How to Start an Online Clothing Boutique for Free
Global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, according to Statista. So now is a better time than ever to learn how to open an online apparel business.
To get things started, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to launch an online boutique, even if you have no prior expertise.
This piece is dedicated to exactly that, and it explains everything you need to know in a few simple steps, as well as some legal documents you may require.
We’ve gone over the step-by-step process for launching an online boutique in a couple of minutes in this article.
Let’s get started!
Step-1 Create a business plan & select a niche.
According to Statista, clothes and accessory stores in the United States generated $268.16 billion in revenue in 2018. So, choosing your specialization is the first step in my approach to starting a boutique.
Even with so many clothing products, there is still high demand in the clothes sector. And if you can uncover a supply-demand imbalance in your sector, you may turn your online boutique into a highly profitable business.
Learn from your future competitors
The next step is to choose a specialized specialization for your online store. If you’re unsure what kind of apparel things to sell in your online store, go to KwFinder or Google Keyword Planner and look at the search volume for the products you want to sell. Alternatively, you may browse the Amazon fashion category for ideas.
When it comes to launching an online boutique, you can sell a wide range of clothing and accessories. In the beginning, try to narrow down your product categories and target a specific clientele. If you want to sell children’s apparel, for example, target a specific age range.
Find out the best-selling product category.
Trends change, so you’ll need to figure out what makes your apparel stand out. For example, at the start of the Corona pandemic, the most popular fashion item was high waist shapewear. You may look up the trend rate for a certain item of apparel using Google Trends.
Optimize your items in light of current market conditions. Many internet firms, for example, tailored their offerings around the Corona product range. You may also use keyword research tools to see how competitive a product is.
Make a quick market analysis for your target market.
You can study the best-performing products in the market with tools like Google Trends. For example, type in the apparel style you’re interested in to see how popular it is.
Isn’t it better to learn a little more about your customers before you start selling?
- Consider a relevant consumer base – who is most likely to purchase this product? Is there a more powerful brand to compete with?
- Examine your clientele – Conduct a short analysis to determine the size of your consumer base. The apparel industry alone generates 1.5 billion dollars in revenue. Similarly, you can estimate the size of your audience using platforms like Statistia and other reliable sources.
- Identify demographics — Create a demographics report for your target audience, including age, location, gender, occupation, income, and other information.
Step-2 Choose between inventory and dropshipping.
Now that you’ve decided on a boutique niche, or at the very least have a concept of what things you’d like to sell, it’s time to get creative. It’s time to move on to the product sourcing phase of our guide on creating an online boutique. You can either keep an inventory or have the products shipped directly from the provider once the order is received (dropshipping).
What is the definition of a drop-shipping business model?
Dropshipping is a business strategy in which the supplier ships the product straight to the client once the order is placed. You won’t need much money to establish a boutique with a dropshipping strategy, and you’ll have more room to try multiple products.
You will now be able to select the garment dropshipping you want to perform. This is something you should be aware of before learning how to open your boutique.
Branded dropshipping: Many clothing dropshipping suppliers offer branded drop shipping, which means you get to select from a pool of branded clothing and dropship them directly.
Non-branded dropshipping: You can launch an online shop similar to Romwe that focuses on trendy, niche-specific (swimwear) items if you desire.
Print on demand drop shipping: If you want to build an online store with your branding and have more creative control, a print-on-demand approach is the way to go. The P.O.D. Company essentially provides you with a mockup generator and allows you to build the design you desire, after which they will create and send it for you on a pay-per-order basis.
Before I get into how to start an online store with inventory, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages.
- With little to no expenditure, you can start making Custom apparel.
- Create and sell any boutique item you desire.
- For a better lifestyle, start a semi-automated business.
- Shipment and packing are subject to limited supervision.
What is an inventory business model?
Inventory would necessitate storing the products sent by the supplier and then packaging and shipping the items yourself. Users must additionally create a wholesale account and submit a credit application to use inventory.
You have the option of working for a wholesale boutique or as a retailer. You’d have to order bulk clothing products straight from the producers for a wholesale shop. Retailers, on the other hand, frequently collaborate with wholesalers to obtain greater clothes orders.
More significantly, you’ll require warehouse/storage space for the things that will be transported. Finally, don’t forget to factor in the insurance cost to ensure that your products are completely protected.
- Product prices are lower.
- Packing and shipping are completely under your control.
- More precise stock information
- Inventory management necessitates a large budget and a higher level of risk.
- More work, such as shipments, tracking, management, and exchange, among other things.
Step-3 Select an eCommerce platform
Now that you know why boutique owners choose dropshipping clothing let’s move on to the next section of our “how to build an online store” tutorial.
Many eCommerce platforms to choose from when opening an online boutique, but Shopify is the best option. The three main reasons I pick Shopify for starting an online shop are multiple apparel suppliers on the Shopify app marketplace, a beginner-friendly dashboard, and recommendations from the most successful online boutiques.
Another important reason we chose Shopify is that it quickly interfaces with some of the greatest dropshipping vendors. As a result, you won’t have to waste time manually uploading products. Instead, you can focus more on scaling your online store by automating it. Plus, there’s an app for almost any function you can think of on the Shopify app store. You will get access to premium assistance (phone, chat, and email) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you run your boutique. If you want to try it out for yourself, they offer a 14-day free trial.
Step-4 Select a high-quality boutique supplier.
Finding a supplier is the next step in starting an online shop. You have the option of working with any of these boutique vendors —
- Custom clothing manufacturer – If you want to keep an inventory for a few units, working directly with manufacturers is an option for a higher margin. While most manufacturers have a large minimum order quantity (M.O.Q.), some bespoke clothes manufacturers have lower M.O.Q.s with whom you can work and make more money.
- Wholesale supplier – Wholesaler is the one that buys the products from manufacturers and sells them to retailers to start a clothing business online. Wholesale apparel vendors can offer you reduced prices and a low minimum order value, but design customization options are limited. Some wholesalers also provide dropshipping services.
- Boutique Clothing dropshippers – Clothing dropshippers allow you a wide variety of clothing options that you can import to your site and start selling easily. Some provide branded supplies for launching an online boutique, while others provide unique branding (mostly the print-on-demand dropshippers).
You might be interested in the following dropshipping suppliers:
- Print-on-demand companies
- Jewelry dropshippers
- Other dropshippers
Creating an online boutique with the correct supplier is a fast question I’d like to answer here. Unfortunately, there is no single boutique supplier who can meet all of your requirements. Instead, you’ll have to sift through several apparel dropshippers to locate the right fit.
Note – Look for a boutique supplier in your desired location so you can provide speedy shipment to your customers. If this isn’t practical, you can store your products near your clients using a warehousing and fulfillment service like Printful.
Step-5 Select a name for your online boutique.
The selection of a brand name is the next stage in the “how to start an online apparel boutique” instruction. The first thing your visitor will notice is your boutique name, also known as your domain name. Make certain that the name you choose for your fashion business is…
Brandable, brief, and one-of-a-kind: A memorable store name will aid in the development of your brand (which is essential if you are looking for a long-term business). Not only will a short, distinctive domain name be more memorable to your audience, but it will also help with SEO.
Relevant but particular – If you’re starting an automobile website, ABCvehicles.com might not be the greatest pick. Instead, you may go with ABC-cars.com, which is more particular and relevant. In addition, your target audience would be aware of your website.
If you must pick between relevancy and brand, go with the latter. Amazon is one of the most well-known examples of this. You can acquire some good ideas by using a boutique name generator.
Step-6 Register your boutique business.
You’ll need to do a few basic things to get your boutique up and running lawfully. To begin, create a business identity for your online store:
- L.L.P./Sole Proprietorship – The simplest type of business to start is a sole proprietorship. Only a few legal documents are required.
- L.L.C. (Limited Liability Company) – You can build a barrier between you and your business store by forming an L.L.C. However, you’ll require extra supporting documentation.
- Corporation – Select this if you are looking for funding and investors.
You may also require the following legal documents:
- E.I.N. (employment identification number) — If you aren’t a sole proprietor, you’ll need an E.I.N. (employer identification number) for tax purposes. Sole owners with no employees, on the other hand, can utilize their social security numbers.
- ITIN – Individual tax identification number is required if you are a non-us resident with no SSN (social security number) for tax processing.
- Seller’s permit – When selling items, you’ll need a seller’s permit, often known as a resale license or a business license. It’s available from your local sales taxing authority.
- D.B.A. – Doing business as is required if you are starting your business using a name other than the owner’s name or a different name from your legal name.
- Operating bylaws – Operating agreements are required in a few states for L.L.C. business names.
Step-7 Design your online boutique
It’s time to make your Shopify store appear nice now that you’ve joined up for it. Giving your store a pleasing appearance is critical for increasing your brand’s reputation, credibility, and overall user experience. Even if you have no idea how to start a clothes store with the proper design, try customizing your design with little adjustments that your clients could like.
So, while choosing a Shopify theme to represent your online shop, consider how useful your products will be based on the design type (minimal, modern, etc.). You can also get some ideas by looking at what theme top Shopify stores are using.
After that, you may add a logo to your store design using Hatchful, a free logo builder. You’ll also need to establish legal pages for your website, such as a return policy, to provide information about your rules. Using Shopify’s business capabilities, you can quickly create these pages for free.
What to do after setting up an online boutique?
Now that you know how to start an online boutique, it’s time to move on to the following phase. Begin by optimizing your online store and increasing Shopify’s overall SEO. Of course, you can always switch to Shopify Plus if you already have a popular offline store and require a more advanced online platform.
The instruction on how to create an online boutique is now complete; however, for a head start, I’d like to offer some eCommerce marketing strategies:
Make one-of-a-kind Facebook/Instagram advertising – Even if Facebook marketing is overcrowded, you can still have a solid conversion rate for your items.
Create a blog– Create a simple blog and use KwFinder to find relevant keywords in your field.
You will ask your consumers to refer a friend to your store in exchange for a prize.
Customer loyalty program: Thank your customers for returning to your store.
Find influencers in your niche and ask them to promote your product through influencer marketing.
Affiliate marketing entails paying a tiny percentage of your revenue to someone who promotes your product.
I hope this step-by-step instruction on starting an online store was helpful; if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below or contact me via the contact page.