Casual wear
  • Athleisure
  • Men’s clothing
  • Women’s clothing
  • Children’s clothing

Accessories Boutique

Accessories Boutique
  • Watches
  • Bands
  • Bracelets
  • Men’s Purse
  • Women’s Purse

Jewelry Boutique

Jewelry Boutique
  • Men’s ring
  • Women’s ring
  • Gold Ring
  • Silver ring
  • Earring
  • Imitation jewelry

Note that the more specific niche you choose, the higher chances would be for you to grow your sales and target that specific group of people who are interested in your product.

For example, if your niche is White Sneaker shoes, then people looking to get a white sneaker would trust your boutique more than any other, who is selling all kinds of shoes.

Create your Business Plan

Let us first sort down this into 4 major points that will help you start an online boutique and understand every aspect of it.

Market Research

Before you start an online boutique, make sure you are thorough with your market. This includes

– Market Analysis

Check for the

  • The demand for your product
  • Is the market sustainable in the future?
  • Is the market competitive
– Competition Analysis
  • What are your top competitors?
  • How are they operating their business?
  • What is their USP?
  • What are the practices they are using to grow?
  • What are key points where you can do better?
– Keyword Research
keyword reasearch

This fairly is research about the keywords that your products are related to. This is important as these are the words that your customer might be using to search for your product. Check out

  • Which keyword has high traffic and low competition to start with?
  • Which keywords your competitors are ranking and using to generate sales?

Some of the best tools for keyword research would be, Keyword Planner, Keyword everywhere and Ubersuggest.

– Buyers Persona

With all the above, you would be able to somewhat know about your customer. But in order to succeed you need more information about your customer.

  • What is the age range of your customer?
  • Which gender is more likely to be your customer?
  • What place on the internet do they spend most of their time?

Make sure that all the research you do is backed by a trustworthy source. This way when you start an online boutique, you would know exactly what to expect and how to attract your customer.

Business Model

selling products on amazon

Now that you are aware of the market and the customer that you will be catering to. But before you start an online boutique, you may choose how to run your business. Some of the popular business models are

Print on demand

This is simply printing a logo or the designs on clothing or any other products when the customer places an order. You can either do it by yourself or use a third-party printer.

In-house production

In-it you build your end product on your own with the help of raw material and send it to your customer when they order them.

Private label

In a Private label, you deal with a manufacturer, who would produce products for you. Further, you would just have to add your branding before you deliver it to your customer.

Dropshipping

If you have a low budget, dropshipping would be best for you. But you will also face the most competition here. In dropshipping, you generate sales for third-party companies that will deliver the product directly to the customer.

Plan Your Finances 

After deciding your business model, and before you start an online boutique, here is one very important step for you to remember. Before starting out, find out:

  • How much money would you invest vs What do you need from an outside source?
  • What are the possible costs you may need to take off while running a business?
  • What will be the pricing factor for your products?
  • What is the total revenue that you are expecting?

If you are unsure about calculation then it is recommended that you reach out to an expert in your network to seek out the required guidance.

Choose your Platform

The next step to start an online boutique would be choosing the right platform for your boutique. Top 3 eCommerce platform for you to start an online boutique are:

Shopify

Best shopify apps to increase your sale

It is a great platform to start an online boutique as it is an easy to use platform where you can get free themes and apps to customize your store and add features respectively. To start with, Shopify offers a 14-days free trial where you can create your store and run it.

Further to continue it, you can choose between the basic monthly plan of $29, and $ 79 or you can choose the Advance plan of $299. You can go through all the pricing details here.

Bigcommerce

bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is an easy to use, seamless platform that you can use. It too allows you to host your online fashion eCommerce on its server. Along with which you get highly dedicated customer support and a page builder to design your store according to your will.

The pricing of Bigcommerce varies between $29.95 and $299.95. You can check the pricing here.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

If you have worked with WordPress then Woocommerce would work great for you. A simple interface for all your eCommerce needs. Moreover, it is a free open source to use if you have your own domain and hosting.

Although Woocommerce is free to use, you may come across some premium features that you will have to pay for.

Square Space

squarespace

If you like more aesthetic designs than you may become more biased towards SquareSpace. It primarily focuses on creating high-quality templates and unlike other page builders, you may even require fewer plugins and your website may look more attractive. You can learn more about Square space here.

When you start an online boutique, you can choose any of the above platforms as all three are delivering the best service along with the support you may require in the future.

Style your Store

fashion

In the above you have chosen the platform on which you would be running your online fashion eCommerce. Let us now style the way your store looks.

Domain name

It is the name of your brand that you would have to select, depending on the niche you choose. This is also the name that will be used to search your site, hence make sure, the name is short, easy to remember, and also easy to pronounce.

Theme of Store

There are many free and paid themes available on the platforms that we discussed above. You can choose any one of them and start an online boutique. Make sure it looks aesthetic, has an easy interface, and the products look properly arranged.

Uploading Products

The next very important step would be uploading your products. Firstly make sure you use the keyword in the title, alt-tag, and meta of the product and product page. Also, make sure you use high-quality images on your site.

For this, you can even outsource your product images to an eCommerce product image editing service.

Launch your Online Boutique

Starting an Online Boutique

Well after taking care of all the above steps, it is right to launch your online boutique. Now that you have launched your boutique, it is right to create a brand presence on other social platforms.

Facebook and Instagram are the most trending social platforms for online boutiques. Keep a consistent posting on this platform to create brand awareness within your audience. 

Push Your Marketing

B2B Social Media Video Marketing

Once you start an online boutique, it’s important that you also do your marketing right, in order to make people aware of your products. Here marketing does not always mean spending money on running ads. There are two types of marketing strategies.

Organic

In organic marketing, you attract customers without running ads, through organic methods. Few organic marketing methods would be

– SEO

SEO is among the most important marketing techniques to make your eCommerce eligible for google ranking. In SEO you follow some specific guideline google such as

  • Using your keyword in the title, headings, text, Url, meta description, and alt-tag of images.
  • Making sure the site doesn’t take more than 3 seconds to load
  • Other sites are recommending you, by linking to your site.
  • People who visit your site stay and explore your pages.

All the above points send positive signals to Google which increase your ranking with time. A higher ranking means more people will see you in the search result hence more people coming to the store and then purchasing.

– Social Media

Social media like Facebook and Instagram have their own algorithms, but here is some trick for you to get more followers and likes which will further hello you bring customer to your store.

  • Do consistent posting (at least once a day)
  • Use either informational or entertaining content
  • Use features like hashtags and location for targeting your posts
  • Tag the brands if you use them in your content
  • Interact with your followers.

Paid

In paid marketing, you run ads of your eCommerce, in order to bring customers.

– PPC

PPC stands for Pay-per-click. You pay an amount every time someone clicks on your ads to enter your eCommerce. 

– Social Media Ads

This has a variety of options through which you can choose to either get followers, or more people visiting your eCommerce.

If your budget allows hiring someone for your marketing would be great as you would be able to focus on other aspects of the business.

Grow Your Engagement

Better Engagement

Now that you know how to start an online boutique, you shall also focus on bringing engagement with the audience. As we were discussing in the challenges, you shall have to make sure to keep your brand relevant with time and trend.

If you are successfully achieving this, make sure you also show it to your customer. This way your audience will also trust you with the products that you are uploading.

Also to increase your engagement, make sure to take reviews of the product. This interaction with you and your customer is very crucial for your online fashion eCommerce to grow.

Reviews to Renew

As we were discussing, after you start an online boutique, you shall focus on how your customers are interacting with your product. If there is an issue with the site you should improve it and inform your audience that you heard their problem.

Also, if there is a problem with the product, you should make sure you resolve it. When you start an online boutique, you have the ability to hear how your products are performing directly through the customers using it.

So make sure you do so and take the necessary steps in order to make sure you have a long sustainable running business.

Add-on you need to grow your online fashion store

As we are concluding this ultimate guide to start an online boutique, we would like you to know about the add-on you would need to grow your eCommerce store.

Passion and Understanding

Start an Online Boutique

It is very important that when you start an online boutique you choose a product which you are very passionate about. As time goes, it would be very hard for you to keep up with the trends, hence if you are not having an interest in your own products, the growth of your eCommerce may start declining.

Networking

Start an Online Boutique

The next add-on which will help you start an online boutique and grow it would be networking. When you are in the fashion industry, people would often judge your products through the influencers using them.

Hence you need to network with such influencers who believe in your product and could influence people to trust your business.

You can contact an influencer marketing agency, or in order to have a long sustainable bond between your brand and the influencer, you can contact them directly through emails.

Time Management

Start an Online Boutique

Another very important add-on which you need to start an online boutique and grow it would be time management. As a boss of your own store, no one would be telling you what to do, but this also means you are responsible for everything that happens to your business.

You would need to prioritize your time and efforts to take your business to a stage of automation, where it does not require regular interference.

Outsourcing

Start an Online Boutique

The new-age entrepreneurs are aware that doing everything on their own isn’t the best way to run a business. Starting an online boutique is the same. You can outsource most parts of the business-like, like marketing, product photography, and product image retouching, etc.

This will ensure less burden on your back, take less time to attain desired results and you would hand out your works to experts which means the results may even outstand your expectations. 

Goals

In the end, when you start an online boutique, you need to have a goal that you wish to attain with this business. It could be anything like, having 50+ sales a month or having monthly traffic of more than 5000 visitors a month.

It is very important that you set an achievable goal as it would help you create a practical approach. Every time you achieve your goals you can increase it to the next level and see your online boutique grow along with it.

And with this, we conclude this amazing article on How to start an online boutique. If you wish to keep yourself updated with more such business ideas, eCommerce news, and product photography tips, sign up for a free PixelPhant newsletter below.

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