How to Start an Online Boutique & Get the Business Rolling

Overview

An online boutique is a great way to sell unique items and reach a wider audience than a brick-and-mortar store. With this type of online store, you have the potential to reach customers all over the world. With a bit of planning and effort, you can have a thriving online boutique business in no time.

13 Steps to Start an Online Boutique

These are the steps to follow when starting an online boutique business.

#1 Choose your niche

As with any other online business, the first step is to choose your niche. When it comes to an online boutique, you’ll want to start from an area you’re passionate about. Once you’ve decided on your niche, you can narrow down what type of products you’d like to sell in your store.

Image Credit: https://paperbell.com/
  • What do you love?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • and What can you provide that is unique?

#2 Research your (future) competitors

One way to help drill down on your niche is to research your competition. When you know your main competitors, you can start to differentiate your business from them. This process will also give you insights into what’s working well for them and where there might be gaps in the market that you can fill.

#3 Get tax compliant

As per tax laws, you must register your business and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits before operating. This process varies depending on your location, but you can usually find the information you need on your state or local government’s website.

#4 Create a buyer persona

Creating a buyer persona is one of the most critical steps in an online boutique business. When done correctly, your buyer persona will help you better understand your target customer so that you can appeal to their specific needs. This document will serve as a guide for all future marketing and sales decisions.

Image Credit: http://eternaldecision.net/
  • Who are they? (Demographics)
  • What do they do? (Occupation/Hobbies)
  • Where do they live? (Geography)
  • Why would they need my product/service? (Pain points)
  • How will they use my product/service? (Goals)
  • When do they need my product/service? (Timing)
  • What might prevent them from buying my product/service? (Objections)

#5 Source Your Materials

An online boutique business might require two types of inventory:

  • Physical products that need to be shipped to customers
  • Digital products that one can deliver electronically

#6 Choose an eCommerce platform

This will be the key to a successful online boutique. Not all eCommerce platforms are created equally, and your chosen platform will directly impact your store’s success.

  • Your own website and store (i.e., self-hosted)
  • An existing marketplace (e.g., Shopify, BigCommerce, Etsy, etc.)
Shopify

#7 Select a Name and Domain For Your Business

Having a great name that people can easily remember is always a great idea. The name should reflect your products, but it should also be unique and catchy enough to grab people’s attention.

  • easy to spell and pronounce
  • short and memorable
  • relevant to your business
  • available as a .com domain

#8 Design your store

The next step is to start designing your store. This includes everything from choosing a color scheme and adding logos to setting up the navigation and layout of your pages.

#9 Set up payment processing

The next step is to set up payment processing for your store. This includes choosing a payment gateway and setting up a merchant account.

Stripe Homepage

#10 Choose your shipping and fulfillment options

The next step is to choose your shipping and fulfillment options. This includes selecting a shipping carrier, setting shipping rates, and deciding how you will fulfill orders.

  • offers reasonable rates and reliable service
  • provides tracking information for your customers
  • handles the type of products you’re selling

#11 Launch and market your store

The next step is launching your store and marketing it to your target audience. There are several ways to do this, but some of the most effective include:

  • Starting a blog and writing helpful, informative articles that target your ideal customer
  • Using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach potential customers
  • Participating in online forums and discussion groups related to your niche
  • Advertising your store on Google, Bing, and other search engines

#12 Monitor your analytics

Learning how to start an online boutique needs to come full circle. Tracking and monitoring ensure you’re on track to reach your goals. This includes tracking traffic sources, conversion rates, average order value, and other essential metrics.

#13 Build Engagement

Finally, consider how you will build long-term engagement with your customers. This includes everything from providing excellent customer service to sending out a periodic newsletter letting customers know what’s new with your brand.

Image Credit: https://www.nosto.com/

It’s a Wrap!

Starting an online boutique is a great way to enter the eCommerce world and have a long-term successful business. By following (and implementing) the above steps, you’ll be well on your way to finding success.

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