Have you ever dreamed that someday you would open an online boutique store? Stop dreaming about it and make it a reality. It isn’t as hard as you might think.
There are all sorts of products and programs available that make the process more simple. It still will take a lot of work, but with some willingness and dedication, you can make it happen.
Read on to learn about the process of opening an online boutique. The sooner you get started the sooner you’ll be successful!
Pick Your Product
Now that you’ve decided you want to open an online boutique. The first thing you have to do is pick your product.
Since you had the idea in the first place, chances are you already have something you want to sell. But be smart about it. Do your research first and figure out what your ideal customer is looking for.
For example, get on eBay and see how similar products are doing. Are they popular? Take a look at the bid count to find out.
Are they selling fast? Check out the number of active listings and auctions. This is a great way to analyze the market and ensure that there is demand for what you want to sell.
Another great tool is to get on Amazon and read the reviews for similar products. What are people complaining about? What do they wish was a little different about the product.
This will take some time, but you can find holes in the industry and fill them with your offerings. This will increase your chances of selling.
Do a quick google search for your product idea. What pops up? The first listings you see are your top competitors.
Do you see them paying for advertising? This is important because it indicates that their product is successful. You want to break into a corner of the market that actually interests consumers.
You can also use a tool like SpyFu. This will give you information about the top keywords and advertisements. You can repurpose and tweak this to fit your product.
Pick Your E-Commerce Solution
There are 3 e-commerce solutions that you can choose from when you open an online boutique. Take a look at each and determine which will be best for your product and level of expertise.
A hosted solution is the easiest place to start for beginners. You may be familiar with Shopify. This is an example of a hosted e-commerce solution.
The company hosts your site on their servers. Plus, they offer software that makes it easy to build your website. This is nice if you don’t know all the technical ins and outs of web design.
The next option is to buy a license. This is an out-of-the-box platform that you can buy and install on your computer.
For this option, you’ll have to find your own hosting and security. That means you’ll need to be a little more savvy with technology to use this option best.
The great thing about an open source option is that it’s free. You also build your website from the ground up so it is completely customizable.
The downside is that you really need to know what you’re doing to create a site like that. If full-on web design is not your forte, expect to hire a professional. The right one can build your site exactly how you want it.
Build Your Store
You’ve done your research and made your preliminary decisions. Now you can start building your store! This is arguably the most exciting part when you open an online boutique. You get to fill your “shelves” with products that you are excited to offer the world.
As you build each page of your site, be sure to keep things consistent. Create a brand and stick to it. A site that is somewhat random is confusing to customers. Keep everything nice and cohesive whether the page is a product, content, or your home page.
Check out this beautiful site by Rachel Simpson for some inspiration. Click through a few pages on her site. You’ll see that everything looks crisp and clean and goes together well.
Set Up Payment Options
Okay…maybe the most exciting part is when you make your first sale. Be sure to set up how to get paid. That’s the whole point, right? There are lots of easy beginner options like PayPal or Google Checkout.
A more professional looking method is to accept credit cards directly on your site. Be sure you do your research with this method. There are a lot of rates and fine print to understand when you’re dealing with credit cards.
Market, Market, Market!
You may have heard the saying “if you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case with your store. You can’t open an online boutique and expect the customers to start pouring in.
You have to market your company and your brand. Social media offers tons of great marketing tools, some free and some paid.
You can also create email lists or a blog to improve your SEO (search engine optimization). Your best bet will be a combination of several things.
Regardless what you choose, you will get out of it what you put into it. Plan to work for a while before your ideal customers start noticing you.
Ready, Set…Open an Online Boutique!
You can do it! If you dream of opening an online boutique, go for it! It will take a lot of work, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems.
Maybe someday you can even quit your day job. You can even set yourself up to travel or live in a different part of the world. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and your sense of adventure.