Do you have a passion for interior design, an eye for detail, an affinity for aesthetics, and the desire to start selling furniture or other decorative pieces?
Discover all the steps involved in setting up your online store and start selling today to customers all around the world to help each one bring more flair to their living space.
DIY, bedding, furniture, bathrooms, interior design for professionals, household linens, tableware, gardening... There are all kinds of sectors and ideas to consider.
Choice of your supplier, optimization of your network of service providers, legal status, integration of articles into your platform, promotion of your decoration shop at local and national level... Exciting challenges await you as soon as you craft the concept for your home decor business!
Read on to check out our tips and make your decorating concept a reality—your ecommerce success!
FAQs before you launch your business and start selling home decor
Where should you sell home decor? Why choose online sales?
Opening a boutique under franchise offers a number of advantages... only when it comes to the world of the physical store! When you're a franchisee, you benefit from the brand's stock and influence in the decorating world, but franchising doesn't allow you to open your own ecommerce site or change suppliers at any time. What's more, you can't charge the prices you want: you're entirely dependent on the internal policies of the franchise you've chosen.
When you want to open an independent decorating store, the freedom starts to arrive, as you choose your own collections and charge the prices you want. However, having only one physical store can limit sales opportunities: you only reach a local clientele, without being able to expand your target audience and take advantage of new opportunities.
That's why many physical retailers are no longer hesitating to open their own ecommerce stores. In fact, it's not uncommon to see entrepreneurs launching their businesses solely on the internet: with technological advances and the multiplication of service providers specializing in the logistics of home decor and furnishings, online sales in the interior design sector are very easy. What's more, there's no need to multiply expenses in order to be able to offer a physical point of sale that's large enough to showcase your products, therefore saving you money!
An online boutique therefore offers a host of advantages for success in the home decor business.
Is an online home decor business likely to be profitable?
An online home decor business offers loads of potential to be profitable with the right strategies in place. The home decor industry has experienced significant growth, especially with the rise of ecommerce and social media.
A well-executed online business can reach a global audience, reduce overhead costs compared to a brick-and-mortar store, and offer a wide variety of products. The best way to increase the likelihood of profitability with your online home decor business is to focus on offering unique and high-quality products that cater to specific customer preferences.
Effective marketing strategies, such as utilizing social media platforms, influencer collaborations, and engaging visual content, can drive traffic and sales. Providing excellent customer service, offering competitive pricing, and ensuring a user-friendly, easy online shopping experience are crucial for helping you to continue to earn money over the long haul.
Performing continuous market research, adapting to trends, and maintaining a strong online presence will aid you in maximizing how much you can make with your ecommerce business.
What are some important trends to know for the home decor industry?
When starting your own home decor business, you'll want to check out all the latest trends to see how you can better adapt your offerings for your ideal buyer. Here are some of the industry's current trends to be aware of as you get ready to launch your venture:
- Sustainable and eco-friendly design: With increasing awareness about environmental issues, many consumers are leaning towards sustainable and eco-friendly interior decor options. This includes, for example, using recycled materials, repurposing furniture, and opting for products with minimal carbon footprint.
- Biophilic design: Biophilic design involves incorporating elements of nature into indoor spaces to enhance well-being and provide a calming atmosphere. This trend encompasses features like indoor plants, natural materials (wood, stone), and large windows to bring in natural light.
- Neutral color palettes: Neutral colors like whites, grays, and earth tones are popular choices for creating serene and versatile living spaces. These colors serve as a backdrop for other interior design elements and allow homeowners to change accents easily.
- Maximalism and bold patterns: On the other end of the spectrum, maximalist designs have gained traction, featuring vibrant colors, bold patterns, and the mixing of different textures to produce visually striking and eclectic spaces.
- Multifunctional furniture: With the growing rate people starting to live in smaller living spaces, multifunctional furniture pieces like sofa beds, foldable tables, and modular storage solutions are in high demand to maximize space utilization.
- Smart home integration: Home automation and smart technology are being seamlessly integrated into home decor. This includes voice-activated assistants, smart thermostats, lighting control, and other internet-of-things (IoT) devices.
- Vintage and antique revival: Vintage and antique items are being incorporated into modern interiors, adding a sense of history and character to spaces. This can entail furniture, accessories, and even architectural salvage.
- Wellness-centric design: The concept of wellness-driven design focuses on creating environments that work to promote mental and physical well-being. This involves features like meditation spaces, aromatherapy diffusers, and ergonomic furniture.
- Artisan and handcrafted pieces: Consumers are showing a greater appreciation for handcrafted and artisanal items that add a personal touch and uniqueness to their homes.
- Cottagecore and rustic aesthetics: The "cottagecore" trend celebrates a romanticized rural lifestyle, characterized by rustic and vintage elements, floral patterns, and cozy, comfortable spaces.
- Metallic accents: Metallic finishes, particularly gold and brass, are used to add a touch of luxury and elegance to interiors. These accents are often incorporated through lighting fixtures, decorative accessories, and furniture legs.
- Global and cultural influences: A fusion of global design elements, such as Moroccan, Scandinavian, and Japanese aesthetics, are growing in popularity, allowing homeowners to infuse their spaces with diverse cultural influences.
What are the challenges of starting an online home decor business?
Starting an online home decor business can be exciting, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are a few key challenges you might encounter:
- Intense competition: The online home decor market is highly competitive, with a multitude of established brands and newcomers vying for consumers' attention. Standing out and differentiating your business from competitors can be a significant challenge.
- Visual presentation: In the home decor industry, aesthetics and visual appeal are crucial. Creating high-quality product images, virtual room displays, and an engaging website design is essential to attract and retain customers.
- Supply chain and inventory management: Managing inventory levels, sourcing products, and ensuring timely deliveries can be complex, especially if you're working with multiple suppliers or dropshipping. Striking a balance between having enough stock and avoiding overstocking can be tricky.
- Shipping costs and logistics: Shipping costs, especially for larger or delicate home decor items, can significantly impact your bottom line. It's therefore essential that you take the time to find cost-effective and reliable shipping solutions while ensuring safe delivery.
- Trend sensitivity: The home decor industry is heavily influenced by trends, and staying up-to-date with the latest styles and preferences is important. Failing to adapt to changing trends could lead to a decline in customer interest.
What are the various costs of starting an online home decor business?
Although launching your own online home decor business will likely be less expensive than creating a brick-and-mortar store, there's still a cost to start an online boutique.
For example, you'll need to consider the cost of product sourcing or manufacturing, website development and hosting, ecommerce platform fees, professional product photography, branding expenses, packaging materials, shipping and fulfillment, legal fees for business registration and intellectual property protection, and possible the hiring of employees or outsourcing of tasks (if applicable).
In addition, it's important to budget for digital marketing efforts, such as social media advertising and influencer collaborations, to encourage website visitors and help you earn more money. When planning your budget, don't forget to allocate funds for ongoing expenses like inventory replenishment, website maintenance, customer service, and potential unforeseen costs.
Careful financial planning is crucial to ensure a successful launch and sustainable growth of your online home decor business.
How do you set up a small online sales business?
Before you can sell your furniture and home furnishings online, you'll need to decide on a business structure. The right structure for you will depend on the regulations of the country where you're based. For instance, if you're in the US, you'll likely select a sole proprietorship if you're going to be the only owner for your business.
Setting up a sole proprietorship is relatively straightforward. After choosing a business name, you'll need to register it with your local government. Don't forget to obtain any required licenses or permits for your industry and open a separate business bank account to manage the money you earn from or use for your business. You'll also need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS if you plan to hire employees or operate as a corporation.
Keep accurate records of income and expenses. It's important to note that a sole proprietorship is not a separate legal entity, so you're personally responsible for business liabilities and taxes. Consult legal and financial professionals for guidance based on your specific situation.
How do you find decoration suppliers?
There are several ways to find the top suppliers of home decoration products, including the following:
- Competitive intelligence: This will enable you to identify the products sold by your competitors and thus find the best names on the market.
- Trade shows: During the year, the trade show calendar is very full, allowing you to meet those businesses, craftspeople, and manufacturers who produce first-rate objects around the world.
- Auctions: Auctions are frequently organized to buy collectibles or unsold stock, often new, in bulk.
- Professional antiques and second-hand shops: Depending on the style of home decor you wish to sell, these second-hand outlets are a gold mine for finding treasures to resell on your ecommerce website.
- Private individual sales: Check out reseller sites like Craigslist and eBay or consider attending flea markets in your area to locate unique home decor items to resell on your online store.
How to set up an online home decor boutique: 14 key steps
1. Conduct a market study
This is the essential preliminary step for any online sales venture. Market research allows you to analyze the sector you want to enter in order to understand its challenges, strengths and needs, and above all, who your target customers are. Thanks to this crucial information, your company will be able to launch and develop in complete security, because without satisfied customers, your structure won't be able to survive.
Market research is a kind of compass you can use to help your business get off to a good start and continue to grow in line with precise, viable objectives.
2. Create precise specifications for your business ideas
Once you've carried out your market study, the specifications stage will lay out all your future company's needs. This document will enable you to list precisely the tools and services you'll need to launch your brand.
Your aim will be to keep in mind the profile of the target online shoppers you wish to attract, while creating the need to purchase your homewares. It's at this point that your business concept for your specific home decor niche will become a reality: it's time to move from idea to action.
3. Take stock of your initial budget
Before you can start setting up your online decorating boutique, you'll need to establish your basic budget. You'll need to manage your portfolio in advance to avoid any negative surprises...
The advantages of online sales will be reflected in your budget: you won't need to rent premises open to the public, which means you'll save on monthly rent.
To get started, don't hesitate to call on the services of a chartered accountant, who can help you see your way through the start-up phase.
4. Draw up your business plan to increase the chance of a successful venture
At this point, you'll have a clear idea of how to carry out your home decor business idea. Your budget is established, your brand is set up, and you know your sector and your target customer: it's time to summarize all your ideas and thoughts in this essential document, the business plan.
As well as allowing you to write down all the most important elements of your structure, this step shouldn't be taken lightly, as it's the starting point for the future of your company.
5. Find the best decorating suppliers
You've created a solid foundation for your business: congratulations! Now it's time to build your brand content. And that starts with your supplier selections! As we saw earlier, there are many professionals and even private individuals who can help you put together the greatest possible product catalog.
Never forget to keep in mind the profile of your typical buyers: they're the ones you'll need to appeal to first, and it's to them that you'll offer your first products to get started.
When you visit your suppliers, don't hesitate to talk to them about your expectations and needs, for everything from a product to a delivery timeline: they're professionals who are used to the demands of their customers, and they can give you excellent advice on how to offer products that are unique in your market.
6. Move on to creating your brand and graphic identity
Sure, you've already created your company, but do you already have all the visual elements to build your brand?
This step is where your brand really comes into its own with the public. Logo, graphic charter, and other visual elements will enable the public to get to know you and recognize you, especially on the internet, as well as allow you to stand out from similar businesses.
Don't leave anything to chance when it comes to your presentation. Take the time to craft stunning visual markers that accurately define who you are, and feel free to get in touch with a communications agency to work with the best in the business.
7. Surround yourself with the best logistics partners
At this point, you're probably itching to launch your online decorating boutique. But before you throw yourself wholeheartedly into the business, it's better to be safe than sorry concerning your logistics!
When it comes to home furnishings and decorative objects, logistics can sometimes be a bit tricky. Large parcels, very heavy orders, B2B sales to private establishments... To achieve perfection in your service offering, you'll need to consider everything, and above all, of solutions to get your products, large or small, to online shoppers buying from your store.
Surround yourself with first-rate partners to manage your logistics, whether it's carriers who can deliver the largest volumes throughout your delivery area or courier/drive solutions depending on the city, for example.
Your products are exceptional, and so must be your services.
8. Offer different payment methods
Just like the logistical solutions you use to deliver your products, the payment solutions you choose will need to be adapted to your customer base. In the field of home decor products, people will appreciate being able to choose between several payment solutions to begin with.
However, depending on the type of services and products you sell, some online shoppers may be more demanding than others. It's up to you to multiply the possibilities: payment in instalments, payment by check, cash payment at your physical point of sale, payment by PayPal, or even payment in crypto... Whether you're a DIY chain, kitchen designer, art deco product seller, gardener, or bathroom designer, adapt to your customers and their needs.
9. Develop an optimal marketing strategy
You're on the verge of creating your online home decor website, and soon your business idea will come to fruition. But have you thought about how you're going to get the word out about your site? Your digital marketing strategy will be essential to your brand's success.
Establishing your strategy before launching your ecommerce website will enable you to start to build your community and pique the curiosity of your future customers. The first step will be to create a presence on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, etc., around your brand to highlight its DNA, its history, and possibly even preview the products and offers proposed on your future ecommerce website.
In addition to these initial marketing steps, a well-organized strategy will enable you to draw up a plan for the months following the opening of your business. This is going to make it possible for you to start laying the groundwork for the various marketing levers you'll be using: SEO, social networks, online advertising, the writing of informative blog articles for people to read, SMS marketing... You'll then be able to start your business more serenely.
10. Set up your ecommerce site to sell your products
You're now ready to build your online store!
Configure your design, import your products, reassurance elements, well-presented notification bar, loyalty offer, email marketing... Your website should be the showcase for your exceptional product catalog: it's your indispensable work tool, and it's essential to the success of your business.
That's why you need to choose the best platform on the market. And we've got a few ideas on the subject: read on to discover the name of your future ecommerce platform at the end of the article!
11. Test your site and its offers
A rookie mistake for those starting an ecommerce business is to think that once you've set up your website, it'll be able to develop on its own. It won't!
You need to be very vigilant and always aware of what's happening on the internet. That's why it's advantageous to set yourself reminders to test your product offerings and services as if you were a normal user.
This is going to enable you to challenge yourself, but above all, to prevent bad feedback from shoppers due to issues that could have been avoided.
12. Build customer loyalty
Your first visitors are beginning to make an impact, you've made your first online sale, and you've started making money from your venture. Don't try to recruit new customers at all costs, but do pamper the ones you already have!
Did you know that for an ecommerce entrepreneur, it's financially more advantageous to build customer loyalty than to recruit new ones? By doing so, you gain a number of advantages: you know your customers and their buying habits, you have a special relationship with them, you are a privileged contact for people who consume in your sector, and these people can help you in your marketing efforts, notably by leaving online reviews.
Loyalty is also a guarantee of quality: it means that your products and services are benchmarks in their sector. All these markers will be scrutinized not only by potential future customers, but also by future investors: always look at your track record over the long term to move your business forward.
13. Monitor the competition
Even if you manage to achieve excellent results in relation to your objectives, you'll never be alone in your sector. One of the best ways of boosting your chances of long-term success is therefore to consider your competitors and check out what's happening in your market.
By making competitive intelligence part of your daily life as an ecommerce entrepreneur, you'll keep an eye on your market and the trends that consumers are following. You'll also be able to draw inspiration from the innovations proposed by other businesses to positively transform your own venture.
Always keep one foot in your market so that you can offer services and products that are always ahead of the game.
14. Surprise, innovate, share... know how to reinvent yourself!
Selling home decoration products online also means selling items that customers will buy with an emotional impulse.
That's why it's in your interest to constantly innovate and offer a brand that appeals to buyers' feelings.
To progress in your field, your ability to undertake, anticipate and question will be constantly put to the test. It's up to you to overcome future obstacles and shine in the online decorating world.
How do you create an online store to sell your decorative items?
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