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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Boutique Website

April 21, 2021 12:57

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Boutique Website20 tips for setting up your boutique website

So you’ve decided to start a boutique? Yass! Congrats! There’s NOTHING more rewarding than starting something of your own, following your dream, and creating the sort of business only you could put out in the world. (Not to mention finally getting to be your own boss instead of letting other people boss you around!)


But here’s the thing… there are a lot of factors you’ll have to figure out before you start selling, like…


What you’re going to sell…


How you’re going to get it…


Who you’re going to sell it to…


And maybe most importantly, WHERE you’re going to sell it.


Maybe you’ve always had the dream of opening your own in-person boutique, with customers lining up outside the door, all of your inventory beautifully on display, and loads of foot traffic making it easy to attract new customers.


Or maybe an online boutique is more your style, allowing you to work from home on your own terms, market your boutique through social media, and ship out orders late at night when the kids are asleep and you’re still hard at work on your dream.


women business owner in her boutique

Why Create a Website for My Boutique?

No matter your business plan (and your business goals!) setting up an attractive, easy-to-navigate boutique website can help make it easier to close sales, market your products, and even find new customers.


If you have an in-person boutique, it can help you attract customers who prefer to shop online or expand your reach across the country.


If you’re sticking to 100% online, your website is essentially your virtual storefront – and even if you’re used to selling via Facebook Live or IG, having a great website can make your business look that much more professional and trustworthy. (Just like it is, of course!)


But there’s a big difference between a website that seals the deal & drives revenue… and one that makes your customers close the tab, head straight over to Amazon instead, and never return.


We have some good news – you don’t have to be an expert web developer to make a gorgeous website. (Not these days, anyway!) With eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace, you can set up a boutique website in a matter of hours. No coding or designing required!


Read on for 20 tips for setting up your boutique website – so you can start selling online and shipping orders out to excited customers ASAP.


girl working on laptop with a smirk


  1. Choose a good platform

Your boutique website has the power to instantly communicate a lot about your business. The design and functionality will influence how your customers perceive your brand – if it’s difficult to navigate, unattractive, or so cheaply designed that it looks like it might be trying to steal their credit card info… well, let’s just say you might not get as many sales as you could otherwise.


eCommerce platforms make it easy to create a professional-looking website even if you don’t have any web design skills. They do cost money, so you’ll want to find a sweet spot that gets you the features you’re looking for at a price you’re comfortable paying. You might want to look into platforms like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, or Square if you’re looking to build an online store. If you’re selling handmade goods, Etsy might be a better option. If you’re interested in just selling a few pieces here and there to start, Poshmark or even eBay might be worth looking into.


Learn more about how to choose an eCommerce platform for your boutique website here.

business person using iPhone calculator

  1. Price it out

A boutique website may be cheaper than paying rent for a permanent location at your local mall, but it isn’t free. You’ll need to take the recurring costs of hosting, domain names, website platform fees, and transaction fees into account before creating your site. Consider those costs along with inventory and marketing budgets and figure out what you can realistically afford to pay, especially when you’re just starting out.


Learn how much it costs to start an online boutique here.

  1. Choose the right name

Your boutique’s name isn’t everything, but it’s still an important part of your overall brand and persona. If you haven’t come up with a name for your boutique yet, try and choose a name that’s recognizable, descriptive, and easy to understand, ideally with a domain name that’s available and affordable. (For more advice on how to choose a name for your boutique, click here!) If you already have a name for your boutique, use GoDaddy to see what sort of associated domain names are available. 


papers with color palettes and style guides

  1. Keep the design on-brand

I know we said you didn’t have to be a designer to set up your website… and that still stands! But keeping your design COHESIVE throughout your website and other marketing assets makes your brand more memorable and recognizable. 


So if you mostly sell brightly colored hair accessories… maybe don’t have your website be 100% black and white. (Unless it’s a choice to make your accessories stand out!) Or if you sell high-end, sophisticated eveningwear… maybe don’t have your website colors be hot pink & orange. Choose colors, fonts, and website templates thoughtfully. 


  1. Get some help

Sure, it’s possible to do it all on your own… but plenty of people specialize in web development, logo design, copywriting, and other aspects of putting together a great website. 


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of your website to-dos (or if you’ve told yourself for MONTHS that you’d have your boutique website up and running by now, but you come up with an excuse every time you sit down to do it!), maybe it’s time to enlist some help. Ask a friend, hire a freelancer, or assign a few tasks to your business partner. It’s possible to find help even with a limited budget.


Learn more about how to find and hire extra help here.

working on business website

  1. Tell your story

Your homepage, your about page, even your website footers all give you the chance to tell the story of your brand and how your products will fit into your customers’ lives.


If you’re all about helping women feel more confident about their bodies, use every opportunity to tell that story. If your brand is all about making beauty more affordable, explain how your products are both accessible and fabulous. Telling the story will make your brand promises more convincing and memorable. 


  1.  Make checkout easy

The process between “add to cart” and “complete my purchase” should be as smooth and straightforward as possible. Because if a customer’s already on the fence… something as small as unclear buttons or a glitchy shipping calculator could be enough to make them click away. Make sure your shopping cart is easy to navigate to, add-to-cart buttons are clear, and the entire process feels secure.


women holding phone and credit card

  1. Accept convenient payment methods

Research shows that as many as 50% of customers who can’t use their preferred method of payment simply won’t complete a purchase. The eCommerce payment methods you offer on your site can make a big difference in sales. Accepting payment methods like Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay can make the checkout process more convenient for your customers. 


Learn more about payment providers here.


  1. Put your products front and center

Your products should be the star of the show. Showcase your products in the very best light, with high-quality, on-brand photos. (Learn a few tips about how to take better product photos here!) Add product descriptions that explain the benefits of your products and allow your customers to really picture how they might use or wear them in their everyday life.

laptop with website banner on screen

  1. Use banners 

Add banners to the top of your site to keep your customers up to date about special offers & perks, no matter what page they navigate to. You can highlight the minimum order threshold to qualify for free shipping, limited-time BOGO offers, sitewide discounts, etc. Just be sure to update it frequently so you’re not advertising deals that have already passed.

  1. Capture emails

Use your website to capture customer info so you can advertise to them long after they complete their purchase or click away. Add a popup or a footer allowing your customers to sign up for your mailing list. No need to send them tons of emails (in fact, it’s probably best if you don’t!), but this will give you a great resource to advertise promotions & new arrivals. Consider offering a one-time promo code when they sign up for your list as an incentive!


Learn more email marketing tips here.


women scrolling on e-commerce website

  1. Clear navigation

Make it easy to shop new products, get answers to questions, and view the shopping cart with a clear navigation menu at the top of the site. You can make it even easier for your customers to find what they’re looking for by grouping products by category, by season, or by style.


  1. Answer questions

You have two options: you can answer every question that comes your way, or you can create an FAQ page that answers your customers’ questions for you before they even come up. (Though to be honest, you might still get some questions asked, and that’s okay!) Write up an FAQ page answering common questions about restocks, sizing, returns, collaborations, and anything else your customers often reach out to you about.


women packing box for shipment

  1. Explain shipping policies

When it comes to shipping, surprises usually aren’t a good thing. Create a page (or a section on your FAQ page) that clearly outlines shipping timelines, costs, methods, and boundaries as well as policies for returns and exchanges. If regular timelines may be affected by COVID-19, explain that as well. Be honest and transparent – it’s better to deliver a package earlier than expected than to make promises you can’t keep. 


  1. Keep it simple

Did you know that 55% of all page views get less than 15 seconds of attention? As you design and write words for your website, keep people’s short attention spans in mind. Make the text easy to skim, use visuals to tell the story, and keep the design clean instead of cluttered. Less is more!


scrolling on mobile e-commerce website

  1. Optimize for mobile

You may be designing your website on your laptop, but keep in mind that mobile devices account for about half of all website traffic. Make sure your website looks as great on mobile as it does on your computer screen. Again, less is more here! Many eCommerce platforms allow you to see how your design will look on a phone as you go.


  1. Be accessible

Make it easy for a customer to contact you and ask questions. Consider adding a chat feature to your website to answer frequently asked questions quickly and adding a contact form for trickier questions. Be sure to list an email address as well for customers who prefer to reach out that way.


pink search bar

  1. Add a search feature

Especially if you have tons of products, adding a search bar can make it easier for your customers to find exactly what they’re looking for and filter by size, category, color, etc. 


  1. Add testimonials and product reviews

Did you know that the average customer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision? Social proof is so important… because let’s be honest, your customers are a more reliable, unbiased source than you are! Allow customers to leave honest ratings and product reviews. If you receive a negative review, don’t just ignore it or delete it – respond to it and address the issue.


Learn how to get more reviews on your boutique website here.


working on business plan on laptop and notebook

  1. Make a plan to drive traffic

It doesn’t matter how perfect your website is if no one ever sees it! Consider how you’ll drive customers to your site. Keep SEO (search engine optimization) in mind as you write content for your website, thinking about what interested customers might search for and using those keywords. Create an email marketing plan to keep subscribers coming back to your website. Use social ads and posts to send people to your shop.


Remember – your website doesn’t have to be perfect before you launch it. As your boutique grows, your website will change along with it. Done is better than perfect – keep these tips in mind as you create your website, but don’t let perfectionism get in the way of making your site live and accepting online orders!


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