Entrepreneurship & Small Business

How easy is it to start a competitive boutique online shop?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 14th, 2018 3:18 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 11, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote

How easy is it to start a competitive boutique online shop?

Let's say I wanted to be competitive with Amazon, etc for a few specific items, that could ideally be drop-ship ordered from resellers an the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Could this be done on a competitive basis, or is Amazon always going to have a much lower price based on volume? The item type would be mainly housewares, with some electronics. Thanks!
10 replies
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
12547 posts
3080 upvotes
Here 'n There
Your biggest issue will be getting traffic. 52% of all product searches now start with Amazon and many don't go further. Even if they do, you are going to have to appear on the search results page, either organically and/or through Adwords and that involves effort and money. You need a niche product that with little competition. If you are selling what is readily available elsewhere then welcome to then bloodbath.

Competitive pricing is your next problem.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 11, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
eonibm wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 1:59 pm
Your biggest issue will be getting traffic. 52% of all product searches now start with Amazon and many don't go further. Even if they do, you are going to have to appear on the search results page, either organically and/or through Adwords and that involves effort and money. You need a niche product that with little competition. If you are selling what is readily available elsewhere then welcome to then bloodbath.

Competitive pricing is your next problem.
I understand the traffic problem. Ignoring that for now, is it possible to get competitive pricing as a (comparatively) low volume retailer on mainstream products?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 15, 2015
1111 posts
148 upvotes
Markham, ON
If you know your products are of good quality. It might be helpful to contact new condo buildings in your area and speak with like the staff that maintain that building and see when the first dates of occupation start. Then you can distribute flyers or get a questionnaire as people excitedly go see their new place and see if ANY of those people want new housewares.

It could be like grand opening of a new building and you can be like product demonstrating a new blender. They can even place order immediately

If they don't buy the blender, they can buy the juice.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
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snoopr wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 2:12 pm
I understand the traffic problem. Ignoring that for now, is it possible to get competitive pricing as a (comparatively) low volume retailer on mainstream products?
No.
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 23, 2008
7095 posts
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Edmonton
eonibm wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 5:14 pm
No.
I would agree with this. Depending on the product and supplier, in general you won’t get anything close to the price Amazon gets.

C
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
12547 posts
3080 upvotes
Here 'n There
There is also a big contradiction in your business plan.

'retailer on mainstream products' ≠ competitive 'boutique'
Newbie
Jan 6, 2018
5 posts
Its not easy, or else everyone would be doing it, but it is possible. The thing is, you aren't going to make much of a boutique with generic drop shipped items. The whole point of a boutique is not to compete on price, but exclusivity and scarcity. You should be selling artisinal goods, not junk from amazon.

The successful boutiques I work with generally target a niche market and use social media marketing to establish themselves virally within their designated community.

Good luck
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 11, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
Thanks for the replies. Maybe "boutique" is the wrong word to use. "Focused" might be better. The overall business plan isn't exactly to be a goods retailer, but more of an anti-Amazon. While Amazon is a giant, and could quash any competitor at will, there are still avenues to explore. This post is part of research. If anyone has an interest in this space, I'd like to PM with you.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
15019 posts
5286 upvotes
If you're selling a niche product then I would recommend you explore obtaining the exclusive rights to market / sell the product in Canada. This should eliminate amazon.ca from being able to compete with you on the exact same product. Otherwise if you are selling products they sell you will need to compete on something other than price (service, warranty, etc.).
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
12547 posts
3080 upvotes
Here 'n There
TrevorK wrote:
Jan 14th, 2018 3:15 pm
If you're selling a niche product then I would recommend you explore obtaining the exclusive rights to market / sell the product in Canada. This should eliminate amazon.ca from being able to compete with you on the exact same product. Otherwise if you are selling products they sell you will need to compete on something other than price (service, warranty, etc.).
It ain't that easy. Any smart company is going to demand a huge volume commitment in order to give an exclusive. They're not going to give it away for nothing.

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