Owning an online store means more time, less investment, and optimized business decisions. Starting an online boutique is an easy way to fuel your passion while reaping huge returns for minimal investment.
From 2018-2020, 61% of online shoppers were inclined towards fashion and footwear. This change in trend has uplifted the spirits of budding entrepreneurs. And if you’re wondering how to start a boutique from home, here’s a useful checklist for you.
What makes online boutiques special?
An online boutique is a way to show off your brand’s uniqueness, offer a personalized experience, and build contacts. Doing this over time will elevate your brand credibility and eventually increase ROI. But, before you decide to jump on to the entrepreneur wagon, here are a few things you should be aware of.
Difference between selling on a generic marketplace and owning a boutique
Thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs have only one question in mind – How to start a boutique from home? There are two ways you can do this.
- Sell on a Marketplace: A generic platform that connects thousands of retailers and customers. Eg: Amazon, Etsy, etc.
- Build your Ecommerce store: Operating an online store under your brand name using Shopify, Magento Woogo Stores, etc.
Both the options are great for first-time online boutique owners. In fact, selling on the marketplace is a sure-fire way to gain the attention of millions of consumers. But, that also means you would be competing against the major brands in your niche.
On the other hand, building your store paves way for unique customer experiences and interaction. Consequently, your store becomes a separate brand identity and you’ll have full control over your store. Additionally, you’ll have the freedom to retarget lost customers.
Choosing a user-friendly platform for your boutique
A lot of Ecommerce platforms provide pre-built templates, custom packages, and unlimited support. Nevertheless, choosing the right fit depends on your product needs and goals. Shopify or Bigcommerce is wonderful for beginners who like to take control of their business without help.
Whereas, Woogo Stores is a user-friendly ecommerce platform where you only create your store and the rest is taken care of. That means we handle the upgrades, backups, security fixes, and more for you.
How to set up your online boutique and find success?
1. Target a niche
A niche market sets you apart from your competitors and highlights the uniqueness of your products. For example, ‘’Jackets’’ is a mainstream market with a broad target segment. But, ‘’ Vintage jackets for women’’ is a niche market. Researching prior to defining your niche puts you in a good spot with demographics.
The best way to define your niche is to draw inspiration from your personal experience. Additionally, focus on solving your customers’ problems. Reddit, Quora, and Google trends are great tools to research current trends in the market.
2. Network and get in touch with suppliers
The next step is to find a supplier and source products for your online boutique. Finding suppliers closer to you will make it easier to communicate and solve issues. You can find them on wholesale directories, online marketplaces, or approach small-time suppliers individually. An online boutique is all about quality hence, focus on suppliers that match your business goals.
3. Buy a domain/website and add products
Once you’ve researched the market, it’s time to own a domain and build a website. There are various options to choose from – Shopify, Magento, Ecwid, Woogo Stores, etc. It’s as simple as choosing a plan, picking a template, and listing your products.
4. Why Woogo Stores is a flexible option for online businesses
Woogo Stores has helped many entrepreneurs like you scale their businesses with ease. There are 3 different plans to choose from for your online boutique, all with concierge support. Some of the noteworthy features are – Real-time shipping updates, Multilingual support, SEO optimization, and subscription support.
With hundreds of templates to choose from, Woogo Stores also provides multiple inventory support and other add ons that enrich the user experience of your online boutique.
5. Craft catchy descriptions
Having attractive products is great but unclear and boring product information is the main reason for store dropouts. Start by writing resonating product descriptions that solve your customers’ problems.
6. Set up shipping and payment options
Setting up shipping is a crucial step before you go live. Make sure the destination countries you serve are eligible for your preferred shipping and payment methods. However, if you’re partnering with Woogo Stores, we handle everything for you. Especially, if you’re on the enterprise plan, you get a dedicated engineer and turnkey solutions for your online boutique.
7. Launch your online boutique store
This is the time you proudly change your designation on your social media profiles. At this point, your online boutique is ready for launch. But, before that make sure to check your product pages, payment options, email settings, and sales channels.
8. Choose a Marketing channel
A sales or a marketing channel is a medium that connects your online boutique to your customers. Irrespective of the third-party service you use, connect your social media accounts to your store. Additionally, you can opt for email marketing and influencer marketing for better reach.
9. Keep updating your store
Your responsibility as a business owner does not stop with launching your store. After you’ve started making sales, focus on updating your site with testimonials, re-engagement for cart dropouts, and displaying the best sellers on your main page.
How much time and money should you invest in it?
Starting an online store could cost anywhere between $3500 – $10,000 including inventory, shipping, and marketing. Nevertheless, if these numbers scare you, choose the basic plan in your hosting platform and grow from there.
If you start an online boutique for passive income, you should expect to dedicate 3-4 hours a week. We recommend spending as much time as possible in the first few months. Once it’s up and running, you can decide the number of hours you want to work on it.
What drives your business?
Finding your passion
Any business starts with a great idea and a passionate mindset. The more it interests you, the better you perform. Choose a niche you love and start from there. It could be as simple as cotton scarves or wooden earrings, what matters is if it feeds your passion or not. Here are a few success stories to inspire you.
Combining business and personal goals
You might have aspired to become a designer or store owner. Now is the right time to make your dreams a reality. For a successful online boutique, enthusiasm and motivation are the key factors. Combining your personal and business goals will fetch better results in the long run.
The bottom line
There are 12-24 million ecommerce sites worldwide and that means there are enough customers to fulfill your business needs. Online shopping is growing and this might be the perfect time to launch your online boutique without fear. The above checklist is all you need to know to answer your question: How to start an online boutique from home with minimal investment.