How to Start A Pre Order Online Boutique: The Complete A-Z Guide

Starting a pre order online boutique is a great low cost way of getting into ecommerce.

A breakdown by HostPapa indicates that you can start an online boutique for an average of $3000 +/-.

This step by step guide is focused on helping you start a pre order online boutique on Shopify.

The steps we are sharing here work with any solid ecommerce platform such as BigCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, Ecwid, etc – However with a robust suite of pre-order ecommerce features and a market share of 25% in global ecommerce: Shopify is the best and the preferred ecommerce platform for starting a pre order online boutique.

Why Pre-Orders?

Pre orders enable you to venture into ecommerce with minimal investment. Also, pre orders are a great way to connect with your prospective customers in the fashion business.

The anticipation and the buzz created around a pre order business model enables retailers to gauge demand and optimize their inventory management to ensure that they run successful ecommerce businesses

Why Choose Shopify?

Shopify Review

Shopify is a leader in the ecommerce platforms arena. The platform is renowned for its user-friendly platform that enables boutique owners to create online front stores in a matter of minutes.

The Shopify Edge

The platform has a vast collection of free and paid themes designed for different industries, niches and styles. Shopify has payment gateway integrations, security and marketing features and robust inventory management capabilities.

All these, plus many other benefits of the platform make setting up and running a pre order online boutique a breeze -for both experienced users and beginners.

Steps to Start a Pre Order Online Boutique

Market Research and Planning

Your journey to start an online pre order boutique begins with thorough market research and planning. You need to analyse the trends of the current market and try to answer the following questions:

  • Who are the dominant players (competitors)?
  • What products do consumers prefer?
  • Who are the suppliers for the common products?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?

Market research will enable you to identify your target audience. Get to understand the type of customers that are likely to make pre order purchases and try to understand the drivers behind pre order purchasing preferences.

You can then create personas of your target customers. This will help you to defining the attributes of your ideal customer:

  • Income profile
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race
  • Etc

Analyzing Competitors

Analysing competitors involves researching pre-order boutiques in your niche as well as related industries. Explore and examine their product offerings, pricing strategies as well as customer engagements. The key is to identify gaps in the market that your online pre order boutique can occupy through a unique selling proposition (USP).

Assess Market Trends

You need to put your finger on the pulse of the latest fashion trends as well as ecommerce trends. Keep tabs on consumer preferences such as sustainable fashion, exclusive collaborations and limited edition releases. You can also leverage Shopify’s trend analysis tools to spot emerging niche related pportunities.

Create a Business Plan

This is a crucial aspect that many entrepreneurs overlook. No matter how much you think you have your business intentions and concept all figured out, you do need to create a business plan for your pre orders online boutique for a number of reasons. A business plan enables you to:

  • Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your boutique’s mission, vision as well as goals. i.e. it helps put your ideas into perspective
  • Set realistic goals
  • Set revenue targets
  • Set customer acquisition goals and expansion plans
  • Outline cost and revenue projections
  • Allocate resources efficiently to the different aspects of your business
  • Raise funding for your business (if you need to)

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Based on your business plan figures you need to set aside a budget for the setup and launch of your pre order boutique. You need to consider the following important cost areas: eCommerce platform fees (in this case: Shopify), marketing campaigns, inventory procurement, shipment and all other operational costs.

As a rule of thumb: it’s important to plan for financial contingencies to survive unexpected challenges.

Creating a Brand Identity

Invest some money into creating a strong Brand identity. This involves creating a professional logo. You can get a professional logo done at a fraction of cost from platforms like Fiverr. Some providers only charge $5 to create a professional logo.

You then need to apply your branding colors and aesthetics consistently across your online store and all digital properties related to your online store brand – such as social media pages.

Pro Tip

Add a story about your brand on the “About Us” page of your boutique front store.

This helps you to entrench your brand in the minds of your customer through striking a poignant emotional connection with your customers.

Setting Up Your Pre-Order Boutique on Shopify

Once you have done the groundwork of market research, drafting a business plan for your pre order online boutique and creating a brand identity, you can now go ahead and set up your pre order boutique on Shopify. Follow the steps below to create your pre order online boutique on Shopify.

Create Your Shopify Account: Choose a plan that suits your business needs and budget. Visit the Shopify website to look at the different pricing plans and packages and sign up for the one that aligns with your needs.

You can then use Shopify’s domain registration services to create a domain and connect it with your online store. You can also register your domain with services like Bluehost ($2.95 per month) and connect it with Shopify.


Customize Your Boutique’s Look and Feel: Browse through Shopify’s free and paid themes to choose a theme that resonates with your brand identity and is suited for your product type and pre-order business model.

Use Shopify’s user friendly drag and drop interface to customize the theme and strike a well branded boutique look and feel.

Set Up Your Pre-Order Functionality: The next step is to add product listings that include pre-order options. Key to this is indicating clearly which items are available for pre-order as well as their estimated release dates. Implement Shopify’s robust inventory management features to keep track of pre-order quantities.

Add Product Listings: Create product listings. Make use of high quality product images to maintain a high end look and feel of your boutique.

Include detailed and SEO optimised product titles and product page meta tags. You also need to include information on how the pre-order process works: spell out payment terms as well as delivery turnarounds.

Make use of Shopify’s product organisation functions to streamline your offerings.

Configure Payment Gateways: Add and Configure payment gateways to pre order online boutique. You need to select payment gateways that will give your customers a good range of online payment options based on their location and preferences. Shopify has over 100 payment gateways that cater to credit and debit card as well as digital wallets payments.

Test and Launch: Test your pre order online boutique for design and a seamless user experience as well as functionality. Check if payment processes work as expected.

Test the store front navigation as well to ensure that customers can explore the entire store front and be able to browse and search for products. Test the entire storefront’s purchase workflow for mobile friendliness.

If all is set to go: launch the store and make it accessible to the public.

Marketing Your Pre order Online Boutique

Marketing your online pre-order boutique is crucial for the success of your business. Consider an omni-channel approach to marketing that involves different marketing strategies: social media marketing, SEO, content marketing and pay per click advertising (Google ads and Facebook ads, etc).

You can also consider running promotional campaigns and market entry discounts to give our brand maximum mileage. Strategic influencer partnerships can also bump up the exposure of your new brand in the market.

Benefits of Shopify for Pre-Order Boutiques

User-Friendly Interface: The Shopify online store builder is user friendly for beginners and experts. You do not need any technical coding or design skills to set up your online boutique.

Pre-Order Functionality: Shopify has features and functions that seamlessly support pre-orders. On Shopify you can easily add and set up product listings such that your customers can order products that are yet to be released or simply not yet in stock. This goes a long way in generating anticipation and excitement.

Customization: Shopify’s online boutique website builder allows for high customisations. With Shopify you can customize the theme of your online boutique to align with your branding and colors.

Payment Options: Running a pre order online business requires a diversified set of payment gateway options. You need different payment options that cater to customers to pay with their credit cards, debit cards and digital wallets.

Shopify has over 100 payment gateway options, including Shopify’s own proprietary payment option. With Shopify you can also set up pre-order payment structures to streamline funds efficiently.

Analytics and Insights: Data is central to ecommerce. Shopify has powerful analytics and comprehensive reports. The platform enables you to understand the behaviour patterns and preferences of your customers.

You can track sales, monitor consumer behaviour and trends on your Shopify pre-order online boutique. These are crucial for refining and optimising your business strategy.

Mobile Responsiveness: Mobile commerce is the in thing now as more and more consumers are getting most of their business and shopping done via their mobile devices.

Shopify’s themes are optimised for mobile (smartphones and tablets), ensuring that customers have a seamless shopping experience across desktop, and all types of mobile devices.

Vast App Marketplace: Over and above the default features and functions that Shopify gives you, the platform has a vast apps and plugins marketplace.

The extra apps and plugins can be integrated with your pre order online boutique to extend its features on the aspects of marketing, product displays, multi-channel selling, security, inventory management, etc.

Affordable Pricing: One great part with Shopify is that you don’t need to break the bank just to run your boutique on Shopify.

Unlike other ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce (which is suited for enterprise ecommerce), Shopify has pricing and packages for ventures of all sizes.

You can afford to start small on Shopify. When your business grows and scales there will be no need to switch platforms as Shopify can grow with your business.

Community, Support and Resources: Shopify has a vast user community where resources, guides, tutorials are shared. It helps to know that if you choose Shopify, you will not be alone in your journey.

Over and above the extensive knowledge base, Shopify has an efficient 24/7 support service accessible via live chat, email and telephone.

Security and Reliability: Security is one non-negotiable aspect in ecommerce. Shopify provides a secure hosting infrastructure for online boutiques while maintaining high standards of reliability. With an uptime of 99.99% Shopify does the most to ensure that your boutique is always open for business.

Ensuring Legal Compliance for an Online Pre-order Boutique

Legal compliance is an important aspect of running a legitimate pre order online boutique.

Make sure that your business is legally registered and is compliant with all regulatory instruments. Consider protecting your brand’s trademarks and copyrights.

Shopify has resources to guide you on business registration as well as trade and copyright protection.

Tax and Customs Compliance

Comply with tax regulations in your country. If you have offshore markets you need to comply with customs instruments. Also familiarise yourself with the ecommerce regulations that govern your type of business and the products you are dealing in.

Data Privacy and Security

Ensure that you protect customer data and adhere to data privacy regulations such as GDPR. Consider making use of Shopify’s features for data encryption and secure transactions.

Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy, and Refund Policy

Clearly spell out the terms and conditions of your business, your returns and exchange policies as well as refund policies. Strive to be transparent and fair in all your dealings with customers.

Should you require legal counsel: Shopify legal partner directory can come in handy in helping you find experienced attorneys that can help you with all compliance matters of your business.

Managing Inventory and Fulfilment

Inventory Management is central to the stability and growth of your pre order online boutique. Shopify has robust tools and features that you can leverage to optimize your inventory controls and management to avoid stock outs and over stocking.

Make use of Shopify’s inventory management software to keep track of your pre-order quantities and available stock. With these tools you can set up alerts and notifications at certain thresholds to avoid overselling.

Handling Pre-Orders

Your pre order process must be communicated clearly to customers, this should include payment terms as well as expected delivery turnaround times. Take advantage of Shopify’s order handling features to separate regular orders from pre-orders.

Order Tracking

Your customers should be able to monitor the status of their pre-orders. To enable this, you need to configure order trackers on the customer side. Augment this with regular updates on running deliveries to keep your customer in the loop.

Your inventory management should be integrated with your returns, exchanges policies and mechanisms to ensure a seamless shopping workflow across the board.

Partnering with Fulfilment Centers

Instead of handling deliveries in house, consider partnering with third party shipment and fulfillment partners that actually specialise on these services. Shopify integrates with various such services for smooth order fulfilment.

Remember to put systems in place to ensure the quality of your pre ordered products. Shopify has tools to help you identify and report quality issues.

Make use of inventory forecasting to stay ahead of the curve of your business trajectory.

Growing and Scaling A Pre Order Online Boutique

Once your pre order business is off to a good start, you need to consider various strategies to scale your business. You need to develop a growth strategy that incorporates some of the strategies below.

Expanding Your Product Line

You can consider expanding your product line and introducing new trendy products in your catalogue. In doing this you need to keep tabs on the ever evolving customer preferences.

Entering New Markets

You could also consider entering new markets to expand your customer base. For this you can make use of Shopify’s multi-currency and localisation features to map out global expansion pathways.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Consider strategic influencer collaborations, and partnering with complementary brands and retailers. You can also make use of Shopify’s partnership management features and tools for joint marketing efforts.

You can also consider other online pre order boutique scaling strategies such as:

  • Inventory Scaling
  • Marketing and Advertising Investments
  • Customer Retention
  • Streamlining Operations
  • Resource Allocation

All the considerations you make in as far as the prospects of scaling your business must be data driven and informed by customer insights.

Final Thoughts

Starting a pre order online boutique is absolutely doable. Shopify already has about 60% of what it takes to make this dream come true.

You need to put in the 40% in terms of the spade work you must do in market research, business planning, marketing and business strategy implementation overall.

Shopify has robust tools and features suited for running and managing an intuitive pre order online boutique successfully.

With Shopify, you will have the technical hassles and nightmares of ecommerce taken out of your work so that you can focus on growing your business and optimising its processes.

Now is your time to start your pre order online boutique, Grab Shopify’s free plan or 14 day trial on any premium plan to start testing waters.

All the best!


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Gugulethu Nyoni

Gugulethu Nyoni is a seasoned ICT entrepreneur, a full-stack developer with a portfolio of proprietary SaaS solutions under his name. His expertise span conceptualizing and developing digital solutions, including bespoke eCommerce applications. Gugu is also a proficient eCommerce and Whitehat SEO consultant.