If you’ve never launched an online boutique, then you can’t expect to get every little detail right from the start (unless you have Online Boutique Success®).
And after almost 10 years in eCommerce, there are 3 common online boutique mistakes that we see most aspiring online boutique owners making before they launch. So in this blog post, we’ll discuss what those mistakes are (and share resources on how to avoid them) to make your journey as a new boutique owner a bit easier.
You’ll save time, money and frustration of having to recover from these online boutique mistakes when you know what to do first. So keep reading to learn what you need to avoid when starting an online boutique.
Mistake #1: No Target Customer
So what exactly is a ‘target customer’? And why is it so important when you’re starting an online boutique?
If you’re not sure who you’ll be selling to, then you can’t expect to make any money.
Success is not an accident. So your first task as a new boutique owner is to identify the most important person to your business: your customer.
People buying what you sell is what makes your business a business.
So you should know who they are, what they value, the other brands they shops with and how much they’re likely to spend. The more clarity you have around your target customer, the easier it will be to make decisions that grow your boutique and avoid this online boutique mistake.
Your target customer should influence everything— from what you name your boutique and the products you carry to how you set your prices and where you spend your time marketing.
Want to learn more about identifying your target customer? Click here.
Mistake #2: No Professional Branding
As a new business, trust is extremely important. So how you present yourself plays a major role in whether a complete stranger would choose to shop from your online boutique.
First impressions count. So whether they discover your brand on social or via your website, you want a cohesive, professional experience. Now this doesn’t mean you go spend $10,000 on a website before you’ve made your first sale. But it does require you to invest strategically.
One of the best things you can do is to have professional quality photos. Since someone is shopping online (and can’t walk into a store to physically see and feel the clothing), your photos will serve as a bridge to that sale.
A shopper needs to be able to clearly see the colors, textures and details of what you’re selling to make a purchasing decision. And as the old adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The right photos not only help customers confidently shop from your online boutique, but they also attract them too.
High quality photography should be used all over social media and in your ads to get as many people as possible on your website to click, browse and buy.
(And having the right website design is important too. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars but it should be created to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop).
Mistake #3: No Marketing Budget
You can’t grow your online boutique if you don’t invest consistently.
So even before you launch, you should have a monthly budget specifically for marketing. That will support things like online ads, working with influencers or even being able to ‘gift’ items for press coverage.
News flash: your products are NOT free.
So even if you ‘gift’ something from the inventory you already purchased, you still have to think about how much the product cost you, what it would cost to ship it and whether sending the product will actually lead to new sales.
That’s why having a monthly budget is so important. You give yourself a cap and every marketing activity that falls under it is something you already know you can afford.
Business is a risk, so not everything you do will work out entirely as expected.
But if you have a marketing budget you already have an idea of what you’re able to handle. That lets you be more organized but also more discerning about the opportunities that you go after.
The goal of marketing is to get as many of your target customers to your website as possible to increase your chances of making sales.
And you can’t do that without running any ads, posting on social media consistently, or working with people who will help you reach a larger audience.
If you need money to launch and grow your online boutique, then you should also be building your business credit profile. Because most businesses fail due to lack of capital.
Now that you know the most common online boutique mistakes aspiring online boutique owners make, you also have knowledge and resources to avoid them as you start your online boutique.