A Complete Guide To The Cost To Start An Online Boutique

How Much Does It Cost To Start An Online Boutique 1

With the rise of e-commerce businesses and innovative technology, many have found great opportunities to fulfill the dream of becoming successful entrepreneurs. However, there are lots of challenges to face on that journey. This article will cover the principle know-how to start an online business, focusing on answering the common question “How much does it cost to start an online boutique?”.

The Remarkable Growth Of Online Shopping And Opportunities For You

Online shopping is the purchasing and selling process that takes place on electronic platforms using the Internet. Customers can look for product information and purchase items through smartphones or other Internet-connected devices.

Along with that, vendors can access more potential customers without a traditional shop base. Thanks to the fast Internet connection, the process of opening an online business is now simplified. It makes online shopping grow stronger than ever.

The rocketing growth of online shopping

According to Grandviewreport, the value of the e-commerce market in 2019 is more than 9.09 trillion USD. The number is forecasted to continue rising at a compound annual growth rate of 14.7% in the 2020 – 2027 period.

Online shopping has enhanced its power, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when scores of layoffs and closures have occurred. Many traditional businesses have shifted their models to e-commerce businesses to survive.

The number of customers placing orders on e-commerce websites has rocketed incredibly. You can find almost everything online including clothes, smartphones, jewelry, bikes, food, etc.

growth of online shopping

Opportunities to start an online boutique

Vendors now can cut down tremendous expenses on rent, hiring staff, delivery, etc. Along with that, the managing and optimizing process is made easier with innovative software and tools. Everything can be stored and managed remotely from your devices.

You can also start your online business with social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube,… These have proven enormous effectiveness in enhancing customer engagement.

Likewise, tons of e-commerce shops pop up every day thanks to the available sources from providers such as Amazon, Shopify, Woocommerce,… that allow anyone to set up online stores and sell products within minutes.

With extensive benefits from online shopping, many people want to join the market. However, figuring out how much money you should invest in the business is tricky.

Following are considerable factors before determining the cost to start an online boutique.

Considerable Factors Before Determining The Cost To Start An Online Boutique

Target audience

Choosing the right target for your business is of great importance. Since there are many audiences, each group has distinguished demand and diversified consumption characteristics.

Selecting the right group can help optimize your budget due to the effectiveness of delivering the right product to the right people. By the same token, it allows you to work on a productive marketing strategy for a specific group of people and avoid wasting money.

In the long term, it also increases ROI (return on investment) and profit for your boutique.


With the huge competition in the market, choosing potential products requires thorough research. Analyzing and looking for the appropriate market segment is crucial. Thanks to the Internet, product research has been made easier than ever.

You can join online groups, look at different websites to research about the market: what other beginners are selling, which type of products brings profit, what makes their products stand out,…

You can jump into a big market but you need to wisely look over and pick your item. Your to-sell products should have good differentiation or upgrade to offer better benefits for customers. Recommended products for an easy start are clothes, shoes, jewelry, handmade items, cosmetics.

There are some suggested standards to consider including affordable price, easy to pack and ship, high-profit margin. Avoid those that are restricted, heavy – bulky, competitive, and complex. All of these factors will affect your cost to start an online boutique.

how much does it cost to start a boutique


This step is essential before determining the cost to run an online boutique since it relates to the fee and sales revenue you will generate.

You need to find where to get items and compare thoroughly among providers. Low cost is a priority, but it should go along with guaranteed quality. Besides, you need to make sure your provider will assure to ship and pack the correct quantity following your demand.

It is advisable to work with direct product sourcing – manufacturers rather than third-party wholesalers to cut down on cost. However, if you want to start your business creating products on your own, it is completely fine.

You also need to find the appropriate source to get components for your boutique. Available e-commerce platforms act as a helpful tool in this step.

That being said, inventory will have a big impact when you start an online boutique, so put it under thorough consideration and try to compare wisely among suppliers to save a bunch of money.

Marketing channel

After determining your products, customers and suppliers, the next part when starting an online boutique is choosing proper marketing channels.

You’d want to spend sufficient time to research and compare since it will affect the cost and performance of your business. For beginners, many choose to build fan pages on social media like Facebook, Instagram,… to list and sell products.

Having interaction with people you know first then broadens the network. This approach requires less investment but it also takes time for your business to take off.

Another common solution is to build a website or use an e-commerce platform to advertise your products and reach more people online.

You should put on a list of matters to evaluate such as how much you are willing to spend, how friendly it is for customers, how many products you can list on the platform, etc.

marketing for your boutique

Costs to start an online boutique

It is hardly possible to head down your business without any money. Following are the top costs to consider when starting an online boutique.

Inventory cost

Depending on the product and type of business you choose, the inventory cost may vary. It often starts within $1000 or even lower.

If you pick dropshipping to start your online boutique, the fee is pretty cheap or $0. Whenever a customer adds an item to their cart, the order will be directed to the provider. You do not need to spend money on package and delivery either.

However, dropshipping has several downsides. You can’t customize your items, package, or notes. It can also impact customer engagement with your products.

Besides, any late announcements about stock from the supplier can cause irritate customers since you can’t control them.

On the other hand, if you choose to hold your own inventory, you need to spend more money. There is also a difference in the cost of a local supplier and an overseas provider.

Checking out the minimum order quantity is essential so that it will not exceed your willing-to-spend budget. Besides, you should do thorough research on feedback, quality, expected delivery time from different providers to pick the right one.

how much money is needed to start an online boutique

Shipping cost

To minimize the shipping cost, you need to discuss the fee when suppliers send you items. It is advisable to negotiate with an appropriate amount and choose the right partner.

In addition, you also want to consider the cost applied when shipping items to customers. They contain packaging, tape, labels, cost of carriage depending on the product’s weight and dimension.

Marketing cost

The cost of marketing is another crucial factor affecting the overall cost when starting an online boutique. Remember to answer the essential question: who will buy your items? 

Facebook and Google ads are incredible tools to promote your products. The investment depends on your target audience volume, and you can control PPC (pay-per-click) on each product. 

Determined by your strategy setting and keywords, it will charge you from $0.25 to $1 for a click to your ads. Try to be relevant and remove unrelated audience groups to minimize the cost.

Working on delivering high-quality pictures and videos on your website and social channels is also recommended to achieve higher customer engagement. 

Overall, the cost for marketing stays between $200 – $500.

Website build and maintenance cost

As mentioned above, you need a website with mobile-friendly performance to upload your products. 

For new small boutiques, you can pick Wix, Shopify, WooCommerce to start. They often allow 14 free trial days for you to build and operate your store. After the period, you can select different offer packages and process payment.

The monthly amount ranges from $10 – $299, regulated by your choice of basic or advanced package. Besides, each payment from a customer will charge you 2-3% based on the platform. There are also many hidden costs arising in the maintenance. In the long-term, this may cause significant expenses and affect your profit.

Aside from those platforms, you can consider choosing Magento 2. As the platform is built for e-commerce, it brings an engaging experience for customers and provides a more useful management system for merchants. You’ll have 2 options – Magento Open-source (free) or Commerce version ($22,000+).

In the long run, Magento 2 offers more benefits than building stores on subscription-based software. Along with that, you can easily modify your design and upgrade features when you want to expand your business.

Tips To Optimize The Cost To Start An Online Boutique

There are many ways to minimize the total cost when heading down on an online boutique. In each step, it isn’t difficult to choose a practical yet inexpensive solution.

Negotiate with the supplier

To illustrate, in determining the inventory cost, you can reduce the price with a wise strategy. The providers often take two main points as priorities which are order amount and payment times. 

You can ask for a prepayment discount. If it works, you can save 2-5% on the charged amount. Try to communicate in a soft tone and build trust with the provider. It earns you a good relationship in the long term. 

And if the supplier offers a fixed price, you may ask to up your order amount in exchange for a lower price. You can also negotiate free shipping, bonus items, or other deals.

Use efficient package

The shipping fee depends on the item’s weight and dimension. You can save thousands of dollars each year with clever packaging choices. Every millimeter counts when it comes to product box size.

Redesigning the package is also preferred by many online boutiques. New ideas come up every day. There are lots of suppliers that provide ideal package solutions for shops that you can collaborate with.

Besides, optimizing the delivery routes can also earn you lots of money in reducing the total cost.

how to fund an online boutique

Take advantage of software

With the incredible growth of the Internet and technology, you can apply different software to optimize your business. 

You can reduce overhead costs with proper management by using a mix of productive tools. For instance, working with HubSpot Project Management Software, Toggle Plan, Trello, etc., is recommended to monitor your online boutique performance. 

Besides, there are many free yet productive applications to promote delivery, customer support, inventory management. They play essential roles in saving time and delivering high performance for your online boutique.

Choose the right eCommerce website builder

The number of website development providers in the market can make you overwhelmed. Therefore, you have to be smart when choosing a partner to build your website.

As mentioned, the Magento 2 website remains the best platform for eCommerce business due to the reasonable price and huge benefits in the long term. It enhances faster connection, mobile-friendly design, and functional features. You may want to apply this solution to your online boutique but still, do consider other factors.

It is advisable to determine your budget, priority, and features that you expect from a Magento 2 website because the cost will vary depending on your preferences. 

The right website builder should effectively bring an easy-to-use experience for customers, great features for management, and considerable support. The cost of building and maintaining a Magento 2 website for your online boutique can start from $1000 to $25000 or even more.

One of the best Magento site development providers is Tigren. They have developed hundreds of Magento sites for almost 10 years. You can choose from their e-commerce development packages, then sit back and relax. Enjoy a beautiful and optimized Magento store in only a few weeks!

The Bottom Line

Opening an online boutique is promising but requires thorough research and preparation. Here is the summary of top mentioned considerable costs to start an online boutique:

  • Inventory cost: $0 for dropshipping, $500 – $1000 for holding own inventory
  • Shipping and packaging cost: depending on item weight and dimension
  • Marketing cost: $200 – $500 for PPC campaigns on social media
  • Website build and maintenance cost: $1000 – $25000

Again, the investment cost depends on many factors, and you should work on them comprehensively to get the most efficient result for your online boutique.

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