Are you considering starting your own online business? Starting an online boutique is an insanely profitable business venture for entrepreneurs.
One of the most appealing aspects of an online store is the growth potential. According to Statista, the value of ecommerce apparel sales in the United States is projected to grow to 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. More and more shoppers buy clothes, shoes, and accessories online -especially now, many brick-and-mortar retailers are temporarily closed. It can be the best time to start an online boutique now.
The good news is that we have collected everything you need to start and run an online boutique, from how to choose your product niche to market your online boutique.
Step 1. Choose a niche you’re passionate about
When you start an online boutique, you don’t need to attract everyone. Pick a small but growing market and learn everything you can about it. Build expertise and share everything you learn. If you can create a body of content that connects with your audience, you’ll be well-positioned to capitalize on it and grow your online boutique.
To help with your brainstorming session, here are some ideas:
Chocolate candies: various flavors of chocolates, chocolates in different packages.
Apparel: Vintage clothes, handmade clothes, plus-size clothing, athletic wear, children’s clothes, custom clothing, or one-off designer brands.
Jewelry: Handmade necklaces and bracelets, chainmail jewelry, semi-precious stones, unique metalwork, stained-glass earrings.
Accessories: Handmade bags and purses for women, customized sunglasses, hats for weddings, unique scarves, and children’s shoes.
Or you can branch out of the ordinary mind and open an online boutique for pets.
Step 2. Write a business plan
Deciding what you’re going to sell in your boutique is only the initial part of learning how to start an online boutique. Write a business plan first to ensure that you have a strategy to go from idea to profit.
Use your business plan to ask yourself:
What does my business do? What do you sell, and why do you sell it?
What are the values of this company? What do you feel passionate about?
Who is my target market? Who are you trying to reach specifically with your brand?
Who is my competition? Are there any companies similar to yours out there?
How much can this business earn? Look into the market value for your company.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business?
How much does it cost to start an online boutique?
This is another question that you can answer with your business plan. Look into the kind of expenses you’re going to need to account for when you begin building your business. You’ll need to consider all of the initial costs of set-up, including website and domain registration.
Since your online boutique will be an e-commerce operation, you can use a solution like Shopify to set it up. It’ll cost you $29 per month plus $10-$15 for the domain.
It’s also worth planning how much ongoing capital you’re going to spend on things like inventory and marketing.
Step 3. Find a manufacturer or supplier
After you have a niche idea, you will start searching and comparing suppliers. Inventory will be one of your biggest startup costs, so you need to consider exploring your options. In order to reduce costs, many online sellers choose to purchase products directly-working directly with manufacturers instead of third-party wholesalers.
When choosing a supplier, you can go to the local jewelry wholesale market, but normally the price is usually high.
You can choose online suppliers who are specialized in supplying boutiques. Online suppliers are very useful and effective for your online business.
If you consider high-quality and cheap jewelry and fashion apparel, for example, Nihaojewelry from China is an online supplier specializing in jewelry wholesale. This is a website that specializes in fashion and trendy clothing and accessories. You can see hundreds of thousands of products, more than 300 categories and more than 500 products are updated every day. All pictures on the website have been meticulously taken, and you are allowed to use these pictures in your online boutique. This can save you a lot of time and energy.
Nihaojewelry has its own factory, and the quality inspection is super strict. Nihaojewelry is constantly committed to product research and development, and all products keep up with the trend. They have 6*24 hours customer managers to serve you for the reason that Nihaojewelry always puts customers first.
At Nihaojewelry, all products are producer prices, and there is no minimum order limit, you can choose at will.
The advantage of Nihaojewelry is that it cooperates with small retail buyers and the prices of goods here are also very cheap. After many years of development, millions of shopkeepers around the world have used Nihaojewelry as their supplier.
Step 4. Build your brand
A brand is everything for a boutique.
While great branding will help any business to thrive, your brand will make or break your chances of success as a boutique. A strong brand requires a stunning logo, a memorable name, and an enticing color palette. Fortunately, you can create these branding assets on your own with the help of online tools.
For instance, if you start your business with Shopify, the website created many tools for your to set up yourself. Shopify offers Logo maker，Business name generator，Slogan maker，Domain name generator，Video maker.
If you use other platforms or you want some better effects, there are plenty of freelancers on sites like Upwork and Fiverr who can help with things like logo design and brand videos.
Step 5. Price your product
- Add up your variable costs (per product)
- A profit margin
- Don’t forget about fixed costs
Here’s a sample list of costs you might incur on each product.
|Cost of goods sold||$3.25|
|Total per-product cost||$10.28|
In this example, your total per-product cost is $10.28.
Pricing will always evolve with your business, as long as your price covers your expenses and provides some profit, you can test and adjust at any time.
Step 6. Create your online store
After you decide what products to sell and where to source them, for all e-commerce platforms on the market, you need to spend enough time researching and compare options to find the best option for your boutique.
Tips to pay attention to when choosing an e-commerce platform:
• Is it a dedicated e-commerce platform or a website builder with e-commerce functions-which one is right for your business?
• How much are you willing to pay for the subscription?
• How user-friendly the platform is-do you need coding knowledge or is it mostly drag-and-drop editing?
• Does the template support mobile devices so that customers can shop via mobile phones, and does the platform provide a mobile application so that you can keep an eye on your online boutique from any device?
• What level of customization does it provide?
• How many products will you be able to list on the platform (this may be limited by the plan), and will it handle changes such as size, color, etc.?
• How secure is the platform? After all, you want to ensure that the information of you and your future customers is protected.
• Or you may decide to start using social media platforms.
You can choose to open an online boutique on Facebook, just use the e-commerce feature on Facebook Marketplace to list and sell your products.
Many online sellers choose this method at the beginning because it speeds up the initial process and requires less upfront investment. In particular, if you want to open an online clothing boutique with your customized products, you can consider opening an Etsy store. On the other hand, if you are reselling used clothes, you may choose to start selling on Poshmark.
Step 7. Start marketing and promoting your boutique
In order to acquire customers, you must market and promote your boutique.
Once you have opened an online boutique, you will immediately start thinking about the best way to promote your business online. You can use SEO strategies to word-of-mouth marketing to simply create social media channels. You can promote your business in a variety of ways without having to invest too much money in advance.
So far, many e-commerce platforms actually include marketing and advertising tools that you can also take advantage of.
However, on the other hand, if you are planning to invest in marketing and advertising strategies, you can choose to use platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads. In many cases, using social media marketing may be one of the most effective ways for online businesses to reach their target audience.
You can instantly increase the credibility of your brand on every platform from TikTok to Facebook. You can expand your influence on Pinterest and Instagram. Or use email marketing to build long-term relationships with customers.
Are you ready to start your online boutique? Would you like to choose a great niche market? Please let us know in the comments below.