Do you dream of opening your own online boutique?
Finding the perfect products, building a killer website and coming up with a catchy business name are only small parts of the process of starting an online boutique. So how do you go from dreaming about starting an online boutique to actually opening an online boutique?
Not sure? Don't worry...I've been there, done that and came up with a few simple steps to get you started on the right path to success.
Deciding on what type of boutique you want to open is the first step in starting an online boutique. You need to decide what you are going to sell and who you are going to sell to. My advice is to pick something that you are passionate about. If you love throwing children's birthday parties, you probably know all the right places to get party supplies. Why not partner with those suppliers and open an online party boutique? Love to shop for all the latest trends in women's apparel? That makes you the perfect buyer for your own online women's boutique. Pick your favorite brands you want to carry and find new suppliers to stock your online boutique with the latest trends and goodies.
Now that you know what kind of online boutique you are going to open, you need to do your research. Find other online boutiques that are similar to what you are wanting to open. What product lines do they carry? What social media platforms are they using? What do they not offer that you want to offer to your customers? These are all questions you will want to ask yourself when doing research before opening an online boutique.
Next, you need to come up with a catchy business name for your online boutique. Pick something that stands out, reflects what your brand stands for and is not easily confused with other similar online boutiques. Don't pick something that is too similar or being used by another online boutique. The boutique name should mean something to you, so make sure you spend some time deciding on the perfect name for your online boutique.
Now that you have decided what type of online boutique you want to open, you have completed your research and named your online boutique, you need to start stocking your online boutique to start selling online. You have three options, you can offer items in your online boutique through drop shipping, you can purchase from wholesalers, or you can source products abroad. Each of these options is very different so you will need to decide what is the best option for you when you are starting an online boutique.
Woohoo! You picked a type of online boutique to start, you completed research, you named your online boutique, you stocked your online boutique and now it's time to launch the website for your new online boutique. Shopify is an all in one e-commerce solution that is perfect for you to start your online boutique. Simply sign up for the free 14-day trial and start building. You can easily design the look and layout of your online boutique and add products to your new online store. Once you add your products and set up your store you are ready to launch your new website and start selling in your new online boutique.
Social media is king these days, so go where your audience is to find the best customers for your online boutique. Facebook has a wealth of data that can be used to target the exact people that are likely to purchase from your online boutique. This allows you to spend your advertising dollars wisely and get a higher return on your investment. Through a combination of growing your audience on Facebook, building brand loyalty through a Facebook group and advertising to potential shoppers, you have all the tools to get your online boutique sales pouring in.
Instagram is a perfect place to grow sales for your new online boutique. When starting an online boutique, it is important to set up a business profile on Instagram. That way you can track analytics, advertise and grow your sales for your online boutique. Use Instagram stories to connect with your audience, allow them to be the buyer and love it or leave it. Target shoppers of other online boutique's Instagram pages through advertising. Instagram can be a very powerful tool to get your new online boutique up an running.
Use Twitter to connect with your customers, handle customer service issues and shout out to influencers that may be a perfect fit for your boutique. Monitor Twitter for mentions of your boutique. Interact with customers and get clever with your branding.
One of the keys to launching a successful online boutique is staying in touch with your customers. E-mail marketing can be used to recover abandon carts, prompt new sales, update customers on new products, provide restock alerts and more. A great way to do this is to provide a discount to customers that sign up for your email list through a popup box on your website.
Now that you have launched your online boutique, you must assure that you continue to grow. Building a loyal fan base is key to your growth as an online boutique. Building brand loyalty can be done through consistent interaction with your fans and customers on social media. Building your fan base with contests and giveaways is always a fan favorite. Doing this will ensure the continued growth of your online boutique.
Starting an online boutique can be an exciting but daunting task. But following these 10 simple steps, you help save you time and headaches along the way. This blueprint is a simple strategy that you can use to start and launch your own online boutique.
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If you have ever thought about starting an online boutique, you've probably asked yourself...Should I sell on Facebook or start a website?
And you are not alone...many boutique owners ask themselves this exact question every day!
Let's say you decide to start an online boutique right on Facebook. You create a Facebook page, pick a cute name and start posting items for sale. You add your friends and family to the page and they invite their friends and before you know it, you are almost to 100 fans (cue the confetti)
A dream without a plan is just a wish, or so they say! A business plan can help you validate your business idea, clarify strategies and goals, and plan for future growth. If you have a dream to start an online business you better get to planning. Maybe you started your online boutique but didn't even write a proper business plan?
Either way, you need a plan and here are my top free resources for business templates and 500+ Free Sample Business Plans from BPlan.