In a world where everything and everyone basically “exists” online, finding the best way to start and run an online boutique will always be a topic of conversation. Basically, people order almost all of their clothes and accessories from online stores and platforms. There are many reasons, but some of the most common ones are:
Practicality, avoiding contact that isn’t necessary, dependable return policies, and easy payment methods that ensure a safe purchase.
Overall, it’s a trend that’s becoming more and more like a rule.
From the owner’s point of view, it’s much easier to start your own online business because you don’t have to pay for a location lease or keep your physical store running. In fact, anyone who is interested enough can open an online boutique; you don’t need any special technical skills to do so. To work in this field, all you need is an internet connection, a personal computer, and the desire to do so.
So, we’ve made a step-by-step guide to help you through the whole process and give you the technical background you need to get started safely. But first, let’s look more closely at what an online boutique is and whether it will work for what you want to do.
What is a web-based shop?
An online boutique is a virtual store where the owner sells trendy items like clothes and accessories that can be bought over the internet. The online shop might sell different kinds of clothes to reach a certain audience, or it might sell a wider range of things so that everyone can find something they like. No matter what you decide, it’s good to remember that online stores can sell items at a higher price, which brings in a lot of money.
Is it profitable to own an online boutique?
Owning an online boutique can be a good way to make money because these businesses tend to grow quickly because of how quickly the market changes. We looked at a recent report from Statista to get an idea of how big the eCommerce fashion market is. The report says that Fashion is the largest segment of the eCommerce market, and it is expected to grow by 11.5% each year and reach US$1,501.3 billion by the end of 2027.
With this in mind, it might be the right time to start that online fashion business you’ve always wanted by securing your place on the market and making your eCommerce success story.
What should you know before opening an online shop?
The most important thing to remember is that you’ll always have to plan ahead and be aware of the following to get to the point of the launch:
- Make a structured business plan. Creating a business plan is the safest way to keep up with the latest market trends. A plan will help you grow steadily and plan for many changes in the market that could hurt you in the long run.
- Starts can be tough: We’d be lying if we said that starting your online boutique from home would be “a piece of cake.” Every new business has its own challenges. But if you work hard and pay attention to the things that are most important for a business to do well, you’ll definitely add more value and meet the challenge.
- Expect challenges to pop up: Prepare yourself, because once you’re up and running, you’ll have to deal with challenges that come up out of nowhere. The important thing is to keep a clear head and a mindset that always looks for a solution to a problem. Find what drives you and use that to keep going towards your goal, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to keep going.
- Find out more about the details of the law: Yes, legal stuff can be hard for everyone with an online business, but it’s important to know the rules you need to follow in order to keep your business going. Check to see if you need to pay certain taxes, register your brand name as a trademark, etc., based on where your business is based.
How do I start a home-based online shop?
Starting an online clothing business isn’t easy, but if you follow the steps we outline in this article, you’ll be well on your way to a successful business. So, if you want to get ahead of everyone else, you need to follow these twelve steps.
Pick a market niche
When you first start your online clothing boutique, one of the most important things you need to decide is what your niche will be. If you want to start a business and have an idea, you should start by researching winning products you can sell and making a buyer persona. It’s always better to narrow down your audience and only offer a few products.
For example, opening an online boutique that sells high-end fashion from well-known brands is a very profitable idea that will bring many fashionistas to your store. Any extra offers will just be the “cherry on top.” Offering high-end brands like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and other big names is a surefire way to put your store ahead of stores that sell regular clothes.
Look into the market
While choosing a niche is important to the success of your online boutique, you also can’t forget to analyse the market and look for gaps that need to be filled. There will always be something the market doesn’t have enough of that your competitors don’t cover. Once you know what this something is, it will help you reach your goals.
But in fashion, it might be hard to find this because the market mostly sells clothes and accessories. But you can always dig deeper to find out what kinds of clothes and brands aren’t being sold much and decide if they’d be a good choice for your main line.
The most important thing to remember is that people love to try new things and buy new things online, so no matter what you sell in the fashion market, there will always be people who want to buy it. For example, if you sell designer clothes, you will always be one step ahead of online boutiques that sell generic clothes.
Choose your business plan.
Now that you’ve done market research and know who you might want to sell to, it’s time to figure out which business model will work best for you. This is the step where you decide how your products will be put on the market and how much they will cost in the future.
There are two common ways to do business online in the fashion and clothing industry:
Dropshipping is a fulfilment method for eCommerce that lets you sell things online that you don’t actually have. In other words, you’ll work with a dropshipping vendor who will handle your customers’ orders and send them to them. This business model is perfect for anyone who is just starting out on the market and wants to build a solid foundation for future growth.
The costs of running a dropshipping clothing store are low, which gives you more room and time to work on your customer service and support system and give your potential customers the best experience possible. This way, you’ll get good feedback, and your business will grow much more quickly. This dropshipping case study goes into more detail about a similar situation.
Make a business plan and follow it.
Your business plan is an important part of what you’re doing. The plan will help you break into the market, and you can use it to write down your main goals and how you’ll reach them.
Of course, the business plan will also give you a solid foundation on which to apply for more grants and financial assets or to pitch your idea to investors who want to help you break into the market more easily.
Watch what your competitors are doing.
To figure out how to place your fashion business on the market, you need to find your competitors and look at how they run their businesses. With a simple SWOT analysis, you can figure out the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as well as get a clear picture of how the market is moving.
This is a necessary step because it lets you see what your competitors offer and what strategies they use to set themselves apart from you. So, use this analysis as a learning opportunity and pay close attention to how they run their businesses.
Choose your brand name and logo.
Your store’s logo and name are the first things people will notice when they come in. In business, the first impression is always important, so you should step up your game and come up with a design that stands out and a name that is easy to remember.
As an example, let’s look at FashionNova, which is a dropshipping business in the fashion market. When you first hear the name of the store, you probably know right away what it sells. So, a name for your luxury fashion store could include the words “Luxury” or “Fashion,” or an abbreviation of one of those words. You can try, FashionLux, LuxFash, FLux, etc.
No matter what you do, it’s important to choose something that really means something to you or that fits your business perfectly. You can also use slogans that capture the essence of what your business is all about. Also, it’s always a good idea to hire a graphic designer to make the logo. People are visual creatures, so anything that gets their attention and makes them want to buy your products will bring them back.
Choose the web address for your business
The store domain name is something else that needs to be taken care of. As we said in the last chapter, the more unique or descriptive your business name is, the more people will want to learn more about the services you offer.
But there’s one thing we can’t leave out of this. After coming up with a name, the first thing you need to do is see if this name is available as a domain. Have faith in us. There is nothing more annoying than having to use a different domain name because the one you came up with is already taken.
To avoid this, you should check if the name you want to use as a domain name is available at the same time as the other steps. So, if you decide to go by LuxFash, you’ll find that LuxFash.com is already taken if you check www.domain.com. The website will give you some other options, such as.org,.tech,.online, and so on. It doesn’t matter much which domain extension you choose, but keep in mind that.com,.net, and.org are the most common ones.
After you choose your domain name, you should also check to see if that name is already taken on social media or elsewhere. You don’t want to end up with a Facebook profile that already exists and makes it hard for customers to find you on social media. This could cause you more problems at work.
Create your site.
Now that you’ve set up most of the technical parts of your website, it’s time to set it up.
Your website will be the platform for your online boutique. Did you know that websites that work well are much more likely to be successful than those that don’t? Or that 94% of how people feel about your web design is based on their first impression?
That’s why you should take your time and come up with a design that will make people look at it with interest. You can hire a designer who can do this easily for you, or you can check out platforms like the ones below that make it easy to build a website:
- Shopify: You can use Shopify to set up your own online store and make it easy to connect your inventory. Check out our full guide to dropshipping on Shopify to get the full picture.
- WooCommerce: Another popular option is to set up a store on WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin. This gives you access to thousands of the best WooCommerce plugins. Check out our guide to dropshipping with WordPress if you want to learn more.
- Wix: Wix is another popular eCommerce platform used by business owners who want to open an online store. We’ve also put together a guide on dropshipping with Wix that tells you everything you need to know about the platform in more detail.
- Shift4Shop is another option you can think about. It gives people who run online businesses a cheap platform to build their businesses on. Read our beginner’s guide to dropshipping with Shift4Shop to learn more about this eCommerce software.
All of these eCommerce platforms work well with dropshipping stores and online boutiques. You just need to decide if you want to take care of your inventory yourself or let your supplier handle it through the dropshipping model. If you’re not sure what to do, you can always read our articles on:
- WooCommerce vs. Shopify
- Shopify vs. Shift4Shop
- Wix vs. WooCommerce
But even if you don’t have experience in this field, there are web development companies like LemonDev that offer turnkey store solutions. This is especially true if you want your store to be built on Shopify. These companies can help you make the whole process easier and make sure that nothing goes wrong along the way.
Choose the range of prices for your products.
The target audience has a lot to do with the price range of the products you’ll sell. So, you need to deal with these two things at the same time. If you don’t, you might end up having to change one or the other. Of course, this might not be a big deal in the end, but it’s a much better idea to have control over both of these variables and set them up in a way that you think will be best for the company.
The best way to set a retail price is to plan a price strategy with a few phases and then implement it by putting one phase into effect at a time. This will give you time to slowly adjust to the changes in the market without having to slow down your business.
When you sell designer clothes or other accessories in the high fashion world, the price margin is between 1.9 and 2.4. You can use the following formula to figure out how much money you’ll make in the end:
Markup times wholesale price minus wholesale price = profit
Let’s use this D&G Dress for Women as an example to show how our equation works. The price on Dropship Corporation, which is also the wholesale price, is €825. Most of the time, markups for branded dropshipping are around 2.2. So, if you sell this product in your dropshipping store, you could make as much as €990.
Explain the details of shipping
The process of shipping should also be looked at. You really need a reliable shipping service that will make sure your products get to the people who bought them. People won’t want to do business with you if customers leave their carts at checkout because shipping costs are too high or the products don’t get to them.
So, if you want to run an online store with a wholesale supplier, you’ll need to find a reliable shipping company that can get things done quickly. If you choose to run a dropshipping clothing store, on the other hand, you won’t have to worry about this part because your dropshipping supplier will send the products to your customers.
Overall, with this model, you only need to worry about giving the best customer service and getting your business to the top of the market.
Promotions and special offers should be included.
A store needs a rulebook that includes all the rules about promotions and other special offers in order to finish its cycle. By giving your audience great deals and discounts every so often, you can get them to buy something and get them to come back to your store again.
In the high-end fashion market, online boutiques should always keep an eye on what their suppliers are offering and change the prices of their products to match the sales that their dropshipping or wholesale supplier is running. It’s very important that you follow their rules and make an offer based on how they are doing right now.
Promote your online boutique
Once your business is up and running, there’s nothing left to do but figure out how to promote it and come up with the best marketing plan for your online store. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work on your marketing plan:
- Set up your social media channels and start filling them with information about your online boutique and the trendy products you sell;
- Optimize your product photos and use apps for editing fashion photos to show your items in the best possible light;
- Connect your store to Google Search Console and Google Analytics so that you can keep track of how many people visit your site;
- Make a newsletter for your store to let customers know what’s going on with your products.
- Test out different campaigns, especially paid ads, to find out what works best for your store.
- After you’ve done all of this, it’s time to get the word out about your business by advertising it a lot. What does this mean, though? Basically, you need to use all of the ways to promote to get as much attention as possible.
SEO Marketing Strategy: With a little help from SEO techniques, you can figure out how to reach the people who are most likely to use your fashion store. Set up keywords, find out what the buyer wants, and get relevant traffic that will lead to conversions in the end. This can also happen naturally if you have a good SEO strategy. After that, you can strengthen your strategy with paid ads like Google Shopping Ads on the Google Ads platform.
From this detailed guide, you can see that starting your online store in 2022 won’t be too hard after all. In fact, if you follow the steps we’ve laid out here, you’ll be ready to hit the market with a foolproof business model that will give you a solid foundation for future changes and ventures.
You don’t have to have a place or a lot of money to start a business. A simple computer at home can be the key to starting a business that does well.
From there, you can start to learn, which will lead to more in-depth assessments and, eventually, long-term improvements. The most important thing you need to do is stop daydreaming about how you’ll start an online boutique from scratch and start building it.