Once you’ve got your business set up, try to find affiliates that complement your boutique offerings.

Starting an online boutique is more affordable than starting a physical store, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Here are eight steps you need to take to start your online boutique.

Choose a products niche

The first step you need to take is to find out your product niche . You can’t appeal to everyone, and a well-defined niche will help you stand out from your target customer.To identify your niche, decide on the types of products you plan to offer. For example, will your boutique specialize in clothing or jewelry? From there, you can break it down even further, such as if you plan to open a store that offers leisure sportswear or high-end children’s clothing.

name your boutique

Choosing a name for your business can feel pressured because people will instantly form an opinion about your boutique after hearing the name. Choose a memorable name that is not difficult to pronounce or spell.

Once you find a name, do a quick Google search to make sure the name is available. And be sure to purchase the domain for your business name with a “.com” extension.

Create a business plan

A business plan will serve as your guide to starting and growing your business. It will also be necessary if you ever want to apply for small business financing. A solid business plan should contain the following elements .

An explanation of the feasibility of your business idea.

Your target market.

Competitor research.

Your unique value proposition.

An outline of your marketing plan.

Calculate the financing

While an online boutique will be less expensive to open than a brick-and-mortar store, there will still be startup costs you need to plan for. You’ll need to pay for web hosting, inventory, marketing costs, and more.

It can be difficult to qualify for a small business loan from a bank as a new business. A business line of credit, business credit card, personal loan or vendor financing can help you access the cash flow you need.

You can source your inventory through a wholesale supplier or by using a drop shipping model

Register your business

Anyone can start a business as a sole proprietor without having to fill out paperwork or pay state taxes. However, it is worth investing the time and money to register your company as an LLC. Operating as an LLC will give you liability protection that you will not have as a sole proprietor.

You’ll start by applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. From there, you can register your business on your secretary of state’s website and set up a business bank account.

Find inventory for your store

You can source your inventory through a wholesale supplier or by using a drop shipping model. Wholesale providers are easy to find and browse online.

With a wholesaler, you’ll buy your items in bulk at a reduced price and have more control over shipping and branding your products. However, this route will be more expensive and you will need a place to store your inventory.

With drop shipping, a third-party vendor will package and ship the items to your customers. You won’t have to keep any inventory on hand, but you won’t have any control over the brand. And if the provider makes a mistake, you will be held responsible.

Deciding on an ecommerce platform

Now that you’ve done the necessary legwork, it’s time to set up your online store. The easiest way to do this is by using an eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce.

These platforms provide you with a storefront and shopping cart so you can make sales. And you’ll also have the necessary back-end tools to run your business. Spend some time thinking about the features that are important to you before deciding on a platform.

Get ready to launch your store

You are finally ready to launch your store and start making sales. As you start to market your store and build a name for yourself, it’s a good idea to partner with complementary brands. For example, if you sell high-end women’s clothing, you could partner with a store that sells accessories.

And strive to reach out to bloggers and brand ambassadors who you believe embody the values ​​of your online boutique. Building these mutually beneficial relationships will help you grow your business.