By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of SuppliedShop.com. Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.
As a brand new boutique owner, you’ve got things pretty much under control… but experience is the best teacher, and you don’t have a whole lot of that under your belt yet. If you’re not careful, you’re at risk of making one (or more!) of the 10 mistakes online shop owners make without even knowing it until it’s way, way too late.
You’ve basically got two options – you can learn the hard way, or you can learn from other people who have learned the hard way.
Whether you’ve already started an online boutique or you’re planning on starting an online shop in 2021, you’re bound to get some things wrong the first time. Making mistakes is a crucial part of being an entrepreneur, and as much as you may like to believe you’re superwoman, you’re only human. And you can come back from most mistakes even stronger than before. But doing the right thing the first time whenever possible could save you hours of time you’ll never get back (and not to mention loads of $$!)
We’ll go over 10 mistakes online shop owners make when they’re getting started and what you can do to avoid them. (You’ve got this!)
1. Not having a business plan
If you don’t have a plan, you’re planning to fail. Before you start your online boutique (or at least very early on!), you’ve got to make sure your boutique is on the right track to make money. Take the time to identify the opportunity, the market, your competition, your ideal customer, what you’ll sell, and your plan to become profitable. (Chances are, you’ve already done most of the heavy lifting to identify those things, but writing it all down will help you stay on track!)
2. Pricing their items too high
High prices may be good for your margins… but they might have the opposite effect on your revenue. Pricing your items too high can alienate more price-sensitive customers. It can also make you less able to compete with similar businesses, causing casual browsers to click away and look elsewhere.
3. Pricing their items too low
On the other hand, pricing your items too low can also be a big mistake. Setting super low prices can lower the perceived value of your products and make them seem cheap, even if they’re high quality. Plus, setting your prices so low that they don’t cover your costs can even cause you to lose money… and that’s pretty much always a mistake!
4. Stressing over the details
You’ll have plenty of time to tweak things, but to get started, there are only a few things you NEED. You know, like products and a place to sell them! Sure, it’d be great to have the perfect logo and branded packaging and a business phone number… but those things can wait. The key is getting started and focusing on the things that are directly tied to profit in the beginning.
5. Neglecting customer service
It’s way easier (and more cost-effective) to retain a customer than it is to find a new one. All you need to do is to keep them happy and make sure they have an amazing experience with your shop. It can lead to future purchases, good reviews, and even referrals. So be responsive to your customers and go above and beyond for them, especially if you make a mistake.
6. Trying to focus on all social platforms
No need to do it all for Facebook, IG, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, AND TikTok – you’ll burn out pretty quickly. It’s good to have a presence on a lot of different platforms, but there’s no need to treat them all equally. Build a customized audience with a small budget by zeroing in on the platform where your audience spends the most time.
7. Trying to do everything on their own
Hate to break it to you, but you can’t do everything by yourself. Spreading yourself too thin will only cause you to feel burnt out and overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether by hiring a part-time employee, delegating marketing responsibilities to a freelancer, or hiring a nanny for a few hours a day.
8. Forgetting to focus on marketing
It doesn’t matter how awesome your products are if no one ever sees them! You’ve got to have a strategic marketing plan from day one. Don’t skimp on this – you can do it yourself, but it’ll often be more efficient and cost-effective if you leave it to the experts.
9. Not asking people who have been there before
You’re not the only one who’s ever started an online business from scratch. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who have been there before and ask them questions. Build a network that’s full of people you trust and can relate to. The Supplied Family Facebook group is a great place to start.
10. Failing to fully commit
We won’t lie to you – building your own boutique from the ground up is going to be really hard. It might be a while before you see the success you were hoping for. Don’t give up once it gets difficult. Press forward and do whatever it takes to reach your goals. That’s what separates the dreamers from the doers.
We have total faith in you! With the right attitude, tools, and mindset, it’s possible to join the ranks of thousands of successful female entrepreneurs and build a profitable online shop. As you steer clear of these common pitfalls, you’ll be able to spend your time moving forward instead of looking backward.