More than two billion people worldwide regularly shop online.
With so many prospective customers actively looking for products, it’s not surprising that more and more businesses that were traditionally based in physical stores are transitioning to becoming online sellers.
Boutique stores are no exception, with trendy clothing and accessory shops that operate exclusively online becoming much more common. However, while now’s a great time to start your online boutique, the rising online eCommerce market means that you’ll have to face tough competition as well.
The only way to maximize your chances of success is to have a structured plan and understand the best practices of running an online business.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the key steps that go into launching a successful online boutique shop below.
Start With the Plan
Even though you are probably very passionate about the idea of starting an online boutique store, passion alone won’t be enough to ensure your venture is successful. To improve your chances, you must treat it as a business and develop an all-encompassing plan about the steps you’ll need to take and the research you will need to do.
First, you need to have a solid understanding of who you will be selling to. A boutique store is a very specialized and narrow focus, so you will need to be extra thorough about performing research and getting to know precisely what types of customers you want to reach.
The good news is that you can rely on the best practices of eCommerce audience research when getting started. But you will also need to define the main things that should make your store stand out and appeal to the buyers you want to attract.
An excellent way to figure out possible branding avenues and define the USP is to look at the current landscape in your market. By analyzing similar boutique stores, you will start getting a sense of the types of messages that work, the branding elements that generate results, and the best approaches for attracting traffic to your store.
Build Your Website
Your website will serve as the hub of your online business, so you will need to have it ready before you can move forward with marketing or building brand awareness.
But the good news is that today, there are many eCommerce platforms that make it very easy to build a website, even if you have no prior experience. Some of the critical aspects you should consider when choosing where to build your store are the upfront or monthly cost, transaction charges, additional features that cost extra, ease of use, marketing features, SEO friendliness, and other aspects that you deem relevant.
Finally, you should make sure that it will allow you to create a user experience that matches your audience’s expectations and helps them quickly find what they’re looking for. At the same time, you should use the audience research you performed before to design a brand image that helps your store look professional and be more in line with the products you’ll be selling.
Make Your Store Accessible
Even though having a website is crucial, you should also consider that more than half of online traffic is now mobile. And that means that if you want to cater to your audience’s browsing habits, you must invest in a website design that’s responsive and easy to use on a mobile device.
But at the same time, it makes sense to consider developing an app that can give you more ways to engage your mobile audience and keep your boutique store on their minds.
Today, you can make an app even if you don’t have any coding experience and haven’t done anything even remotely similar before. The app can be developed to emphasize your branding, with custom functionality, and sales opportunities that you simply can’t match using any other method.
The only way to engage your audience effectively is to offer an omnichannel experience and keep your brand on their minds through multiple platforms. And since an app is downloaded on the user’s smartphone, it’s the perfect tool for running promotions, informing of news, and offering unique perks that build brand loyalty and drive sales.
Make Your Products Truly Unique
One of the main reasons for the popularity of boutique stores is the unique selection of products that they offer. So, while all of the other aspects discussed above are important, you still need to follow through and actually deliver on an exclusive range of products that matches what your audience is looking for.
When developing your store, think carefully about what types of products you want to sell, the common theme behind them, and how you can make the products look as appealing as possible on your site.
At the same time, you need to start developing a process for continually sourcing high-quality and exclusive products that you can add to your inventory so that you can keep your current customers coming back for more.
Opening a boutique store can be an enjoyable and lucrative opportunity. But to make it work in your favor, it’s crucial to have a solid plan, build a convenient website and app, and curate a list of products that make your store stand out from others.