How To Start an Online Boutique Business

If you like things like clothes and accessories, you will be excited by the idea of selling your own style, your own colours, and your own products through an “online boutique” or “online store” by opening a brand that reflects your style. Of course, in this case, we assume that you are wondering what kind of process to follow to open an online boutique. Here’s what you need to know about opening an online boutique store from start to finish:

How to Open an Online Boutique?

Before we start answering all the questions that come to mind or not, we need to look at the basics.

In this article, which can be a reference for opening an online store, we will convey everything from business plan to marketing, from social media management to stock management in detail.

So let’s get started.

1. You Should Prepare a Business Plan

If you have the intention of opening a boutique store, first of all, you need a business plan.

Don’t be intimidated by the phrase “business plan” either. We’re not talking about a 100-page technical text. You need to create a text that will illuminate your way throughout the process such as your purpose of opening the boutique, your sources of income, potential expenses, and marketing and sales techniques, and at the same time, you can show it during the credit-investment application.

If you do not need credit or investment, that is, if you are going to enter such a business with your own savings, the business plan should include the basic elements of how you will establish and manage the business.

2. You Must Decide on the Platform

When you open an online boutique store, can you take advantage of the platforms established just for this business?

For example, you can create your own store through platforms such as Trendyol, hepsiburada, n11, Etsy, and Shopify. Of course, you don’t have to stick to these platforms. If you wish, you can set up your own website and do e-commerce from there.

Both alternatives have pros and cons in terms of site design and shopping experience. But basically, factors such as the products you will sell, your level of control over the store and how you will design the store’s window will make one of the two alternatives outweigh it.

3. You Must Find a Name You’ll Love

You need to find a name that you like for the online store you are going to open. It is also very important that you do not get bored with this name in a short time and do not look for another name.

So you shouldn’t be embarrassed or bored when you say the name of your store in public. Of course, something that is normal for you may be strange to others, or vice versa. But in the end, it will be ideal to find a name that resonates with you by finding the middle way.

The process of finding a name can also be somewhat long. There’s no need to panic.

Of course, it is also desirable that the name you put on your store refers to the products you put on sale.

4. You Must Create a Consistent Aesthetic Style

Things are starting to get more enjoyable now.

By choosing the photos and images you will use on your site, you can reflect your personal style to your boutique. The important thing here is to answer the following questions.

  • Who will make up your ideal customer base?
  • What are these things they would love?
  • What kind of things do these people absolutely dislike?
  • What kind of colours, what kind of fabrics appeal to them?
  • What kind of foods do they prefer to consume?

Thanks to such questions, you can largely determine the style of your site. So you can ask what kind of relationship is there between a person loving the colour pink and being vegan?

The basic logic here is to create a consistent and harmonious aesthetic style. In other words, all the elements of your site should be able to tell a story by uniting.

For example, this website called Bourbon and Boots is a great example of this.

Reflecting the theme of leather, metal, wood and bourbon, the site has a warm and consistent style.

Just like this site, your products should create a harmonious image in your store and tell a beautiful story.

So basically you have to discover who your products appeal to and adopt a style that suits those people.

5. You Must Create Your Own Brand

Like creating a consistent aesthetic style, creating your own brand is a crucial issue.

Your brand is a combination of the products you offer, the name you choose, your target customer base, site design, and social media accounts.

If you are going to be a fun and women-oriented brand with bright feminine colours and fonts, Declaration & Co., a decoration and accessories boutique, has a lesson in brand management.

Or if you’re on your way to becoming an elegant, clean and minimal brand, you should check out the menswear store Thread Theory.

As can be seen, there are fundamental differences between the two boutiques here.

When creating your own brand, you should consider more than a selection of compatible products. Because the brand includes all the actions you do. From colours to fonts, from posts you share on social media to text on your website, everything shapes your brand identity.

6. Make Your Products Stand Out

Write epics about brand management, and make your store look very stylish; However, if your products cannot attract people’s attention, unfortunately, the life of your boutique store will not be long.

What do you think the photos above have in common?

Yes, products play the leading role…

These are professionally photographed products with a simple background. Products are already self-promotional.

When designing your online store, you should pay attention to being visually attractive and while doing all this, you should display the products in a beautiful way. This means quality and professional photos with good lighting and models that can successfully carry your products.

Depending on your budget, you can take pictures of the products yourself or have a professional photographer do it.

If You Are Going To Shoot Yourself…

If you want to add new products to your store regularly, you can save the fee you pay to the “professional photographer” by doing the photo shoot yourself. When you take product photos yourself, you have the flexibility to work the way you want. With the help of a friend, you can take beautiful photos.

For this, we strongly recommend that you look at videos on “product photography” on Youtube.

You will hire a professional photographer…

If you think that you do not have the skills and desire to take photographs, you can leave this job to the expert. A professional product photographer can take amazing photos in no time. Of course, even if you have to pay some amount for this person’s labour, you will get the most important element of your site, product photos, in a professional manner. You should also take care to examine the photographer’s portfolio before agreeing.

7. You Must Decide Where You Will Supply Products

After deciding on the products you will sell, the style of your brand, and the visuals you will use, it is time to supply.

So where will you get the products you will sell in your store? You can follow various methods for this.

Etsy

You can reach out to your favourite Etsy sellers and ask if you can work together. So you can sell a product that you buy from them in bulk, for example, for $ 10, for $ 13.

Alibaba, Aliexpress

On sites like Alibaba, you can contact sellers directly and buy a large number of products and sell them on your own site.

Antique dealers, flea markets

You can also find various concept items from antique dealers and flea markets and sell them either directly or by adding your own labour to them or by customizing the products.

Local artists and artisans

You can obtain the products you see in the design markets in your city and enjoy directly from the artist or craftsman who produces them and sell them in your own store.

Producer

Or you can contact the manufacturer directly and make a bulk purchase.

You Yourself

Of course, we have always seen you as a seller here, but you can also sell your own objects, toys and clothes in your own store.

8. You Must Decide on the Shipping Method

Shipping is of great importance to e-commerce and online merchandising business. If the shipping fee is high and the shipping time is taking quite a long time, customers may stop shopping a second time.

For this reason, you should get prices from cargo companies and choose the one that suits you the most among the shipping times.

9. You Should Use Social Media Effectively

When it comes to online boutique store business, you need to make effective use of social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest.

Shipping is of great importance to e-commerce and online merchandising business. If the shipping fee is high and the shipping time is taking quite a long time, customers may stop shopping a second time.

For this reason, you should get prices from cargo companies and choose the one that suits you the most among the shipping times.

9. You Should Use Social Media Effectively

When it comes to online boutique store business, you need to make effective use of social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest.

Pinterest is a platform that can inspire you as an online boutique store owner. Here you can share the image of your products, follow people who own boutique stores like you and gain a serious following.

In addition, you can make various attempts to raise yourself to a leading position in your sector by opening a blog section on your store’s website. For example, if you sell products for newborn babies, you can write blog posts here on topics such as baby health, things to consider when choosing baby clothes. In this way, your rank in search engines is higher, and people who do research on these topics discover your store. In this respect, it will also be useful to have knowledge about search engine optimization (SEO).

10. You Should Take Advantage of Social Media Phenomena

Finally, you can take advantage of bloggers, vloggers, Youtubers and Instagram influencers to market your online boutique store through social media.

For example, post to a popular Instagram page that you love and ask if it can advertise your products.

You can send them some of your products, give them a discount code to share with their followers, or offer to pay them to advertise.

If you collaborate with someone who wears things similar to the clothes you sell in your store and has 50,000 followers on Instagram, you can reach at least 30,000 people in a few days. Moreover, these people will consist of people who are within your target customer group.

Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Online Boutique

The advertising and marketing strategies that we will share with you in this section are valid for both online and physical boutique stores.

Although competition is fierce in the retail and e-commerce sectors, you may want to open your own boutique. What you need to know here is that trends change quickly. So, for example, while the “stress wheel” sold cheese like the bread 6 months ago, today this trend has been extinguished like a bubble. For this reason, you should take care that the products you sell are not exposed to periodic fluctuations.

With personalized customer service, you should respond directly to your shoppers and personally deal with their questions and suggestions. When people feel valued, they become more loyal to your brand and store.

You can also increase the sales of your boutique with solid marketing and advertising plan. You should be active on social media, and attract customers from your accounts on social media to your online or physical boutique. You can also make this traffic flow with quality and interesting posts, various contests, SEO-based quality content and discount days.

Pay attention to the internet and social media. As a result, you are doing an online business. People see your products online. More people coming to your store is also a very positive development for increasing sales. It would also make a lot of sense to identify your customer profile and advertise on platforms where these people spend more time. Instagram and Pinterest are ideal platforms for this. To increase your followers on Instagram, for example, if you have a clothing boutique, you can share different combinations and give people fresh ideas. In other words, adding value to people’s lives will play an important role in building an organic connection with your brand and boutique.

Environment environment environment… In every aspect of business life, the environment, that is, the network is very important. As the number of people you know in the boutique sector or other sectors increases, in other words, as your environment expands, your business potential also increases. For example, let’s say you met a person with a boutique with 100,000 followers at a conference or meeting. It’s easier for this person to advertise your boutique on Instagram. If you establish sincere and friendly relations with people, you can make the impact you cannot create with thousands of pounds of the advertising budget for free with a few Instagram posts. In addition, if you have a boutique where you sell children’s clothing, for example, try to take part in and even sponsor children’s events.

By following special days and current developments, you can sell new products on these days. For example, if you have a boutique that sells makeup, you can prepare special packages for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day. It is also possible to increase your sales by organizing discounts, promotions, one free campaign in one area suitable for such special days and special themes.

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