6 Essential Steps to Launching a Successful Online Boutique

Posted by Drew Estelle on Oct 25, 2018 4:44:15 PM
Drew Estelle

Starting a boutique is a fun and exciting time for business owners. However, it’s also a time filled with lots of decisions and planning. Building anything from the bottom up takes time and research to begin, so we created a blueprint from the most sought out lessons for newbies. So without further ado, here are six essential steps for launching a successful online boutique!

Woman setting up her ecommerce website on her laptop

1. Set up your online storefront

Where will your shop’s dedicated space be? The truth is that you should have a presence on many different channels to diversify your marketing and your revenue. Will you have a website? Is your main way of selling through social media? You should have both, but know the strengths and weaknesses so you can maximize profit.

See why successful retailers have multiple online storefronts.

Branding displayed on a website through an open laptop

2. Establish your brand

Branding is a look, a feel, and consistency of a business. Effective branding is essential to all businesses but is especially important to boutiques. Starting, you will not have the same marketing budget as many of your competitors. That’s where branding comes in. Branding is going to make you stand out from the competition and attract customers, so make it uniquely you! It takes 5-7 impressions for a consumer to remember your brand, so get consistent with putting it out there. Everything from your logo, to your cover photo, to your webstore should match the look and feel of your brand.

Consistency can also be reflected in scheduling. If you want to keep your audience engaged, you must interact with them often. Schedule frequent content to keep them interested in you. If you plan on doing live sales, they should always be on the same weekday at the same time so your audience knows exactly when to join in the fun!

Smiling woman using her mobile device to connect with her audience on social media

3. Establish relationships

Establishing relationships is a vital step in any business venture. This may feel like a strange task if you’re an online business. Luckily, it has been made easy with the use of social media. Building a presence and engaging with people through social media can earn you a large and loyal customer fanbase. Social networks have a high concentration of people on them daily. Here you can find your target audience, engage with them, acquire them as customers, ask their opinions on product, serve them, and delight them.

Empty hangers waiting for new apparel inventory

4. Know where to source your inventory

There are hundreds of thousands of wholesalers out there and plenty of websites that they operate from. It’s just a matter of finding a quality and trustworthy vendor. You will have to do your research before picking and choosing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these businesses to ask them questions. Many display their contact info prominently throughout their page.

You may even meet wholesalers in person by attending apparel shows. Apparel shows are held all over the country and at various times of the year. These events are trade shows that are filled with prominent vendors from the wholesale fashion industry. At these shows, you can examine their sample product from their booth to determine if its right for you.

Learn more about your ordering options with The Beginner's Guide to Wholesale  Ratio Packs



Boxes of inventory sitting in a warehouse

5. Find a method for inventory management

Familiarize yourself with ways to organize and track your inventory. If you have no understanding of your inventory availability, how will you know if you’re in danger of over or underselling? You won’t. Inventory management is vital to the success of your business. There are two ways to handle this process.

Although manual inventory management is not ideal, it might be necessary until you implement a software solution. Spreadsheet programs can help you keep organized until you’re ready to move to the next best option. Keep in mind that manual methods will take real discipline and time and is prone to human error. We recommend skipping this step if you have the resources to invest in a software solution.

Software is the ideal solution because it will help you automate the process of orders coming in and going out. You’ll always have an updated database of inventory. This must-have tool will give you a clear and accurate picture of your demand and supply.

Person tediously recording manual invoices

6. Find a method for invoicing your customers

Like inventory management, you have the option of doing this process either manually or automating it.

Spreadsheet programs can also help you to manually keep up with payment, non-payment, and waitlists. However, it suffers the same pitfalls of manual inventory management. Thus, it is not a long-term or scalable solution.

The quickest, easiest way to send timely invoices, reduce cart abandonment, and improve customer service is to use auto-invoicing software. Auto-invoicing software will send an instantaneous invoice to customers that claim items.

In addition to creating timely invoices, they will also be reliably accurate. Overcharging customers will lead to a tarnished brand reputation. Undercharging them can leave your bottom line lacking. Auto-invoicing will help paint a picture of your cash flow so you can put it to use by buying more inventory.

The Takeaway

You may feel overwhelmed with starting a new business from scratch, especially at the beginning. This is normal! Good things take time to build. However, if you set up and online storefront, establish your brand, build relationships, source your inventory, make a plan to manage that inventory, and orchestrate a way to invoice your customers, you will be on the exact path it takes to get your business running successfully.

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Topics: Inventory Management, Inventory Purchasing, Invoicing, Business Strategy, Sales, Technology, Marketing