Step-By-Step Guide: How to Start a Successful Online Boutique
When fashion is not only your passion but also your business, creating an eCommerce website and setting up shop online is a major goal you should be focusing on. Many professionals in the fields of fashion, design and retail see the great potential residing in eCommerce.
The benefits are clear: An online store has a much wider reach than brick-and-mortar locations with only a fraction of the costs involved. And on top of that, online stores are powerful platforms for branding and marketing, which is so crucial when you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the field. Needless to say, it takes more than a domain name and a shopping cart to a beautiful and successful online boutique.
We compiled the following step-by-step guide to help you fulfill your potential as a fashion guru and business owner. With these tips and the strength of Wix’s eCommerce platform, you’re about to carve your own niche in a notoriously competitive industry.
Follow these 9 steps to learn how to start a successful online boutique:
Choose the Right eCommerce Template
Match Your Boutique Design with Your Fashion Statement
Remember: Visuals Are Everything!
Streamline the Checkout Process
Design Detailed Product Galleries
Optimize Your Mobile Store
Boost Traffic through Social Media
Combine SEO and Brand-Driven Content
Offer Your Shoppers Incentives
01. Choose the Right eCommerce Template
If you already researched how to start an online boutique, then you probably know that working with an eCommerce template is the simplest and most productive method for setting up your store. But not all templates are made equal, as they say, and when you search for your one and only, there are several points you want to be sure of.
First and foremost, your template must include the vital elements of every online store:
A gorgeous product gallery
An effective shopping cart feature
An intuitive check-out flow.
If your manufacturing, ordering or shipping processes involve any specific conditions, make sure your eCommerce platform can support them.
The next requirement depends more on your own stylistic choices and on your branding vision. Templates are often designed with a particular niche or genre in mind. Choosing one that reflects your brand identity and the audience you’re hoping to reach will save you a lot of work when you personalize the template. Anything from the template’s color palette to the size of images used on the site can be a determining factor in whether or not this template is right for you, so keep an eye out for the fine details.
The final point you need to consider is the ease of customization. Even if you manage to find a template that really nails your branding goals, you will still need to introduce some changes and a personal touch. Your ideal template will be easy to work with and edit, so that even when you customize it to better suit your purposes it still looks absolutely gorgeous. Luckily, each and every online store template available on Wix will cover these bases 100%. All you need to do now is choose.
02. Match Your Boutique Design with Your Fashion Statement
Whether your boutique specializes in vintage clothes or toddler chic; whether you sell primarily minimalist designs or an eclectic beautiful chaos, your store embodies a defined style. Creating a harmony between that style and your store’s web design will strengthen your branding and make your target audience feel straight at home when they visit your online store.
Let’s look at Stolen Goods online boutique, for example. One of the key characteristics of their designs is their use of bright, poppy colors, and they cleverly translated it to the color palette of their website. The result is this beautiful and colorful dialog between the products and the platform where they are put on display. Excellent work!
03. Remember: Visuals Are Everything!
In order to sell clothing items, you must first stimulate your clients’ visual appetite. The images that decorate your online boutique should be so beautiful that shoppers will be immediately tempted to imagine themselves walking around, dressed in your amazing merchandise. Quality product photography is of the essence here. Strong images are your best selling point, so it is worthwhile to invest in professional photoshoots as well as take the time to edit your photos with a tool like the Wix Photo Studio.
The goal is to create the ideal setting that will bring out the absolute best of your merchandise. Everything from the choice of location to the models’ styling should be planned so that the resulting visuals present your brand in the most attractive way possible.
04. Streamline the Checkout Process
Online shopping should be a simple and straightforward activity. The last thing you want is to have your shoppers struggle with the payment process. If they do, many of them will choose not to complete their purchase, and all of the hard work you’ve put into your online boutique will go down the drain.
There are two key processes you should follow in optimizing the check-out process.
First, you want to minimize the necessary steps required to complete the purchase. Try to keep it down to a few simple clicks.
Secondly, you need to regularly make sure everything is functioning properly. Test different scenarios – adding items to the shopping cart, removing items, choosing colors or sizes, changing amounts, editing shipping details, check also that your store management options are working smoothly.
05. Design Detailed Product Galleries
Shoppers enjoy knowing that they have options, especially when it comes to fashion, accessories and clothing. They want to be able to make an informed choice about what they buy and to pick items that really match their style and their needs. You can easily assist them by making your product galleries comprehensive and precise.
First, make sure you add product options like sizes, colors, materials and all other available variations that you may offer. Then, try to give your shoppers a full picture of how the items look in real life by adding multiple images that show different angles and various uses. You can even offer a precise impression of your merchandise by adding a video!
06. Optimize Your Mobile Store
In this day and age, you must take into account that many shoppers will visit your online boutique using a mobile device. To guarantee that your store looks absolutely fabulous on all screen sizes, optimize the mobile view and test it from multiple devices.
Mobile shopping experiences are not quite the same as shopping on a regular computer. Mobile users prefer long scrolling to clicking, so your mobile store needs to be designed vertically even if your full store uses the full width of the screen. Images and texts should be large enough and spaced out so that they are not crammed together. And very importantly, organize your product collections and options in an intuitive and simple way, allowing shoppers to locate their preferences quickly.
The Wix mobile app is a superb tool for optimizing websites for mobile users. You can easily activate and customize it, and you’ll have yourself a stunning online boutique that can be reached anywhere, anytime.
07. Boost Traffic through Social Media
In a perfect world, visitors would find their own way to your store. In reality, however, you need to actively promote your store on their favorite online platforms. In other words, you need to be social-media-savvy. Social marketing on platforms with a strong visual element are especially important for boutiques and online stores, so focus your efforts on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Establishing a powerful social media presence does not happen in one day. But if you keep an active and frequent stream of content and attune yourself to your audience’s habits and lingo, you will no doubt see great progress and an increase in traffic. As you strategize your social marketing agenda, visit our blog's eCommerce marketing section for excellent tips and guides. A great place to start, for instance, is this article on creating Facebook Ads or by using our social media calendar.
08. Combine SEO and Brand-Driven Content
Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely foundational for any website. A significant portion of online traffic is directed through search engine results, and it’s therefore vital that you integrate content that is optimized to play nice with Google (and these SEO guides will show you exactly how you can do that).
But as important as search engines are for your traffic, you don’t want your site’s content to be totally dictated by SEO. Your content should be genuine and authentic, not something that looks like a bunch of random keywords. Find the right balance that combines SEO and branding effectively. Greet your visitors with a human voice that is not too “salesy”. You can find an excellent example of this fine balance on Bowtie Behavior’s online boutique. With a friendly and personal About section and a cute blog, this brand is rocking online content.
09. Offer Your Shoppers Incentives
Buying clothes, accessories or decor items online can be a bit intimidating. There’s always the risk that the material might not be just what you wanted or that sizes won’t fit quite right. You can do a lot to reduce these risks by offering incentives that make the experience much more pleasant and appealing.
For instance, you can offer free shipping and free returns and provide your customers a safety net. You can also add a detailed size chart to give more specific information about measurements. And of course, sales and coupon codes are always a great motivation for any shopper. Who doesn’t love a good deal?
Ready to start selling clothes? Start your online store today.
By The Wix Team