Starting an Online Boutique

As a fashionista wondering how to start an online boutique, you’re already on your way to a worthwhile venture. With the Internet retail sector booming, online clothing stores can be a profitable way to make money from your own home.

As compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, an Internet boutique store can be especially beneficial and profitable because you’ll avoid major costs such as rent, shipping and storage.

Planning Your Online Boutique

In starting an online store you will need to create a plan for your business operations. The plan should be an outline of your business objectives, the time expected for achieving milestones and goals, and financial requirements, such as costs and potential revenue.

Your business plan should be designed for the objectives you hope to achieve and use it for. A concise business plan suited to your individual organizational style is ideal if you want to use your business plan primarily as a tracking and measurement tool for yourself.

If your online store requires a lot of money to scale up quickly or if you lack the initial funds needed for your store, you may be interested in funding from venture capital, equity or bank loans. If you are creating a plan that is meant to be presented to outside investors, you likely will need to turn it into a detailed and wholesome business proposal.

In creating your business and preparing your business plan, you should study:

  • The process of writing a business plan
  • Various kinds of business plans
  • How to present your business ideas efficiently
  • How to get funding for your business
  • How to operate a boutique online store

You should also think about your branding strategy:

  • You may want to partner with an already-existing brand as a franchise, where you can gain revenue from the brand’s current customers and operation plans.
  • If you have a creative idea or vision you think will click with your target market, you may want to begin your own brand.
  • If you see a brand you think you could make more successful, you may want to purchase the brand.

Decide on the Platform for Your Boutique

It is also important to decide where to host your online store. For example, many online hosts, such as Shopify, have a lot of visibility already, while other hosts may allow you more control over your business’s presentation.

Each platform is unique and has various benefits and drawbacks. You will need to decide what kind of host is best for the specific kind of brand and business you want to present to the world.

If you want to quickly get your store off the ground and begin selling, then it is important to go with a well-known website host that allows you to begin your store fast. A major hosting platform will give you security and reliability in your business, at the cost of some customization you may find by designing your own website and systems from the ground up.

In finding a trustworthy host, you should do your research, study community reviews, and analyze the platform yourself.

It is important to use a host that will respond to customer help requests quickly and effectively and that gives you enough flexibility to expand or slow down your business.

The host should also provide you enough website tools to customize your website for both your immediate needs and potential future developments.

One of the key fundamentals of your store will be how payments are received. This will be how you get your revenue, and so you’ll need to make sure it’s properly created and functional.

Many established online store hosting services will already be using payment-processing systems, but you will usually be able to explore other payment systems as well.

Certain payment systems may not be the right fit for you, whether because of speed, fees or user interface. Because of how much you will be relying on the payment processor, it is important to find the right one for you.

Pick a Name for Your Store

Your store’s name is essential, as it will be how your store is represented. Be sure to decide on a name you are comfortable with.

Your business name should be cool, trendy and acceptable. In deciding on store name, you should also focus on creating one that will be memorable for your customers.

There are many name generators out there that can help you create a name, but you may also want to add your own creativity to the name-creation process. After all, you will be the one using the name for your own store.

If you need help with starting your online boutique, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.