Contrary to popular misconception by some, opening an online boutique is easy and requires very low attention as compared to other brick and mortar locations. You have the capability, facility and options to reach millions of people with just a single click through an online store. The initial planning about your online store will be detrimental towards the final outcome so it is quite important to put an equal amount of mental work while opening an online boutique.
How To Make Money By Opening an Online Boutique
Developing your products
Choose what you want to sell. You might already have a revolutionary idea bubbling in your head or you might want to look for other options. In any case, you should know that some products are sold well on the Internet and are in part also responsible for the growing eCommerce market. Other products might not fare well with others and can face problems while selling.
Decide will you make the product yourself or will someone else be making it for you. Decide how your product will be delivered to the customers. Work out shipping and storing plans with warehouses or look for drop-shipping methods if you are a beginner and want to invest lesser amount.
Make sure that you are able to stand for the product you are selling.
Find something which you can sell better than others. It is important to check for competition. You might be surprised to find how many people are offering the same product as you are. This surprise might come as a shock if your product is too mainstream. Check the websites where you want to advertise your product and then check for other sources and competitions on them.
Try to offer something unique. Art pieces and other items might be sold solely based on their uniqueness while others might not be so lucky. Try to come up with some kind of balance between trends and uniqueness in your products.
Offer services for expertise. If you have a history related with the product you are selling then you will find it easier to sell them. Models open a clothing line because they are experienced in it. Someone who knows what they are selling and is ready to give advice is always a person people would want to buy from. Your experience can also be used as a marketing strategy in many cases.
User friendliness. Have a store which is user friendly. Apple is one of the costliest phones around with not so impressive stats. This is not only due to the sturdiness and quality of their products but also because of the fact that Apple devices are much easier to use as compared to other devices. Their user friendliness is what attracts people to them.
Test your products on a small scale.
Testing your products on a small scale makes you more confident or helps you to fine tune any errors in your product if they are there. Sometimes you might also choose to scrap the entire project and restart.
Try to sell your products initially on websites such as eBay, Craigslist, Etsy etc.
Focus on the people who are buying your product. Try to figure out the reasons behind the crowd if it is not anticipated.
Try offering discounts or gifts for free survey of your products. This will not only help you to focus on what customers want but will also help you to figure out the competition and other places where customers visit.
Experiment with prices. Customers might be willing to pay higher prices depending on your product and its requirement.
View customer satisfaction reports. This will give you an idea about the packaging, shipping method, product etc.
Develop a business plan.
A business plan is quite helpful — it can be essential, in fact — in determining the future steps you will have to take.
Production-related costs. If you are making the product yourself or through a manufacturer, the cost for creating your product is defined as production cost of that item.
Shipping costs, taxes, employee wages and other management fees are applicable once your product has been developed and is ready for being delivered.
The fees for getting your own domain name and its management is also a part of opening an online boutique.
Include marketing strategies so that you know how your business is going to progress or so that you can set the goals in a similar manner.
Registration for your business. Once you have decided to launch your business, the final step is registering. You can easily register through the laws of your state by giving a name for your business and filling up other related paperwork.
Opening an Online Boutique
Choose your domain name.
You can imagine what importance a few keystrokes may matter since there are hundreds of people depending for their earning on them.
Try to be more open since you might not get the domain name you came for but might get some better ideas.
Try different substitutes which might be memorable or funny.
Short domain names are generally better. Try adding a hyphen or a small word to the domain name in case the one you desire is already taken. CPC.com was sold for $200,000 when the company decided to go online. You should know that a similar domain name would come with similar costs.
Have a domain or two for backup if possible.
Get a web hosting service.
A web hosting service is responsible for running your online store. If the web hosting service is not good then your sales will also be affected adversely.
Get a web hosting service with ample amount of space for your business to expand.
Try to have a service which allows you to customize the website through programming.
Check out for different options available to you while running your website. Web hosts which offer more options to choose from are generally charging a fee for their services to customers.
Designing the website.
You can choose to design the entire website yourself or hire a web designer to do it for you. A number of websites also offer you tools to design your website for free.
Focus on showcasing your products in a better way. Align them in a desirable or most effective manner as per your choice.
Don’t be too showy or flashy. Customers like simple while shopping online. Anything which is too glitzy in your store might distract the customers and may also give a bad impression of your company.
Take the email addresses of your customers. This will help you in contacting them for special offers or for any advertisements.
Make the purchases easy. You do not want the customer to haggle with your products. Keep a simple method for checking out so that no customer takes more than two minutes to check out.
Colors and fonts: An online store should only have a certain range of colors and fonts for being displayed. A too colorful or varying website looks immature and unprofessional and is hence undesirable.
Choose an e-commerce software.
Customers will be able to view products and purchase them securely through this software. The software is responsible for storing the customer information along with the financial data.
This software can also be used to send emails and hence for marketing purposes. Choose a software carefully because it will have an effect on your customers’ experience along with your success.
Set an account to receive payments. If you want to pay your customers with their credit cards then you will have to set up an account with a bank or a financial institutions.
A number of other options such as PayPal, Payoneer, Skrill etc. are available these days to provide a merchant account to receive your sales.
Use an all-inclusive service for e-commerce. In case you are not that tech savvy or do not want to focus time and attention to create a website then an all-inclusive e-commerce service is the best option for you.
Search for services: There are many services which offer you with a platform to sell your items in an online store. You can set up the store in a few hours and you won’t even need any programmers to help you either.
Keep the costs down. Research a number of locations and then settle for the one which offers the maximum facilities for your online store while charging the least fees.
Know what percentage of your profit will be kept by the services on each sale you make.
Learn the limitations. If a platform becomes inadequate to support your needs then start thinking of a new online store of your own.
You may want to consider other options for specific products:
eBay: For people who have already sold products on this website, it is quite easier to sell their products further due to their fan-base and product demands.
Etsy: As mentioned previously, Etsy is a good option for you to sell products online if you are the person making those products. There will be $0.20 fee for listing an item and the 3.5% of the sale price is also retained by Etsy once the item has been sold.
Tips: This place allows you to post any number of items you want to for free. You just have to upload a few photos, decide a price for your items and sell. It is free to post things. Tips charges a 5 percent fee for anything which is less than $35 in value and 3 percent if it is more than $35. A defining option for this marketplace is that you are allowed to embed videos, and other links through this website for free.
Instagram: There’s no denying that Instagram is a rapidly growing social network. The audience present on this social network can easily be targeted for selling fashion items, handmade products etc.
Upload the photos of things you want to sell on Instagram and sync your account with inSelly.com. Soon you will have a personal online shop through Instagram pictures. Payments are done through PayPal and there is no fee associated with the sales or for membership.
Attract new customers and keep old ones. In order to be successful and to grow your online store, you should always strive towards having more customers and keeping previous customers intact.
Promote yourself on social media. Encourage more people to participate in your campaigns. The likes and shares are a way of promoting your products to more people and spreading the word of your online store.
Open a new account for marketing your online store on facebook, twitter etc.
Offer rewards to promote your store. The rewards can be a discount coupon or a gift voucher for participating in the campaign.
Keep updating the account with new deals and offers along with launching of any products if desired.
Blog: Start a blog relating to the products you are selling. Offering advice or expert knowledge is often paired with greater sales. Whereas FAQs on websites are there to answer the questions, a blog will otherwise give your expert advice to the people about the products.
Information is good. More relevant information to a product will only ensure its place in the minds of people and will drive them to buy your products.
Participate in online conversations and forums. This way you will know what other people already known and what you can tell them to make your product look genuine and unique.
Write about other people’s products on your blog. This in turn will enable you to request them to feature a product of yours on their blog. This is a common practice but make sure you do not feature too many products so that your own products are lost.
Send samples to bloggers and other websites for a product review.
Have a guest post on a prominent blog in your genre. If you are selling car rims then try to get your article on a prominent blog dealing with car accessories.
Email people. Email regularly to your potential customers as well as your regular customers about any offers on your products.