You’ve slogged through the technical details of opening your boutique, and now you’re getting to the fun, creative, important stuff.
“What should I carry in my boutique”, you ask!
Your goal when answering this question is to imagine you are your ideal customer. What items does she love? You want to offer a variety of these items – staples and more novelty, trendy pieces.
When choosing what to sell in your shop, focus on making your boutique a one stop shop for your ideal customer. She should be able to buy an entire outfit and maybe a gift for her best friend in your shop.
There is lots of “go deep before you go wide” advice out there, and I am going to humbly disagree on that advice.
As an independent boutique, one of the aspects that makes you unique is exclusivity. None of your customers will expect you to have an inventory comparable to that of Target or Nordstrom.
They will, however, expect you to know them by name, and maybe special order items just for them, because that’s what you can offer that larger chain stores cannot – a personal touch.
Especially when you are in the beginning stages of opening your boutique, you will want to go wide – offer a variety with your inventory – and not as deep. You’ll want to see what sells well and what doesn’t before you go deep (order much more) of any one particular item.
Selling out of items and doing small batch or custom orders also lends an element of urgency to your boutique.
Finally, when choosing your inventory, this is where a strong brand and knowledge of who your customer is comes in very handy.
You want to make sure you are offering your customers something special that they cannot find anywhere else. Imagine your most loyal customer out to coffee with a friend, and her friend saying “oh my gosh, I love your outfit, where did you find it?” The answer has to be, unequivocally, “oh, girl, my friend has the cutest boutique, she gets amazing stuff all the time, and she knows my sizes and taste and emails me when she gets something in she knows I’ll love. She even does pre-orders on things!”
THAT is how good word of mouth is built, THAT is why customers are willing to pay a little bit more for amazing product and excellent customer service and THAT is what will help your boutique stand out from other shops.
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