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5 Steps to Starting an Online Boutique on Shopify (+ Examples)

5 Steps to Starting an Online Boutique on Shopify (+ Examples)

According to Business Research Company, despite the 8.59% decrease in the compound annual growth rate due to the impact of COVID-19, the global fashion eCommerce market is expected to witness a recovery to $672.71 billion in 2023.

So, if you’re planning to open a clothing shop online at the moment, just do it! Even when you’re already familiar with selling fashion items on Facebook, Instagram or other popular marketplaces like Etsy, having a stand-alone online store is what you need to expand your business in the long run.

“But I know nothing about technology, how can I build an online store?” 

Well, Shopify is your most suitable choice. Why? Because this platform is designed to be an eCommerce solution to help anyone easily create their own online shop without technical knowledge.

That's why in this article, we’re going to give you a detailed guide (tutorial video included) on how to start an online boutique on Shopify.

Contents

Why is Shopify a suitable choice for an online boutique?

Before jumping into the specific steps of building a boutique shop, let's take a look at what Shopify can do for merchants in the clothing and apparel industry.

1. Shopify is a complete eCommerce solution

Well, as mentioned from the start, anyone (even non-developers) can sign up and bring their dream online store into being. Merchants can utilize the intuitive backend interface to customize their store design, manage products, orders and customer data, observe analytics to improve their marketing strategies. It's like an all-in-one eCommerce package.

Moreover, the second largest industry using Shopify is apparel and fashion, which indicates that Shopify is a popular platform among merchants who are in the clothing business.

You can find many successful Shopify boutique stores with hundreds of merchants' fascinating stories here.

sell clothes on Shopify

2. Ready-made hosting and domain for your boutique store

A big pain point of a shop owner when it comes to starting an online store is finding a domain and hosting provider. Also, how to maintain and upgrade the site in the long term is a daunting matter.

When using Shopify, merchants can easily start an online boutique with free hosting, domain and SSL certificate available in any plan (starting from just $29).

Shopify hosting

3. Inventory tracking

Handling inventory stocks is what every merchant should pay attention to not just for clothing stores but many other types of businesses. With Shopify, you can set up Inventory Tracking, view your inventory and adjust your inventory counts to avoid selling products that have run out. You can also order more from suppliers or produce more of your products if needed.

Shopify Inventory

4. Shipping and delivery

If your online boutique is based in the U.S or Canada, you can apply for the Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN); the shipping will be more fast and affordable. All you have to do is prepare and send your inventory to the fulfillment centers; and once an order is placed, they will pick, pack and deliver to your customers' doors.

The data of your business and customers, shipment tracking and inventory will be all in one place, which is very convenient to manage. 

With merchants who are from different regions, Shopify does allow you to add or integrate a third-party warehouse to prepare and ship your products.

5. Shopify POS

Even when you already have a brick-and-mortar boutique; or you want to open a pop-up store to support your online shop, you can sync business data like orders, inventory tracking, etc. from your online store with Shopify POS.

Shopify POS

6. Shopify marketing and SEO apps

If you are stuck with how to promote your online boutique or get more traffic to generate sales, Shopify has a huge ecosystem of app partners that can support your eCommerce journey.

Shopify SEO and Marketing apps

Although it depends on a merchant’s business plan to choose right plugins for their store, here are some suggestions of suitable apps for an online boutique:

  • PageFly: Advanced page builder app which can help you customize any pages on your store (home page, product and collection page, landing page and so on). It has a drag-and-drop tool to help anyone create a high-converting page without a technical background.

  • Also, PageFly gives you tons of templates to choose from in the fashion and apparel industry for faster building of your pages.

    PageFly

  • Privy: A pop-up and email marketing solution. It can help you create captivating pop-ups to announce discounts or sales events on your store. Also, Privy can automate your email marketing with newsletters, promotions and other follow-up emails. It gives you A/B testing for any plan you choose as well.

  • ReConvert Upsell & Cross sell: Obviously, with a boutique store, you can't miss this app. It can help you with your upselling strategy; for example, a silk dress bundled with accessories or items like a belt. Another great thing about this app is that their plan is free, so you don’t have to worry about the monthly charge.

  • AVADA Size Chart: A free size chart app which can help you customize the size charts for your clothing products. This is very important for a boutique store because customers care about how your products will fit them before making purchasing decisions.

  • Instagram Shop by SNPT: This app is a solution to make your social media into a shopping platform. It can help you display stunning Instagram galleries and UGC (user-generated content) on your web store easily.
  • sell on Instagram

    One last thing is Shopify’s on-page SEO basics, which can help users easily optimize product titles, meta-description, image tags, etc. to get ranked higher on search engines.

    7. Sell your Shopify boutique on social media

    Once you open an online boutique, you can't miss social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. These are platforms where shop owners can get more potential leads and customers for their stores.

    With Shopify, merchants can integrate to sell their fashion items on Facebook, Instagram and pin their store on Pinterest easily.

    Related article: How sell on Instagram with Shopify

    sell on Facebook and Instagram with Shopify

    Also, for other sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Shopify does support selling on these huge marketplace to expand your business. Or, if you want to migrate your store from a platform like Esty or WooCommerce to Shopify, it is totally possible.

    Related article: Shopify vs Etsy in 2021: Which one is better?

    8. Shopify Expert

    If you want to customize your online boutique or need help with marketing solutions, you can find Shopify Experts to help with your store development. For example, Aeolidia is a Shopify Expert whom you can consult for branding and web design solutions as well as product design.

    Aeolidia

    5 Steps to starting your stunning boutique on Shopify

    Well, now is the time to produce a result here. We’re going to give you useful and specific steps below to bring your virtual boutique to life.

    Step 1: Find a proper theme for selling clothes

    Choosing a theme for an online boutique depends on the business plan, style and desired store look of the merchant. However, there are some recommended Shopify themes that can be used in particular for a fashion web store.

    Brooklyn (Free)

    Brooklyn theme

    As you can see in the description, Brooklyn is a tailor-made theme for apparel stores. It’s one of the popular free themes on the Shopify Theme Store and focuses on brand imagery. Users can showcase big and dazzling banner images and top selling featured collections right on the homepage.

    Impulse ($180)

    Impulse theme

    A perfect choice for boutique shops, especially high-end clothing lines. Merchants can have custom promotion content for collection pages, titles and even custom collection sidebar filters.

    Broadcast ($180)

    Broadcast theme

    If you want a modern look for your online boutique, then Broadcast is a great choice. You can display homepage videos and customer testimonials with this theme. Also, for the product page, Broadcast supports “color swatch" mode to showcase available colors of your products.

    Gemini ($45)

    Gemini theme
    Gemini is a theme created by AdartStudio. It’s a suitable theme for boutique stores with many collections for merchants who want to sell on Instagram or social media. A great thing about this theme is that it supports a fixed menu bar, which is really great for navigation.
    Dorothy ($105)
    Dorothy theme

    You can easily find this theme on the Etsy marketplace. Dorothy is a simple theme design which is very suitable for accessories and minimal fashion items. 

    Step 2: Add your products and collections

    As you're running a boutique store, you may have many collections and items. So, before creating your impressive homepage, adding your products and collections is a primary concern.

    Remember when adding clothing products, you can set up variant images, as well as product variants like sizes and colors for customers to choose.

    Shopify product variants

    Also, you can use third-party apps like AVADA Size Chart to include detailed size guides on the product pages.

    size chart

    Step 3: Build your captivating homepage

    It's all about the look. Since you're running a fashion shop, people love to see beautiful images. That's why you need to display your best featured collections, complete with gorgeous product photos, right on the homepage to catch people's attention.

    Also, with a boutique shop, having a unique logo to promote your brand is very important. So, you can design your stunning logo with Hatchful and add it on your homepage in the Shopify editor board.

    collections

    Credit: Nanamacs.com
    Another great idea could be that you can use Shopify apps to insert impressive images from Instagram galleries on the homepage, and then link visitors directly to your Instagram for more awesome photos.
    Instagram images
    Credit: Nanamacs.com
    And the last thing you definitely shouldn't forget is the mobile version of your site. Many people will shop at your store directly from their smartphones, so it’s a crucial factor.

    Step 4: Set up gift cards and discount codes

    Everyone loves free gifts and discounts. With a boutique store, it's indispensable to offer customers discount codes and gift cards for your sales events. And, you can set it up easily in the Shopify admin dashboard.

    In Shopify panel, you choose Discounts >> Create discount >> Discount code >> Customize your discount code
    Shopify discount

    Step 5: Get an eye-catching pop-up

    A pop-up is a great marketing tactic to announce your promotion events, add CTA buttons, or ask visitors for email signups. By doing that, it can help expand your list of potential leads for further converting them into customers.

    You can ask for their emails in exchange for a discount code of all items, for example. And Privy is a great app with a free plan available that can help you with creating an eye-catching pop-up.

    Privy pop-up

    Credit: Privy App

    3 Examples of successful Shopify boutique

    #1- clémence

    clemence

    Clémence is an independent clothing brand that has a very simple but elegant web design. Their products are mainly designs for modern women, inspired by clean lines and minimalist luxury.

    This brand also works actively on Instagram, and they used Shopify apps to help their customers purchase their products easily on this social media platform.

    #2 - Battenwear

    Battenwear

    A clothing brand for adventurers who need well-made but still fashionable gears for outdoor activities. In an interview with Shopify, the Battenwear team mentioned the efficiency and convenience of using Shopify apps to grow their business. So far, the brand has done quite a good job in big markets such as North America, the UK, Japan and Korea.

    #3 - Nisolo

    Nisolo

    A US-based shoe brand with an interesting story of living wages in their factory in Peru. Nisolo shared that their online store is the biggest outlet. They mentioned “Shopify is a must” that can help them manage inventory and customer data, and run analytics reports easily on a regular basis. 

    Conclusion

    Anyone can sell clothing on the internet, but not everyone can open an online boutique easily. Shopify can be a great choice for those who need a more professional website for their clothing business. However, you still need to have a detailed business plan and suitable marketing strategies to grow your boutique store successfully. 

    Still, Shopify could be a worth a go solution to assist you on the journey of growing your brand in the fashion industry. You can try its 14-day free trial first and make a decision after that. All in all, it's totally your choice.

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