How to Start an Online Boutique With 9 Free Process Checklists

how-to-start-an-online-boutiqueWhen was the last time you actively went shopping? More to the point, when was the last time you bought something without checking it out online first?

Exactly.

Welcome to the retail apocalypse.

Or, in less dramatic terms, the demise of brick-and-mortar shops as the world shifts to buying online.

Where opportunities lie, entrepreneurs will pounce. That’s why at least part of ecommerce’s success can be attributed to people quickly learning how to start an online boutique, grocery delivery service, and so on.

Let’s take a look at some figures.

Evidently, it is true. The retail apocalypse is upon us. Fortunately, we at Process Street are here to provide you with the tools to build your doomsday bunker. We have created 9 superpowered checklists that will ensure that you are equipped and ready to ride the wave of retail Armageddon.

If you’re just here for a checklist to use when learning how to start an online boutique, check out our free Business Plan checklist below!

Feel free to jump to a specific section of this post by clicking on the relevant subheader below. Or, just keep on scrolling.

Alternatively, if you are already clued up on online boutiques and are ready to get stuck in, sign in to Process Street and start creating within Process Street.

(Sign up for a free trial here, if you’re not yet a Process Street user)

The links below will direct you to the section of this post that contains your desired checklist:

Now, it’s time to start building your doomsday bunker.

Let’s get started!

What is an online boutique?

boutique items
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An online boutique or e-boutique is an online store or storefront. The term boutique originates from the French word “shop”, which derives ultimately from the Greek ἀποθήκη (apothēkē) or “storehouse”. Nowadays, boutiques are often stereotyped as bougie stores that sell luxury items; however, technically speaking, there is no limit to what a boutique can sell.

Considering all the stats featured previously in this post (that show a massive shift to buying online) you’d expect everyone to be jumping on the ecommerce bandwagon. Spoiler alert: they are.

In fact, there are between 12 to 24 million ecommerce sites in the world. This broad estimation is down to the fact that there is no crystal clear definition of ecommerce. Contrary to common understanding ecommerce is not simply buying or selling a product/service online.

Ecommerce can include businesses that sell their own products online, marketplace companies like eBay or Amazon, or sites that have a shopping cart but don’t actually sell anything. Still, even if we were to run off of the lower end of that estimation, 12 million ecommerce sites are still a substantial amount of competition.

This is why in order to compete with the big fish like Amazon you’ll need to find your niche. It is also why taking the online boutique approach could be your answer.

But don’t take our word for it; in 2015 retail scholar Elisha Cummins argued that those who opt for a boutique approach strive to compete on services and quality, rather than on price and selection. Evidently, the time-old tale of quality over quantity stands synonymous with boutique shopping.

Ultimately, online boutiques fill a need Amazon doesn’t. Amazon, and any other large scale online retail sites are functional and useful when we know exactly what we want. However, for all the times that we are unsure of what we are searching for – an online boutique is likely to be the solution.

Supposedly, a good boutique knows what their customer wants before they know it themselves. This is because there is a difference between shopping and buying. Yes, Amazon is a good option for buyers. Boutiques on the other hand, with their focus on customer service and high standards, are much more likely to fill a shopper’s needs.

What to know before launching your online boutique

Launching an online boutique
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Although starting an online boutique can feel intimidating, the process can be made much more digestible when you take things one step at a time. The first step is to think about a couple of important fundamentals for launching any ecommerce store.

1: What type of boutique product you’re are going to sell

Boutique items can be anything from chic apparel to wacky niche products like the ones sold at Prank Place.

When considering which products to stock start by taking a look at some of your competitor’s products or have a look through some storefront platforms like Shopify or Etsy.

You could also check out this Process Street Product Launch Checklist for some guidance:

2: Which platform to use to host your online store

There are heaps of options to choose from when deciding where to host your online boutique. We already mentioned some of the lead players Shopify and Etsy, but there are also some other options such as Volusion or Zyro.

If you do choose to run with Shopify then we have a set-up process checklist which you can access here.

Now, with your storefront sorted and product ideas blooming it’s time to get the ball rolling on your business venture.

starting an online boutique
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How to start an online boutique: 9 free checklists

Business Plan Checklist

The first step in starting your online boutique (or any business) is to get your ideas down on paper by writing a business plan. This Business Plan Checklist will help you transform all of those brilliant ideas for your boutique into a coherent, organized, and professional plan. The checklist will guide you in taking the appropriate steps to enable your online boutique to thrive and blossom.

Small Business Economics found that entrepreneurs that take the time to turn their idea into a structured plan are 152% more likely to start their business. Having a business plan will add legitimacy to your idea. It will serve as an actionable document for you to run off and refer back to as you build your boutique and brand.

Click here to get the Business Plan Checklist!

Brand Strategy Template Checklist

Your brand is the philosophy of your online boutique. It represents what you stand for, it is the voice and personality of your business.

This Brand Strategy Template is a branding guide; a strategy; and an audit, all rolled into one simple checklist.

Regardless as to whether you are looking to design your online boutique’s brand from scratch, or strategically find your brand’s voice and personality; or even perform a brand audit on your products to ensure they align with your branding… We got you.

Here are some fun facts that highlight the importance of good branding when creating a successful online boutique:

This brand strategy template will guide you in creating and maintaining an authentic and aesthetically pleasing brand that your customers trust.

Remember: Auditing your brand on a regular basis is essential in ensuring that you are communicating effectively and consistently!

Click here to get the Brand Strategy Template!

Amazon Trends Analysis Checklist

Use this Amazon Trends Analysis Checklist to find products that both align with your boutique’s branding and are popular amongst consumers. Ultimately, this checklist will help you capitalize on fast-moving industry trends and bump sales for your online boutique!

This Amazon Trends Analysis Checklist will help you to unearth the products that are trending online by looking at popular stores, industry blogs, YouTube channels, and so on. It will also guide you in using tools, such as Google Trends and Ahrefs to find upcoming trends before the market becomes saturated with the product.

Click here to get the Amazon Trends Analysis Checklist!

Monthly Cash Flow Plan Checklist

Another essential part of starting your online boutique is assessing your financial situation. Assessing your cash flow is about load balancing, something that is vital for any business big or small.

Cash flow planning helps you to be aware of exactly what is coming in and going out of your accounts. This allows you to make sure that your payments are planned efficiently and that your bank balance never falls into the red 🛑. Generating a monthly cash flow report will allow you to take action to ensure that your finances are always in order.

The primary concern of the Monthly Cash Flow Plan is to present an overview of the financial activity experienced by your business throughout the month. Generating a cash flow report every month enables you to compare data over time and plan for the future of your online boutique.

In this checklist, you’ll be guided through the structure and method of creating a monthly cash flow plan. The final report generated from this checklist, along with the income statement and balance sheet, all contribute to your boutique’s financial statement or annual report.

Click here to get the Monthly Cash Flow Plan Checklist!

Social Media Report Template Checklist

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?” – Erik Qualman, How Well Do You Do Social Media?

Navigating the seas of social media can often be confusing. With so many social networks to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Nevertheless, Erik Qualman is right, if you want your online boutique to thrive then you need to do social media, and you will need to do it well.

Fortunately, with the help of our superpowered checklists, your social media could become one of your key revenue drivers.

This Social Media Report Template Checklist will help you set-up and keep track of how each of your social channels is performing. Once you have each platform up and running, refer back to this checklist on a monthly basis to create your social media report.

Click here to get the Social Media Report Template!

Ecommerce SEO Checklist

SEO is one of the best ways to generate traffic to your site and revenue for your online boutique.

To find out more about SEO check out one of the many Process Street blog posts about the topic: here.

There is a lot to consider when optimizing and fine-tuning a page’s SEO; from HTML tag optimization and proper formatting to meta descriptions and image alt text.

This Ecommerce SEO Checklist is built to make the process of SEO analysis as straightforward as possible. Use this checklist before a new piece of content is released or any new product launched.

Click here to get the Ecommerce SEO Checklist!

Neil Patel’s: Website Funnel Analysis Checklist

This checklist is inspired by Neil Patel‘s funnel conversion process.

We know, conversion funnels can seem a bit intimidating at first. Fortunately, however, conversion funnels, are a lot less daunting than their name suggests.

The good news is that as soon as your boutique begins selling products online, you have a conversion funnel! The task at hand once you are online is to optimize your conversion funnel – this is where we come in.

Not sure where to start? Don’t panic.

This Website Funnel Analysis Checklist will walk you through:

  • Where to start
  • The most important interaction points to test
  • The essential elements at those interaction points to test
  • The different tests you can run.

Click here to get the Website Funnel Analysis Checklist!

PPC Report Template Checklist

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Simply put, PPC is a way of driving traffic to your site through ads. It is a well-known and successful marketing technique.

In-fact, 74% of brands say PPC is a huge driver for their business.

This checklist is a monthly review checklist designed to be run at the end of each month to monitor existing PPC campaigns. If you are looking to launch new campaigns for your online boutique then check out this checklist.

Alternatively, to view all of Process Street’s PPC checklists click here: 6 Powerful PPC Management Checklists to Run Paid Ads.

This PPC Report Template Checklist was created to guide you through the most important aspects of a monthly account review. Specifically, reviewing KPI’s, campaign settings, keywords, quality score, and so on.

Use the checklist as a general framework for your monthly account review. You will want to customize this checklist to your specific requirements for PPC campaigns. Fortunately, editing checklists is a piece of cake, once you’ve signed up to Process Street (which is free by the way) and have access to this checklist simply click the “edit template” icon to make changes.

Click here to get the PPC Report Template!

Quarterly Strategic Marketing Process

The world of marketing is cut-throat and competitive and landing the best clients, the biggest names, and the best pay means keeping on top of your strategic marketing process.

Strategic marketing planning involves setting goals and objectives, analyzing internal and external business factors, product planning, implementation, and tracking your progress.

This Quarterly Strategic Marketing Process provides insight and structure to your marketing activities. Use this checklist to ensure you stay on top of your marketing strategy, branding, delivery time frames, and customer acquisition.

Click here to get the Quarterly Strategic Marketing Process Checklist!

How to establish & run a stellar boutique with Process Street

Process Street has heaps more useful checklists relating to the broader topic of ecommerce, business process management, accounting, marketing processes, SOPs, and so much more!

You can also create your very own checklist templates and run individual checklists. For a visual introduction to Process Street, check out the video below.

To find out more about some of the features that make Process Street so superpowered click on the following links:

You can check tasks off as you work through them, set deadlines, add approvals, assign tasks, and track each team member’s progress.

You can also connect to thousands of Apps through Zapier and automate your workflows even more.

Process Street is the easiest way to manage your online boutique’s tasks, procedures, and workflows.

To see Process Street in action, watch the webinar below.

Hopefully, by now your doomsday bunker should be sufficiently equipped with all the information and checklists you need to face the retail apocalypse and launch your online boutique!

However, if by chance you are wanting to get your hands on more superpowered checklists relating to ecommerce, business process management, or any topic that could be useful for the running of your online boutique – check out some of these checklists:

Extra reading material

If you would like a bit more insight into all-things business-related or anything surrounding the broader topics of ecommerce and marketing – then take a look at some of these blog posts:

And that’s your lot.

Are you thinking of starting an online boutique? Or, perhaps you already have one up and running. If so, what are your thoughts on this blog post, do you have any tips and tricks for others who are interested in starting an online boutique?🧠 Write down your comments below!

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Molly Stovold

Hey, I'm Molly, Junior Content Writer at Process Street with a First-Class Honors Degree in Development Studies & Spanish. I love writing so much that I also have my own blog where I write about everything that interests me; from traveling solo to mindful living. Check it out at mollystovold.com.


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