What to consider before adding a digital site to your boutique

By Henry Brown

The pandemic has considerably reduced foot traffic in small shops and boutiques. For small retailers, running a small shop makes it hard to balance post-pandemic fears with their revenue strategy. As the public is actively avoiding crowded areas, boutiques are left empty.

Therefore, it makes sense to reach out to your customers online. A website will enable small retailers to survive the pandemic crisis without worrying about footfall. However, it is important to ask the right questions before you launch your online presence.

What do your customers want from an e-shop?

Your online shop can be many things. It could be an extension of your existing shop, or it could be a one-to-one digitized version of your boutique. If you are going to appeal to your existing customers, you want to find out what they expect from your e-shop. It can be a good idea to run a survey with your local customers to understand their expectations.

At the same time, you also need to consider the market expectations in terms of the online boutique. Being familiar with the relevant E-commerce industry data for your location and product type can help define your strategy.

Is your branding meaningful online?

Branding is a tricky topic for a small boutique. More often than not, your shop has a unique flair through its design and name. Your online presence should be able to maintain the same flair. Yet, you are likely to face new difficulties when it comes to making your brand visible online. Indeed, while it’s easy to read a quirky font on a shop sign, this could get difficult as a small logo on a webpage. Ensuring your branding choices are readable in the online sphere will maintain your chances of being remembered.

It is also worth comparing against other online brands. Your website needs differentiation. That is where unique branding plays a huge role in establishing your online shop. A great logo that looks and feels like other brands is a wasted opportunity.

Can you appeal to international/ remote shoppers? 

Opening an online shop gives your boutique the wings it needs to reach out to a broader audience. A small shop in NYC could sell to customers that are on the other side of town, or even in another state. Your online presence brings new opportunities. But, these opportunities come at a cost, which needs to be reflected by your shipping strategy. An online boutique needs to consider the most cost-effective approach to shipping. Indeed, customers are familiar with zero shipping fee offers from big online brands. As a small boutique, you have to price your offer to remain competitive while making a profit.

Who will manage the digital shop?

An online presence offers a lifeline during the pandemic. However, your online presence also requires additional workers. Packing and shipping tasks can rapidly turn into a full-time job for a team if your online shop becomes successful. Managing your online presence also requires frequent content updates, such as a blog or a preview of your products. Online customer queries are another concern for a small boutique, as they are a time-demanding job.

In conclusion, if you are considering launching your online boutique as a pendant for your physical store, you need to be clear about your budget, branding, and strategy. An online shop is a full-time business for which you need to prepare.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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