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    Last Updated | June 1, 2021

    According to the stats from a business research company, the ecommerce fashion market experience an 8.59% decrease in the CAGR due to the pandemic impacts. However, the market is expected to bounce back in the next few years to become a USD 670 billion industry by 2023.

    How do I Start a Successful Boutique? – What does that mean?

    Well, that means if you are looking to start an online clothing boutique, don’t think anymore, just do it!

    And even if you already have prior experience of selling clothing items on social media platforms like Facebook, or Instagram, you need to expand the business proposition and start looking to develop your unique boutique; either by developing a standalone website, or by creating a website of popular ecommerce web development platforms like Shopify, or Etsy, etc.

    Don’t know anything about website design and development?

    Well, fret not because in today’s eCommerce industry you don’t need to be tech-savvy to develop and manage online stores. That’s because third-party ecommerce web development platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, and others can help you get started quickly without any technical knowledge. Even if that also feels intimidating then you can hire someone to build Shopify store for you.

    Shopify in particular is one of the most popular choices for businesses to easily create high-performing ecommerce websites, even with zero technical knowledge.

    In this blog, we are going to help you understand everything you need to know to open an online boutique on Shopify including the process of boutique development, and costs.

    So, let’s just get started right away!

    How much does it cost to start an online boutique?

    The cost of starting an online boutique will differ greatly depending upon various factors. Since each business is different, it’s important to get hold of all the different factors that contribute to the overall costs of the online boutique. Some of the factors that do contribute to the costs of an online boutique include; the size of the store; simply the larger the size of the business the higher the cost of development. Also, the platform of choice influences the final cost of the online boutique; whether you are willing to go with a standalone website or choose Shopify or other ecommerce web development platform for your store. Also, the business model influence the cost of the online boutique store; dropshipping boutiques can be started with minimal investment (even free), whereas, some other business model may involve higher costs of development. Similarly, the design, UI/UX, and functionality of the store also influence the final pricing of an online boutique; the greater the functionalities the higher the prices.

    Here’s a rough cost estimate of starting an online boutique;

    • Small ecommerce stores with up to 1000 articles – the final cost may reach up to USD 5000 upfront for the design, development, and bunch of other stuff, while approximately USD 500 per month for store maintenance
    • Medium ecommerce stores with up to 10,000 articles including custom designs – the final cost may reach up to USD 20,000 upfront (including design, development, sourcing, and other stuff), while approximately 10% of the upfront cost may be required for monthly maintenance
    • Large ecommerce boutique with high-level customization and advanced integrations – the final costs may reach up to USD 50,000+, whole 10% of the upfront cost may be required for monthly store maintenance

    What to know before starting an online boutique on Shopify?

    While Shopify may vastly streamline the process of starting an online store, to be brutally honest, there is no easy way for starting an online boutique. You need to come up with meticulous planning and follow the protocols of starting an online boutique checklist to be able to successfully launch and manage an online boutique. Here’s what you need to know before starting an online boutique on Shopify.

    –         Online boutique takes sweat equity

    As mentioned above, there is no shortcut to success for starting an online boutique. Even after you have put up all the hard work and sweat to launch the store, you need to continue putting in energy and resources to make your first sale. The key to starting a successful online boutique is consistency. You need to be consistent in your approach and follow the right protocols to come out on top of the competition.

    –         You will face many challenges

    Just like any other business, starting an online boutique comes with various challenges. Also, if this is your first business expect to face even more challenges before you can taste success. Again, the key is to remain consistent and motivated during the course of initiate months and you shall make progress.

    –         You need to consider legal aspects

    Most people tend to completely overlook the legal aspects of starting an online business. This is a fatal mistake because even if you manage to get away without any legal complication during the initial phase of the business, you will get caught up in multiple legal complications once you start expanding and scaling your growing business. Thereby, it’s important to check out the requisite business licenses, and regulations for operations. Check out the city, country, or state permits required for taxation purposes. Also, you need to consider the legalities involved in inventory purchase and trademarking your business.

    How to start an online boutique

    As mentioned earlier, you need to put in your blood and sweat to be able to come up with a successful online boutique. Here’s the stepwise breakdown of all the steps involved in getting started with a professional development online boutique;

    –         Choose the right niche

    The first and foremost step towards the development of a successful online boutique is to identify the right niche for your business. remember, the whole business operations will revolve around the business niche including the products you choose, your business plan, target audience, and others.

    How to choose a niche for a clothing boutique?

    Well, you shall start by identifying your passion for clothing. See, which niche drives you crazy; is it the “pop culture” or is it the “ethnic wear” or any others. Also, you should identify the market trends by analyzing the popular selling clothes in your target market, this will help you to choose a niche that has a high selling potential in your target market.

    With an exclusive niche, you will be better equipped to source the right clothing articles for your store. It will also help you to design the right marketing strategy for the target audience, thus increasing your chances to increase leads and sales for your online store.

    –         Identify market gaps

    Well, this is simple logic. With hundreds and thousands of competitors offering literally the same products as your store, you need something to differentiate your business. The most successful businesses are those that are able to identify current market gaps and come up with unique solutions to fill in those gaps. For instance, you can identify some clothing articles which are in high demand but not being offered by many other boutiques. Also, there may be a high demand for affordable trendy clothes, which isn’t available easily in the market and thereby you may leverage by filling in the gap for the demand for affordable clothing, etc.

    –         Write a business plan

    A business plan is important documentation that maps out the entire journey of the business. The business plan also acts as a validation document for your business idea, helping you to utilize the available resources efficiently to achieve the business bottom line.

    Thereby, before you proceed to the development or inventory stocking stage for your online boutique, you need to come up with a strong and valid business plan that details the strategy, lists the potential obstacles, and identifies the resources required to reach a certain goal.

    –         Choose the business model

    Well, in the online industry, you for multiple choices for the business model to start an online boutique. Each business model comes with its strength and weaknesses, thereby should be chosen carefully keeping in view the available resources and long-term business goals. Some of the business models you can opt for online boutique include;

      • Dropshipping – this is the easiest and the cheapest model where a third-party (often the manufacturer or wholesaler) fulfills the order and you never hold any inventory
      • Manufacturing – This is an extensive business model that required a large number of resources including capital. Here, you would have to hire an outsourcing manufacturer of the clothing that can manufacture and ship the products to your warehouse or home
      • Reselling – This model involves souring clothing from wholesalers and selling them on your online store
      • Print-on-demand – this is much similar to dropshipping, except for the fact that you get the products designed by the third-party manufacturers as per the customers’ orders.

    –         Choose a brand name and logo

    Now that you are done with all the prerequisite deliberations for the online boutique, the next step is to come up with a unique brand name and logo. These may seem simple, however, when you want to compete amongst thousands of competitors, you need a unique name and logo that can help distinguish your brand from literally all others. So, make sure you put in due efforts to come up with a professionally designed logo and an easily memorable brand name that also reflects your business values.

    –         Price your products

    The next important step is to choose a price point for the items. It’s a significant decision that will influence almost all aspects of your business including the profit margins, sales, tax, cash flow, and others. Thereby, make sure you adopt the right pricing strategy that aligns with your target market.

    –         Create your online store

    Only now that you are done with all the prerequisites, you shall proceed with the development of your online boutique. Since you will be choosing Shopify as the preferred platform for online boutiques, you won’t have to linger on the extensive website development process. You can simply register with the Shopify platform, choose your desired plan, choose your desired theme, perform some customization, add products, and you are ready to launch (with few considerations, though).

    Alternatively, you can also choose professional Shopify development agencies to help you with easy and professional store development. For instance, Folio3 Shopify integration services can help you come up with a highly functional website that can help you increase sales and revenue.

    – Figure out shipping

    Shipping is yet another key aspect of any successful online business and thereby you need to take extra caution to finalize the shipping aspect of your online boutique. Fortunately, Shopify does offer Shopify store owners its Shipping solution which is a faster, better, and reliable way to fulfill orders. Some benefits of Shopify shipping include;

    • Discounted rates
    • Faster order fulfillment
    • Easy management

    –         Market your online boutique

    Congratulation, you have successfully launched your online boutique, but now what?

    I mean you can’t just sit and wait for some miracle to drive people to your store, right?

    Well, that means that it’s time to invest in marketing and reputation building for your store. Here’re some marketing techniques you need to implement in order to increase your store’s visibility, reach, and drive more traffic to your online boutique.

    • Instagram marketing
    • Facebook Marketing
    • Search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Influencer marketing
    • PR
    • Email marketing
    • Online reputation management

    Where do online boutique owners get their clothes?

    Well, online boutiques ten to get their clothes from multiple wholesales across the country. Some of the popular wholesalers to source clothes for your online boutique includes;

    • Magic (Las Vegas, NV)
    • Americasmart (Atlanta, GA)
    • StyleMax (Chicago, IL)
    • Fashion Industry Gallery (Dallas, TX)
    • Children’s Club (New York, NY)
    • A. Fashion Market (Los Angeles, CA)
    • New York Shoe Show (New York, NY)
    • Coterie (New York, NY)

    How do you legally start an online boutique?

    Here’s a stepwise procedure to legally start an online boutique;

    • Choose the preferred ecommerce web development platform
    • Name your online boutique
    • Get a domain name
    • Choose the business structure
    • Get sales permit and sales tax ID
    • Determine the target market
    • Find the right cloth sourcing platform to stock your inventory
    • Sell your clothes

    What makes a clothing boutique successful on Shopify?

    The key to making a clothing boutique successful on Shopify is to understand the right position of your business in the marketplace. You should be able to choose the ideal niche (which you are passionate about and which has large demand in the market), fill in the right stock, and market your online boutique on all possible platforms. Some key factors that contribute vastly to the success of an online clothing boutique include;

    • Keeping a positive cash flow
    • Understand the standing in the marketplace
    • Offer exceptional customer service
    • Maintaining the right inventory, aligned with your niche and business model
    • Choosing the right pricing strategy to gain a competitive advantage
    • Offering a multiple and native currency gateway on the store also proves to be successful for your Shopify store. For example not only Shopify payment gateway UAE provides you multiple payment gateways but also you get to pay in Durham if you want.
    • Offering faster and consistent order fulfillment

    How do I start a boutique at home on Shopify?

    You can easily start a boutique at home on Shopify by creating an account on the platform. The ideal business model for the home-based boutique is the dropshipping model, where you can simply identify clothing manufacturers and wholesalers to fulfill the orders for you. Since there is no need for inventory stocking in dropshipping, this can easily be done at home.

    How to start an online clothing store with no money on Shopify?

    Well, you can start an online clothing store with no money on Shopify by choosing the Dropshipping business model. However, while the paper dropshipping business model doesn’t require any upfront investment, you still need a minimal investment to choose the Shopify package (the smallest package starts at USD 29/month).

    Nonetheless, other than that dropshipping is a completely free business model to start a clothing boutique online. The only other investment you need is your time. Since, you would need to put in a lot of time and effort to choose the right niche, identify the most promising manufacturers, and choose high-demand products to sell on your boutique.

    Dropshipping isn’t just the cheapest way to start an online clothing store with no money on Shopify, it is also the easiest way to start an online clothing boutique. The model simply doesn’t need you to stock inventory or be concerned about shipping and fulfillment. All the orders are fulfilled by manufacturers, and you got to keep your profits.

    How profitable is an online boutique on Shopify in the US?

    The online boutique is a highly profitable business model in the US. The industry is currently valued at USD 90billion revenue per year and according to statistics, the industry will generate around USD 140billion in revenues in the next few years.

    FAQ

    How do I start a small online boutique?

    If you are looking to start a small online boutique, you can start by registering for Shopify Basic plan that costs USD 29 per month. Make sure you are able to identify the desired business model and niche for your store (choose one that really excites you and has decent market demand). Next, you can simply create a website using the drag and drop feature of the platforms (if you have a little budget, you can opt for a professional Shopify Development Company). Once you are done with store development, choose products from reliable and affordable wholesalers, set the pricing and shipping, launch a marketing campaign, and are ready to start selling clothes through your online boutique.

    How much can online boutique owners make on Shopify in the UK?

    Online boutiques are highly popular in the UK. According to stats, Shopify developers in the UK create hundreds of new online boutiques each year, which shows the high demand for the business. Also, according to Shopify web designers in the UK, the industry is worth billions of pounds and despite few setbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is all set to bounce back strongly by 2023. Some forecasts from Shopify experts in the UK estimates that online boutique owners can make as much as £75,000 annually in the UK.

    How to get inventory for Shopify online boutique in the USA?

    Some popular platforms for online boutiques to buy wholesale clothes include;

    • Tasha Apparel
    • Sugarlips Wholesale
    • Magnolia Wholesale
    • Bloom Wholesale
    • LA Showroom
    • En Creme

    How to start an online clothing store on Shopify in Canada?

    The easiest and most practical approach to start an online clothing store on Shopify in Canada is to hire Shopify experts in Canada. That’s because there’s tough market competition for online boutiques in the country and with the professional Shopify ecommerce website builder in Canada, you can get an exquisitely designed and highly functional boutique to gain a competitive edge and increase your leads, and sales.

    Is it worth starting an online boutique on Shopify in Australia?

    Yes, Starting an online boutique on Shopify in Australia is highly profitable, since it’s a rapidly growing industry. Also, the customization levels and integration options offered by the Shopify platform enable businesses to create highly functional and customer-centric boutiques that improve lead generation and conversion rates for businesses. If you are looking to even further expand your chances of getting successful with a Shopify online boutique, you can choose Folio3 Shopify mobile app development company in Australia, to design an aesthetically pleasing and high-performance mobile app for even more profit and sales.

    How do you attract customers to your online Shopify startup boutique?

    The best way to attract customers to your online Shopify startup boutique is by investing in social media marketing.

    Nowadays, online shoppers are increasingly looking to interact with an online boutique on social media platforms, which makes them ideal for startups to market their business for higher brand recognition and earning customers loyalty. Also, since marketing on social media platforms doesn’t require much investment, it’s the easiest and most affordable approach to start gaining traffic to the store.


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    About

    Folio3, a Software Powerhouse established in 2005, is one of the leading eCommerce solution providers for SMBs and Fortune 500. The Company has expertise in diverse industries such as Animal Care, Retail, Automotive, Food and Agriculture, and Health care. From ecommerce store design and development to full-scale ERP deployment and integration, Folio3 has done it all.