Starting up or restocking a women’s online boutique can be both an exciting and frightening task, as the items you purchase can possibly make or break your business. Purchase the right merchandise mix and the items could fly off your store shelves. Buy the wrong things and your boutique could be stuck with inventory that won’t move. In addition to merchandise, a boutique will need fixtures, software and other supporting items to help make it successful.
- Know Your Customers
When purchasing the clothing for your boutique, keep your typical or target customer in mind. If she is a woman in her mid-30s, don’t buy merchandise geared for teenagers, no matter how cute or tempting. Keep your target customer’s price range also in mind while selecting merchandise for your boutique. Follow the lead of the successful specialty stores and try to keep your boutique’s focus on a specific age group, income level and style, rather than trying to appease all fashion tastes and price levels.
Purchasing the proper display cases, mannequins and sales racks will show off your boutique’s items to their best advantage. Look for items that will enhance your store’s image. For example, old-fashioned full mannequins may give your store a dated look, while an abstract, headless mannequin would work well in a boutique that sells cutting-edge fashions. Look for display cases, shelves and sales racks that will also echo your store’s style. Cool stylish steel display cases, for instance, would work for a trendy store, while oak shelving works better in a country chic boutique. Consider purchasing some of these items used to save money.
Many boutiques sell accessories such as jewelry, belts, scarves, stockings and even shoes in addition to clothing. When purchasing these types of items for your boutique, look for pieces that will complement the clothing being sold in your store. Do not be tempted by items, no matter how pretty or flashy, that will not be a good match for your clothing line either fashion-wise or price-wise. Such items will be more difficult to sell to your target audience and cost you money in the long run.
There are a number of other items, in addition to fashion and fixtures, that you will need to purchase for your boutique. These may include such things as blank sales tags, tagging guns, plastic fasteners, cash registers and hangers. Determine also if you will be having your staff members wear a uniform of sorts, even if it is just a t-shirt with your store’s name on it. In addition, you will need to acquire payroll and bookkeeping software to keep your business on track.