Whether or not you operate your boutique out of a brick and mortar, RV, or pop-up stall, it’s crucial that you also make your apparel products available online. Traditional boutiques that live wholly outside of an e-commerce model can only sell to customers in specific locations, during specific hours of business. That’s pretty limiting considering that e-commerce stores have the ability to serve customers 24/7, whether they live right down the street or in a different hemisphere.
E-commerce is exploding, and while in store experiences still provide customers an inimitable value, your sales likely won’t achieve peak potential if you don’t sell online too.
7 Steps to E-Commerce Excellence
You may have hesitated to set up an online store in the past, and while it’s a lot of work, it’s a fairly straightforward process:
Step 1: Research online sales tools and marketplaces.
There are a lot of different ways to sell online, from setting up your own website or shop to participating in a larger marketplace like Etsy. Each comes with its own pros, cons, and fees.
Step 2: Select the best sales tool for your shop and customers.
Certain tools or marketplaces attract specific types of customers. Think about your ideal customer. Then, let that, along with online tool fees and logistics, determine how you’ll ultimately establish your online store.
Step 3: Set up your online store.
If you’ve decided to create an online boutique with its own branded website, you will need to purchase a web address through a domain registrar or a website building tool, like Wix. The latter would be the most straightforward option if you favor creating an independent online store outside of a marketplace platform.
Once you get a domain set up, you can enter pages, content, and images for your website and install the correct e-commerce plugin for the website development tool you’re using.
If you choose to go the marketplace route, you will simply need to create a marketplace account and profile. Sometimes the account type you choose will depend on the size of the inventory you plan to list and sell, so make sure to think big picture about your plans.
Step 4: Source white label or private label clothes, shoes, or handbags to sell.
It’s important to stay ahead of inventory lag and find the right producer or manufacturer for your online store's stock. Later, we’ll address exactly what that looks like on the blog.
Step 5: Take professional looking pictures of your fashion products.
Good quality images are critical to success in online clothing, shoe, or handbag sales – especially if you’re selling a high-quality product. You can easily DIY a light box or staging area in your home or brick and mortar, and even purchase a great camera or easy to use light ring. Taking care with this step will help you to better showcase your brand’s beautiful details.
Step 6: Upload product listing details.
Each product you list should include high-quality product photos, as well as an alluring description and accurate sizing, color, shipping cost, and price information.
*Pro tip: Customers love when vendors show off the unique story of the products they sell by sharing images of the cut & sew process.
Step 7: Launch and promote your online store.
Congratulations! Once you have all of your product information accurately listed and all of your payment processing tools correctly set up, it’s time to take your store public.
As time passes, you can give your shop some personality on social media, set up an email list to keep loyal customers in the loop, and more. Keeping your online store fresh will involve staying ahead of your inventory with careful planning and staying ahead of your competitors with thoughtful marketing. We also advise staying ahead of negative reviews with careful quality assurance and timely shipping.
Once you launch an e-commerce store, you'll have embarked upon a whole new entrepreneurial adventure. Welcome to the next chapter of your business!
Interested in selling your own high-quality private label clothing, shoe, or handbag brand in your online store?
St. Louis native Jessica Donovan enjoys 3 things: tacos, cute animals, and creating content that informs, inspires, and connects people to a democratized & transparent fashion manufacturing experience.