Think boutiques are just for the sophisticated, the stylish, the woke fashionistas…think again. While Amazon was surely the death nail for some large department retail stores, there is so much more to appeasing the shopping Gods than just price, shipping speed, and ease. Moreover, small is the new “big box,” and boutiques are cashing in on the market. There is a boutique designation for everything from clothing to hotels, from food and beverages, even insurance and finance. My friends at Anchor Meadow Farm are pig farmers specializing in their own niche market…and crushing it I might add. Sassafrass Galleria is an art gallery in small town Nebraska breaking all the rules of high society in the most bad-assery of ways. These small business owners are mavericks in their own industries and their customer base is fiercely loyal. What I’m trying to say is forget what you may have heard about boutiques; there is a boutique business for almost every demographic and every budget.
Independent small businesses, particularly those following the boutique business model are on the rise and they are churning multimillion-dollar profits with brick-and-mortar shops as well as e-commerce platforms. Consumers intrinsically care about their buying experience, in person as well as online and even after the sale. Boutiques, or any small business for that matter, are successful because they’re more than just stores. Shoppers walk in the store or log in online to be inspired, to shop with friends, and to feel good about themselves and their purchases. When you inspire customers, they don’t just buy your product or service…they buy the experience. Independent small business owners are industry educators and advocates. Many consumers don’t have the time to follow what is trending. They are less interested in the minutiae of “what” makes your business special. Conversely, buyers will consistently put their dollars behind the “why” of your business.
From Forbes magazine: Five Reasons the Boutique Model Is Revolutionizing the Future Of Retail
- It’s all about the experience. Boutiques fill a need Amazon doesn’t. Amazon is functional but doesn’t address the shopping experience.
- Social media creates community. Social media is integral to the customer experience.
- We do business with people. Today’s customers don’t want to do business with large corporations. They care about relational transactions and customer service, whether they’re buying food or furniture.
- No one knows your business like you. Be authentic. There will be others in your industry, but there is only one you.
- Find your tribe. What’s amazing about the boutique world is that it’s built on the philosophy of community over competition. There’s a real collaboration among the business owners. Many sell the same brands, but they all bring their personality and style to their unique customers. The industry is growing because they’re growing together.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, please consider supporting independent small businesses and boutiques. Not only are you likely to find quirky and distinct wares to fill your shopping list, but you also have the opportunity to meet some pretty phenomenal characters. Life is stressful but shopping doesn’t have to be. Experience the value of being valued.