Want to run your own online boutique shop but not sure how to get started?
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need any technical knowledge to start an online boutique. Often times people prefer to buy from small / personal businesses and your online boutique store could be the next success story.
In this article, we are going to show you how to easily open an online boutique shop that will increase sales.
What do you need to start an online boutique shop?
Starting your online store is a lot easier than you might think. To open an online boutique shop you will need:
- A domain name (a name for your website)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website files are located on the internet)
- Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.
Yes, you read that right. You can create an online boutique shop website from scratch in less than 30 minutes and don't require any technical knowledge.
We'll show you everything you need to know step by step.
Just follow our step-by-step checklist to start a successful online boutique shop that drives sales. We will cover:
- Choosing and setting up your online boutique shop platform
- Set up WordPress and WooCommerce on your website
- Add products to your online boutique store
- Change or customize your WordPress theme
- Add plugins to expand your online store and increase sales
- Learn more about WordPress
- FAQs on setting up an online boutique store
Tip: Use the links in the checklist to jump straight to the relevant section of our online boutique shop tutorial.
1. Choosing the best online boutique shop platform
The biggest mistake new store owners make is choosing the wrong ecommerce platform for their online store.
This could be a costly mistake because not only will you have to do all of the work again, but you can also lose money.
Fortunately, you're here so we can help you avoid this mistake.
When it comes to ecommerce platforms for boutiques, we only recommend two platforms: Shopify or WooCommerce (based on WordPress).
Shopify is a fully hosted solution that is quick to get you started. The big downside is the pricing, which starts at $ 29 per month and goes up to $ 299 per month for features with no third-party extensions. In addition, you can only use the payment system. Otherwise, you will be charged additional transaction fees. This is a lot to spend on small business owners.
This is why most small business owners choose WordPress + WooCommerce. It's inexpensive, has full functionality, flexibility, and is easy to set up. You can set up in less than 30 minutes, which is worth it in the long run. WooCommerce is also the world's most popular e-commerce platform.
For more information on these platforms, see our Side by Side Comparison of Shopify and WooCommerce.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to open an online boutique shop using WooCommerce.
To start an online shop, you need three things: a domain name, web hosting and an SSL certificate.
A domain name is the address of your website on the Internet. This is what users type into their browsers to reach your website (for example: google.com or wpbeginner.com).
With web hosting, your website files are on the internet. Think of this as the home of your website on the internet. Every website on the internet needs web hosting.
Finally, you need an SSL certificate. This adds a special layer of security to your website so that you can accept credit cards and other personal information.
Note: Typically, a domain name costs around $ 14.99 / year when purchased separately, web hosting around $ 8.99 / month, and an SSL certificate around $ 69.99 / year.
That's a lot of startup costs.
Fortunately, Bluehost, an official hosting provider recommended by WordPress and WooCommerce, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate and discount on web hosting.
Basically, you can get started for just $ 2.75 / month.
This allows you to keep the cost of building a WordPress site to an absolute minimum.
However, Bluehost also has a dedicated WooCommerce hosting plan that includes premium WordPress and WooCommerce extensions worth over $ 1,000, which is totally worth it.
This costs $ 24.95 per month, but includes security and backup features, premium WooCommerce extensions like subscriptions, bookings, etc.
Click here to take advantage of this exclusive Bluehost offer »
Note: At WPBeginner we believe in transparency. When you sign up for Bluehost using our referral link, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you (in fact, you save money and get a free domain). We'd earn this commission if we recommend almost any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.
If you're looking for a Bluehost alternative, we recommend checking out SiteGround WooCommerce Hosting, another officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.
With that said, let's get your domain name, web hosting, and SSL certificate.
First, open the Bluehost WooCommerce website in a new window and click the "Start Shop" button.
Next, you'll be asked to choose a hosting plan. The premium plan, which costs $ 24.95 per month, includes premium WordPress and WooCommerce extensions valued at over $ 1,000.
This is very important as the WooCommerce subscription and booking renewal alone cost more than Bluehost's annual subscription.
Note: If you're looking for a $ 2.75 per month plan, click this link.
You must click the "Select" button under a plan to continue.
Next you will be asked to enter or select a domain name. Remember, Bluehost gives you a free domain name.
If you need help choosing a domain name for your business, you can use our free business name generation tool.
On the next screen, you will need to enter your account information such as your name and address.
Below that you have to confirm that the package you selected is correct.
Tip: The greatest savings can be made by signing up for a 36 month plan.
You can turn off the package extras as you don't need them right now. You can always add them later if you want. We'll show you how to get some of the similar features for free later in this article.
After you've entered your payment details and purchased your hosting, Bluehost will ask you to create your account. Once you have done this, you can log in.
2. Set up WordPress and WooCommerce on your website
The good thing about the Bluehost WooCommerce plan is that it comes with an automated wizard that will walk you through the entire setup.
First, you will be asked how much help you need in creating your website. Just click the No Help Required button as this tutorial will help you.
On the next screen, select "Online Store" for your website type and simply follow the website creation wizard.
In the final step, Bluehost will ask you to enter a name and tagline for your website. You can change this later. So don't worry if you haven't made up your mind yet.
Bluehost now gives you a few WordPress themes to choose from. If you are not sure, you can get started with the Storefront theme. You can change the WordPress theme later.
After that, Bluehost will install both WordPress and WooCommerce for you.
Once the screen refreshes, you will see your Bluehost dashboard with the option to log into WordPress.
Your WordPress site will open in a new window and you will see your WordPress administration area.
Bluehost gives you a free SSL certificate. This certificate is preinstalled for your domain. However, your WordPress site needs to be configured to load using HTTPS or HTTP.
Go to Settings »General Page and change your WordPress address and site address to use https instead of http.
Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Save Changes" button to save your changes.
You can now set up your online shop.
Just click the WooCommerce link on the left side of your screen and then follow the WooCommerce setup wizard to set up your online store with your address, industry, product types and business details.
After completing the setup wizard, you will need to add payment methods in order to accept online payments in your boutique shop.
WooCommerce integrates with a number of popular payment gateways. The most popular are PayPal and Stripe (credit cards).
To connect WooCommerce to a payment gateway, go to WooCommmerce »Settings Page and go to the Payments tab.
Here you just have to click on the switch in the "Activated" column for the payment method you want to use. We will use PayPal Standard for our online shop.
After switching on a payment method, click the "Set up" button to the right of it. The standard PayPal method will then take you to a page where you will need to enter your PayPal email address.
When you're done configuring, don't forget to scroll down and click the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the screen.
You can go back to the Payments tab and add other payment methods.
Tip: We recommend that you activate check payments and / or cash on delivery when setting up your online shop. This makes it easy to create test orders without spending any money.
3. Add products to your online boutique store
After you have set up the payment methods, you can add products to your online shop. If you haven't already done product sourcing, check out our comprehensive guide on choosing the best products to sell online.
To add a product, go to Products »Add new Page in your WordPress admin area.
First you need to enter the product title and then provide a detailed description. Not only does this help increase sales by providing potential customers with the details they need, but it also helps your product page rank on search engines.
Then scroll down to the Product Details section under the description field. You have to decide on a price and enter the regular price of your product. If it's for sale, you can also set a sale price.
In the Product data field, you can optionally enter a short description of your product. This appears in areas where the long description does not fit.
Then click the "Set Product Image" link on the right side of the screen and upload product images.
Tip: We strongly recommend optimizing your images for the web to make sure your website is always lightning fast.
You can also set your product categories and tags via the upload area for product photos. We recommend assigning at least one category to your product.
When you have entered all of the details for your product, simply click the publish button to bring it live on your website.
Repeat this process to add more products as needed.
Once you've added your products, you can visit your website to view them on your shop page.
4. Change or adapt your WordPress theme
Themes control the design template of your website. There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes to choose from. Most of them are compatible with WooCommerce.
However, not all are ideal for a WooCommerce boutique store.
By default, Bluehost might install the storefront theme for you, or you may be using a different default theme.
You can change your website design by installing a different WordPress theme. Not sure which topic to choose. Our hand-picked list of the best WooCommerce WordPress themes can be found here.
Once you find the theme you want, you can download and install it. For help installing WordPress themes, check out our beginner's guide to installing a WordPress theme.
Most WordPress themes are highly customizable. For example, you can change fonts, colors, header styles, backgrounds, and more.
Just go to the Appearance »Customize Page to start the Theme Customizer. A live preview of your website is shown in the left column with customization options.
You can use the tabs on the left to change various aspects of your site. The WooCommerce options give you control over how your store is displayed.
For example, you can go too WooCommerce »Product Catalog to change how your shop page looks. Here we have set our shop page so that 4 images are displayed per line instead of 3 per line.
Once you make a change, you'll see a live preview of your customization. Make sure that you are happy with all of your pages, including functional pages like the shopping cart and checkout pages.
Once you've made changes using the Design Customizer, all you have to do is click the Publish button in the top left. This will save your changes and go live on your website.
Pro tip: If you want to further customize your WooCommerce store, you can use one of the drag and drop page builders or use a styling plugin like CSS Hero to create custom styles with no code.
5. Add plugins to expand your online store and increase sales
Plugins are like apps for your WordPress site. You can use them to add new features to your online shop. Some WordPress plugins are essential for all WooCommerce stores, others you can choose to add specific features.
The best thing about WordPress is that there are over 58,000 plugins that you can use to add new features to your website without hiring a developer.
You can follow our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin to install one of the following plugins.
Here are our recommendations for some of the most important plugins for your online shop:
- MonsterInsights – the leading WordPress analytics plugin helps you track visitor statistics (free version available).
- WPForms – # 1 Form Builder for WordPress Trusted by 4 Million Websites. You can use it to create contact forms, polls, polls, etc. (free version available).
- AIOSEO – leading WordPress SEO plugin that will help your shop rank higher in Google and other search engines (free version available).
- UpdraftPlus – leading WordPress backup plugin that lets you create automated backups in an emergency.
- OptinMonster – the leading conversion optimization toolkit to help you get more subscribers and sales (free version available).
- Sucuri – free website malware scanner plugin for WordPress.
- WP Mail SMTP – Improves your website deliverability via email so customers can get their receipt, login information, etc. (free version available).
That being said, we have our full list of the best WooCommerce plugins that you might want to scour for additional features.
Here are some of our other recommended WooCommerce plugins and tools that can help you get more sales.
1. Advanced coupons
The advanced coupon plugin lets you create smart coupons. This allows you to go far beyond the standard coupon functionality of WooCommerce. They can help you get more customers and increase your sales and revenue.
TrustPulse is another great plugin that can help you get more sales. You can view real-time notifications of product sales to take advantage of FOMO and increase conversions.
AliDropship is the best dropshipping plugin for WordPress. This allows you to import products directly from AliExpress into your WooCommerce shop.
This is a great way to create an online dropshipping boutique without actually storing the products, managing inventory, or worrying about shipping products.
Bonus tip: Another popular business model for online purchases is to set up an Amazon affiliate shop. This allows you to promote third-party products in your boutique store and send customers out for a commission. You can read our guide on how to build an Amazon affiliate store with WordPress.
4. LiveChat and ChatBot
LiveChat is one of the best live chat software out there.
This enables you to offer your customers real-time support from your laptop, tablet and mobile device. You can add your team members to speed up responses.
They also have a second product called ChatBot that allows you to create intelligent workflows to automatically answer customer questions and increase sales.
5. Constant contact
Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing services out there.
They allow you to connect with your customers via email to send them product updates, new offers, and get them to buy more.
Constant Contact has all the powerful features like autoresponders, A / B testing, WooCommerce integration, personalized email automation and much more.
Alternative: If you're looking for a constant contact alternative, we recommend Drip for Pro users and Sendinblue as a generally good alternative.
6. Learn more about WordPress to expand your shop
WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners. Our main goal is to provide helpful and easy-to-follow WordPress tutorials for small business owners, bloggers, and non-technical WordPress site builders. You can find out more about us here.
To learn more about WordPress, we recommend starting with the following:
- WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place to search for WordPress terms. We explain everything beginner-friendly.
- WPBeginner Videos – New to WordPress? Check out our videos to master WordPress.
- WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all of our WordPress tutorials.
We also have a guide that shows users how to get the most out of WPBeginner's free resources.
Many of our users enter their question in Google and just add wpbeginner at the end. This shows them the most helpful answer to their question.
For further help and assistance, we recommend joining our free Facebook group, WPBeginner Engage. It has more than 65,000 members and is focused on helping beginners and non-techies get even further with WordPress.
You can also subscribe to the WPBeginner YouTube channel. We regularly share helpful WordPress video tutorials.
7. FAQs on Creating an Online Boutique Store
After helping thousands of people start their online store, we have answered many questions. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about creating an ecommerce website.
Do I need a business plan or license to sell online?
No, you don't need a business license to sell online. You can start out as a sole proprietorship, which is what most people do.
Once your business gets going, you can register an official LLC, corporation, or limited liability company based on your country / jurisdiction.
By reducing these upfront costs and obstacles, you can get started faster.
How do I choose the best products for my online shop?
All boutique owners need to think about their target audience as it will have a huge impact on your overall success.
For example, an online clothing store for 20 year olds might sell geeky t-shirts. An online fashion boutique for retired boomers could focus on practical yet stylish casual wear.
We have a detailed guide on how to choose the best products to sell online.
You can also play the dropshipper playbook and expand your product collection using a dropshipping plugin. This way you can sell products without inventory problems.
How can I make more sales?
You can get more sales from your ecommerce website by building an email list, growing your social media followers, or even partnering with influencers.
You can also use more advanced marketing strategies such as: B. the retargeting of visitors who leave products in their shopping cart.
As with any retailer, you need to be careful to measure your marketing effort and keep track of what is working. Remember, your online business competes with many other online stores like eBay and wholesalers. So you need to think about how to make your shop stand out.
Do I have to collect sales tax?
You may need to collect sales tax depending on where you live. You can find details about this on the website of your local authority.
There are WooCommerce plugins that can handle the sales tax for you.
Can I calculate shipping separately?
Yes, you can absolutely add the shipping costs at your WooCommerce checkout. There are plugins that can automatically calculate shipping costs based on the user's address.
You can also use the advanced coupon plugin mentioned above to offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount to encourage higher purchases.
Can I sell my products in bulk / wholesale?
Yes, you can absolutely sell your products in bulk at lower prices. Although WooCommerce doesn't offer this functionality by default, you can use the Wholesale Suite for WooCommerce plugin to sell your products in bulk.
For example, if you have an online clothing store, you can offer wholesale suppliers a separate login, volume discounts, and order form so they can place large orders at the same time.
How do I start my online boutique?
Starting a new business can feel daunting, but all you have to do is work through our guide, step by step.
First, think about your ideal customer, then register a domain name and hosting account.
We strongly recommend using Bluehost's WooCommerce hosting to keep your startup costs as low as possible. The setup process is straightforward and takes no more than 30 minutes.
Plus, WordPress + WooCommerce is the best website builder for your online store.
Start your online boutique shop today »
Are there other ecommerce platforms for boutiques?
Yes, besides WooCommerce there are several other ecommerce platforms that you can use such as B. Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, etc.
We did an in-depth comparison of the best ecommerce platforms.
However, we always recommend users to use WooCommerce as it is flexible, affordable, and easy to use.
We hope this article has helped you start an online boutique shop that is driving sales. You might also like our articles on How to Grow Your Online Business and Track WooCommerce Conversions for More Sales.
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