How to Start an Online Boutique in India | Sell Designer Sarees & Apparels Online
Online shopping has become a trend now. From hairbands to toe rings – you name it, you get it! With the online shopping catching up, many individuals who were unable to set up a physical store have found a new avenue to fulfil their dream – eCommerce business. The flexibility associated with setting up an online store have attracted many. Boutiques have been one such niche which is being explored widely online. With the availability of numerous options and solutions, it is quite easy to start an online boutique in India.
Here are few steps to help you start an online boutique and sell designer sarees and apparels online.
Decide the Business Model
Although there are a number of aspects that should be known before you start an online boutique in India, many of these could be learnt on the go. Broadly put, an online store works on two basic models – self (may be referred to by different names) and drop-shipping. The model where you handle everything (from production/collection to delivery) is referred to as the self model. If you are asking the vendor to handle the production as well shipping, then it’s a drop-ship model. While drop-shipping can be an easier model to set-up, it still requires some efforts to identify the right dealers who will be interested in this model.
The next few steps involved to start an online boutique, especially that related to store (work space) set-up, packaging aspects, and courier partnership mainly depend on the business model chosen. Nevertheless, irrespective of the model chosen, you may still have to have tie-ups with packaging industries and courier services to improve your brand image.
Work on a Name and Logo
Once you have decided on the business model, you should finalise on the name of your company/ establishment and logo before you start an online boutique. If you already own a brand, then you can continue with the same brand name and logo. If you are dealing with multiple branded items, then you may need to work on an individual brand identity for yourself. The name and logo chosen should be catchy, trendy and unique. It is not necessary to have a tagline like ‘fashions’, ‘boutique’ etc. Any unique name which is easy to remember should be chosen. Also take help from a good graphic designer to get your logo designed, as this also helps in easily remembering your brand.
A unique brand and logo creates curiosity and is quickly circulated in today’s online world.
Get the Necessary Legal Works
Before you start an online boutique, you should understand that all businesses require some kind of registrations. Legal requirements including shop license, GST registration, PAN card and partnership registration (in case of partnership based establishments) will need to be addressed before you start an online boutique. You may also have to sign up a memorandum of understanding with the vendors you choose. This is especially required for the drop-shipping model. Although you may intend to run a business from home, a registered office is a must for all legal purposes. It is better to check with the local rules for a better clarity in this issue.
Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
The backbone of online or eCommerce business is the web-store or the software used to set up an online store. This is essential for listing your products, collecting payments, keeping a track of the orders and updating the details of the orders that have been shipped. The online store should have an attractive look, should be easy to browse through and simple to place the order. It should also be compatible for both desktop as well as mobile or tab.
While there are several free to use open source softwares available, you need to have a good amount of software expertise to use them to build and start an online boutique. You may also have to spend additional time in tweaking the existing features according to your requirement. There are also several companies offering to set-up an online store at throwaway prices. However, they may not offer all features at the price offered and may charge you extra for every additional feature and also for annual maintainence.
Hence, the best bet to start an online boutique would be to subscribe for a eCommerce platform plan. While there are several different options available, the one offered by Shopnix.in seems to be the best. The pricing is economical and a wide variety of themes to suit online boutique are available. Additionally, all the features required for smooth functioning of the store are available at reasonable prices. You can also try it for a period of 2 weeks for free! The eCommerce platform such as that from Shopnix.in provides a ready template. All you need are the photographs of the products you want to sell and their details. You can set up and start an online boutique within a day’s time (if you have all the details).
Once you have chosen the right eCommerce platform to start an online boutique and uploaded all the details, you are ready to go live! You can launch the portal in different ways. If you want good publicity, then you can hire a celebrity to do that for you and get wide coverage in newspaper and all other media platforms. If you want to start slow and improvise as time goes, then you can first inform your friends and family and share the link of your online boutique through email, Facebook, Whatsapp and other social media apps. You can also advertise online through Google and Facebook. It is also preferable to have a blog to get a better coverage.
Like any other products, you can definitely start an online boutique and sell designer sarees & apparels online. For better sales, make sure that – the online store is user friendly, products displayed on your online store are unique, and most importantly, you have a robust support team for queries.