Have you been thinking about starting your online boutique store for months, creating a business plan, and endlessly browsed product suppliers to find just the right goods to sell? Have you thought of a catchy brand name and want to make your dream online boutique a reality?
If you’re ready to get down to business and start designing your online boutique store, we’ve got six important elements you must consider before you begin.
Starting an online boutique – compared to an in-person store – comes with a few specific elements that can make or break your success. Without considering these six aspects, you may end up with an online store with low traffic and conversion rates. Let’s ensure you create an online boutique your customers flock to and purchase from time and time again.
Choose the Right Domain Name & URL
Your domain name and URL will make up your boutique’s address on the internet. It’s how your customers will find you online, so if your address is convoluted, hard to remember, or too long, your customers may get frustrated and stop trying to get to your store.
Consider your brand name and try to incorporate it into your domain name. If you already have a brick-and-mortar location, you may decide to use that name. Here are a few things to consider:
- Your domain name must be easy to remember: It should be catchy and short. If you say it to someone, they should easily recall it days from now. Ideally, the domain name should be no more than one or two words, followed by the domain name extension (what comes after the dot).
- Pick a catchy top-level domain (TLD): The text that goes after the dot in your domain is the top-level domain. For example, com, .de, and .ca are popular TLDs. Popular domains will likely have a lot of competition, but they’re not your only options. There are hundreds of TLDs you can choose from, such as .store. Just make sure that the domain will appeal to your target market.
- Your domain name must be easy to spell: Wordplay is cute, but using it can make it difficult for people to spell your domain name, especially if it includes a homophone (a word that sounds like another word but is spelled differently). For example, “mat” and “matte” sound exactly alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. If your domain name was “mattedesigns.com,” someone may misspell it as “matdesigns.com” and not arrive at your online boutique.
- Don’t use any special characters: Your URL needs to be clean and simple without any special characters like “$” or “&.” Using numbers can also be problematic in URLs and make them look spammy, turning website visitors off.
- Consider your URL translated into other languages: If you plan on doing business in countries where your customers may speak a different language, ensure that your domain name is not considered rude, vulgar, or problematic in that language.
Know That Shoppers Buy With Their Eyes
Just like in a brick-and-mortar store, your customers buy with their eyes before they buy with their wallet. This means you need to make your products look appealing with an attractive website design and online store to capture your shoppers’ attention. You can start with an online store template in your website builder, or, depending on your web design skills and expertise, you could design one from scratch.
Regardless of whether you use a template or not, here are some elements you must pay attention to:
- Have a gorgeous product gallery: Professional photography is the key to making your products shine online. The website design for your online boutique also needs to highlight those photos in a clean, easy-to-navigate, and beautifully curated gallery. Make it easy for your visitors to see what you offer.
- Keep the focus on your merchandise: Website design is both a science and an art. With online boutiques, it’s vital to not distract from your goods with intrusive designs or colours that don’t complement your products.
- Ensure a consistent design aesthetic: Your design must flow from your brand and domain name so that you create a cohesive and professional look. For example, if your brand is for vintage clothing, having a very contemporary website design may create a visual disconnect.
Use SEO & Conversion Content
In your online boutique website design, the words you use play an important role. Search engine optimization is a critical way for online boutiques to attract traffic from search engines. Consider what your prospects are searching for online and incorporate those keywords into your website’s content. Plus, use a web host well-known for having an SEO-plugin ecosystem that you can use to give your website a traffic boost, such as WordPress.
But search engines are not the only things crawling your site – people are too. That’s why you need to use a mix of SEO and conversion content. Conversion content is designed to encourage website visitors to take action, such as click on a button, purchase a product, or sign up for your newsletter. Make sure your website design incorporates both SEO and conversion content.
Keep Checkout Smooth & Streamlined
Checkout is the most critical aspect of your online boutique website design. If it’s difficult for your customers to make an online purchase, they will likely abandon their cart and never return. Your website design must have a smooth and streamlined checkout process so website visitors can quickly turn into paying customers.
- Provide multiple payment options: In addition to accepting multiple credit and debit cards, having a digital wallet payment option (such as PayPal) is also important.
- Don’t ask for too many details: If you force a website visitor to give you unnecessary information that you don’t need to close the transaction, they may lose interest and leave.
- Ensure your checkout works properly: Frequently test the checkout process yourself to ensure it’s working effectively. The steps to complete the checkout should require only a few clicks.
Don’t Forget About the Mobile User
Many of your online boutique store visitors will come to you from their mobile phones instead of their laptops or tablets. This means that you must consider the mobile view when designing your website. A web host like HostPapa will help you optimize the mobile experience like WordPress.
With mobile design, the visitors prefer to scroll rather than click. Because of this, you should have longer pages with multiple product options, rather than forcing the user to go to a different page to see another product.
Because the mobile screen is small, images and text must be large and spaced out enough, so they’re easy to see and click. Avoid using scroll over text or pop-ups because they’re not mobile user-friendly. Be sure to test your online checkout on mobile to ensure it’s seamless through that channel as well.
Ensure Reliability & a Secure User Experience
It’s vital to go with a web host that offers a 99%+ uptime guarantee. This means that your website will always be online and available for your customers to visit. With a lower reliability rating, you risk your website being down when your customers want to make a purchase, costing you sales.
When you’re asking your customers for personal data, such as their name, address, and credit card information, you must offer a secure user experience. If your website was ever hacked and your customers’ data was released or stolen, it would be devastating to your brand – and your customers would lose their trust in you.
Opt for a website host that offers a free SSL certificate, auto-detection and removal for malware, an advanced firewall, and spam filtering, among other security features. This way, your website – and your customers’ information – stays safe.
Your Online Boutique Awaits
Ready to bring your online boutique to life? You can get started while saving on your capital investment. Check out HostPapa’s WordPress for Online Boutiques offer here, and use the code HPBOUTIQUE to get an additional 15% discount on your package. You’ll be able to create a stunning online boutique store on the WordPress platform – with the features you need to attract website visitors and convert them into paying customers.
Please note that the pricing in this blog post is current as of the date of publication and is subject to change at any time.