How to Create a Successful Online Fashion Boutique

You’ve put your heart and soul into the creative designs for your clothing brand. Now you need to find the right online audience for your amazing garments and make it as easy as possible for them to buy your work. But where do you start if you’ve never sold fashion online before?

Start with WordPress.com

WordPress.com offers you all the tools you need to build your digital boutique, without having to know any intricate details about programming. It’s easy to get started, no matter your experience level, with an intuitive interface and detailed tutorials.

Building a WordPress.com site means that you’re in complete control of how your products are presented and you own everything you create. If you use a third-party platform to sell your designs, you’ll sacrifice a great deal of creative control and may even pay a hefty commission. Plus, you’re at the mercy of those providers — they can take down your site at any time.

Here are the essential steps to create a fashion store on WordPress:

1. Choose a Great Theme

Once you’ve chosen a domain and purchased a WordPress business or eCommerce plan, you’ll need to pick a theme. As the name suggests, a theme is all about the design of your site. It impacts how your site will look and feel and, most importantly, how your customers will interact with it.

If you’re a complete beginner, you may want to choose a theme that has lots of ready-built templates. This gives you an almost instant website, where you just need to change the text and images to match your own brand.

If you’re a little more confident with WordPress, you can select a theme that has lots of customizable options, giving you complete creative control — not just over the content of your website but every aspect of how it’s styled.

You can always switch your theme later if you find that the first one you work with doesn’t quite fit your needs. This flexibility is what makes WordPress so easy to use — you can change course if you need to.

Here are some themes you might like to try on for your online fashion store:

  • Coitoire: has beautiful grid layouts perfect for featuring photos of your clothing.
  • Fifth Avenue: is super customizable, with a bold but simple layout.
  • Emoly: is modern and classic, with a feminine touch. 

2. Create Pages

Now that your site’s design is in place, you want to start populating it with content. Pages are where you place key information about your business that’s likely to be relatively static, compared to posts which may be more immediate and time-sensitive.

Kemo Sabe’s About page, built with WordPress and WooCommerce

Your online boutique needs to tell prospective customers all about your brand and why your designs are so highly desirable. Potential customers will also want to know all the details about who you are, where you are, and how they can get in touch with you. You might consider including the following pages to help your fans navigate:

  • Contact: Give customers ways to get in touch, like a phone number, email address, or contact form.
  • About: Provide details about your business and why you do what you do.
  • FAQs: Answer helpful questions about materials, sizing, sourcing, returns, and more.

You can use menus and submenus to create layers of information so that interested visitors can drill down into more detailed content. For example, your About page might give some basic information about who you are and the collections you design. But you could also have a series of subpages that detail this year’s Spring/Summer collection or give more information about your signature garment.

WordPress has an ingenious way to put together professional-looking pages. The WordPress block editor makes it simple to format text, images, and other content in a manner that suits your brand. Choose from a range of “blocks” to insert different types of content and then use tools to adapt them to fit your chosen style. Bold headings, engaging paragraph text, image galleries, and even embedded videos are just a few clicks away with this intuitive interface.

3. Install WooCommerce

Now you’ve piqued your customers’ interest with a beautiful website full of useful information, so you can close the deal by setting up store functionality. WooCommerce is the eCommerce leg of WordPress, and adds the ability to upload products, accept payments, charge for shipping, and more.

If you selected an eCommerce plan, WooCommerce comes pre-loaded, but if you have a business plan, you’ll need to install it yourself.

4. Add Products

Next, add your products to your storefront. You can choose between simple and variable products, depending on what you sell. 

Simple products are for those that only have one version — such as a hat that’s a standard size and color. Variable products allow for multiple options — like shirts that come in different colors or both long and short sleeves. 

You’ll also have the chance to:

  • Set a featured image to showcase your product as well as supporting images that show different angles or details. 
  • Write both a short summary and a longer description for potential customers who want to know every specification. 
  • Determine what price to charge and set a sale price. 
  • List inventory for each product (or variation) so you can keep track of your items and never oversell. 
  • Add shipping information like dimensions and weight to calculate shipping rates.

Looking for more information? Check out detailed documentation for adding products.

Tips to Find Success Online

Once your site’s built, it’s time to find customers! Here are some ways to catch the eyes of your target audience and stand out from competitors. 

1. Feature Excellent Product Photos

You’re a creative designer — we don’t need to tell you that image is everything. You can’t skip high-quality photos of your products. 

The best way to encourage someone to buy your clothing is to help them imagine how it would look on them. Offer a range of different angles and give close-ups of interesting details so your customers know exactly what they’re buying. Take images of your clothing on models in varying poses and settings. 

You may not be able to hire a professional when you start, so from the equipment you need to lighting tips and software shortcuts, learn how to take professional-quality product photos at home!

2. Write High-Quality Content

You may have heard of search engine optimization and how it can eventually bring lots of free, targeted traffic to your site. And while it involves a lot of moving pieces, the cornerstone of ranking on search engines like Google is to create high-quality content. 

Not everything you write needs to be a sales pitch. Instead, focus on things your audience will find interesting and helpful. Talk about your creative process, present ideas for DIY wardrobe improvements, or discuss current trends or upcoming changes in the industry. 

A blog from BAM Bamboo Clothing, a store built with WooCommerce and WordPress

Search engine rankings are highly competitive, so it will help to narrow your focus as much as possible. If you primarily sell velvet jackets and are based in Dallas, Texas you might write about things like: 

  • What inspired you to make velvet jackets
  • Where you source your materials
  • The different kinds of velvet jackets you need in hot Dallas weather
  • Your favorite suppliers in Dallas
  • Top jacket trends you’ve seen around Dallas 
  • Interviews with other Dallas trend makers and designers who make complementary items 

Almost anything you might share on social media can be turned into a longer version and posted as a blog post. Listen to your audience, answer their questions, and write the kind of material that you’d want to read. 

A great thing about blog posts is that they not only serve to bring search engine traffic to your site, but you can use the content in multiple ways like sharing it on social media or including it in an email newsletter

WordPress is inherently a blogging platform, so you have a strategic advantage when it comes to blending content with an online store. Start writing and find your voice! 

3. Incorporate Social Media

Social media tools, especially platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, are filled with fellow fashionistas. Don’t become a salesperson, but instead harness the same lessons as your blog posts! 

Create helpful, interesting, and attention-grabbing social media posts that feature your work, custom stylings, or even just examples of some of your favorite items from other creators! 

Gaining a following can be a lot of work, but genuine followers will already have a sense of trust and respect for what you do. It’s a great way to get your pieces in front of your target audience for a relatively low cost. But even more importantly, use it as a platform to collaborate with other designers to share your reach and to stay top of mind with your audience. 

WordPress.com has a ton of social tools to integrate this powerful medium with your site. For example, you can use the Social Icons Block to guide site visitors to your social profiles with just a click.

Learn more about integrating social media on your WordPress site

Social media and blog content aren’t the only tools to market your brand. You might also consider experimenting with paid search engine marketing. This method will bring you immediate traffic by putting you at the top of the results for search terms you target, but you’ll pay for every click. It’s a great way to learn more about your potential audience and ways to improve your site.

Start slow and then continually measure your results and make improvements to get the most from this form of paid advertising. While it probably won’t be profitable immediately, you can make a great return on investment with the right campaigns. 

Create Your Online Fashion Boutique With the Power of WordPress

If you have a vision (and we know you do), you can make it happen with WordPress.com. It’s the best way to build a virtual storefront that you fully own. Keep control of your brand (and keep more profits) by cutting out third-party merchants. With a massive library of plugins, you can customize your store and integrate with tons of helpful tools. For a full guide with information about everything from shipping to taxes, check out How to Start a Thriving eCommerce Business from WooCommerce.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The WordPress.com Team

At WordPress.com, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on WordPress.com. Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

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