In today’s world of digital media, mobile devices and technology-mediated communications, all the tools you need to start an online business are literally at your fingertips. Consumers are pressed on time, they are overwhelmed, overworked and are constantly in a rush. They rely on their devices and social connections for shopping needs more than ever before. With so many inexpensive business and marketing solutions to choose from, entry barriers for starting an e-commerce business are virtually non-existent. So, why do so many new online boutiques fail? This article will help you start an online boutique – whether you want to sell girls boutique clothing or gifts for cat lovers – and ensure your business is a success with 5 simple tips.
1. Choose your target market carefully. More often than not, success is not about WHAT your sell but rather about WHO you sell to. To sell one product to 2 completely different people, you need to use two different approaches, two pitches. Or think about it this way. There are two grocery shops in your area that have very similar assortments of products and competitive prices. Yet, you chose to shop at one store over the other. Most likely it is because there is something more appealing about the store you choose, something that “speaks” to you. Your target audience will define how and where you market your business. It will determine the look and feel of your website and dictate your policies. The list goes on and on. Choosing your target audience is one of the most critical steps of developing your online clothing boutique.
2. Experiment with products. Chances are you won’t get your product selection “just right” from the first try. Experiment with your product selection, analyze product performance and always be on the lookout for new trends and offerings. If you start a baby boutique, play around with baby boutique brands till you feel like you got it right. Experimenting with product selection is one of the key ingredients for success.
3. Listen to your audience and customers. Your audience and customers are the best sources of feedback and advice. Use social media to the fullest to find out where your audience “hangs out.” If you are starting a website that sells performance car parts, look for Facebook groups and forums for car enthusiasts. If you plan to offer girls boutique clothing, checking out mommy, parenting or kids fashion blogs and groups might be a good idea. When you listen to your audience, you ensure that the products and services your online boutique offers are in tune with your customers’ needs and wants. You establish more personal – and, therefore, deeper connections – with your customers. In addition, you market your business exactly where your potential customers are.
4. Choose your e-commerce platform wisely. With an abundance of e-commerce platforms out there, picking the right one can be a challenge. Make sure to check out review websites as well as talk to existing customers to get a good idea about what to expect from the platform. Some things to consider are SEO capabilities, customer service, bandwidth costs, customer loyalty programs, built-in inventory management and customer management systems and reliability. You want an e-commerce platform that will allow your business to grow seamlessly and that you can stay with for a long run.
5. Build a good-looking, easy-to-use website. Your website is the face of your company. When developing your website, your need to understand how your potential customers look for and purchase products you plan to carry. Your website navigation, appealing images, easy-to-read, useful information, payment methods, easy access to customer support are all important aspects of website development. Show your products in action. For girls clothing boutique, show kids modeling the clothes you carry, for home decor shop, add pictures of your products in ‘real-home’ settings. Whatever it is you sell in your online boutique, you need to demonstrate to your customers how they could use the products as well as create emotional engagement through images.
I hope these 5 tips will help you drive your e-commerce business to success and separate your online boutique from the competition. There are so many other things to consider when starting an online business, from name to shipping and warehousing options. The tips listed above are intended to help you build a solid foundation on which your business can grow and prosper.