5 Boutique Retail Trends for 2013

The difference between a big box store and a boutique are vastly different. Sure, select retailers try to mimic the best of boutiques within their own giant four walls, but the reality is true boutiques stand out for their own, unique reasons. Customers return to those that deliver quality product, outstanding customer service and authentic, interesting experiences. With this in mind… how can boutiques keep up their reputations in 2013? Here are a few of Retail Minded’s top picks for retail trends for boutiques in 2013:

1. Digital signage and experience will grow increasing popular in stores – even indies

Whether to help combat showroom shopping (which is when customers shop your store, then find similar or even the same product online), digital signage and digital experiences is an increasing trend among retailers. Boutiques can introduce this to their stores, offering customers the chance to engage in a way many of them crave – through technology. With investment costs ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, how you incorporate digital signage and the experience it brings to your niche customers depends on you… after all, that’s what makes you truly “boutique”

2. Mobile commerce will continue to grow among retailers & consumers

A survey by Appcelerator and IDC identified that 93 percent of mobile developers anticipate most retail companies will have enabled mobile commerce into their purchasing options in 2013. While their study primarily focused on mid to large size retailers, boutiques and smaller shops need to acknowledge this – and jump on board. The reality is, consumers are embracing this… so boutiques need to, too. The excuse of “we’re not big  enough” simply isn’t good enough anymore. It’s simply too competitive not to keep up with how consumers prefer to shop – especially considering many consumers mobile shop while on their phones IN stores. And remember… they may be in YOUR store or someone else’s, but either way… on your website.

3. Community peers and store neighbors will become friendlier and more team oriented

The whole idea of you are “alone” just because you own one single store – or maybe a few – simply does not have to be the case. Some of the most successful, independent retail communities are successful in great part to their at-large, team effort. Store owners rally for each other, support each other and want to see their neighboring stores succeed. It’s a shared attitude of “what is good for you is good for me” versus keeping your success secrets to yourself. Chambers, local community groups and other supportive organizations are often great at spearheading this – but it may be up to YOU to make the first step in a total community change on how boutique owners support each other.

4. Social media will be more about brand awareness and store identity versus sales 

Customers are feeling the weight of “deals” and “promos” constantly being presented to them. And social media pages for small businesses – including likely yours – are heavy hitters for sharing these types of promotions. While we don’t think eliminating this from your social media strategy is the goal, we do think 2013 will bring an increased awareness of using social media more for brand awareness and store visibility. It should be a strong, important part of your marketing mix, and if you aren’t on social media you absolutely should be. But doing social media exclusively as a way to gain sales isn’t the right way to look at this. You must also consider social media as an avenue to build total brand reputation… which will lead to sales, of course.

5. More and more retailers will do virtual, wholesale buying

Trade shows are an important component to a retail buyers inventory strategy. They offer hands on access to new products, trusted vendors, industry expertise and much more. This said, many boutiques can’t keep up with the expense of traveling and expense of multiple shows. The trade off? One more comprehensive show – such as the ASD Show in Las Vegas – and buying remotely. With new online buying showrooms and other virtual marketplaces for retailers, such as Vianza.com, retailers can buy on a schedule that’s best for them.

There are too many layers to any boutique business to name all the trends, must haves and key retail tips in one Retail Minded article – so we hope you will follow us as the year passes. It’s our goal to support you the “boutique” way – both in and out of your stores!

Learn more about Retail Minded here!

What are your thoughts on boutique trends in 2013? Please share your thoughts and comment below. 




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    Great article. As queue management experts in leading the customer journey — totally agree that having an authentic in-store experience is top of mind for boutique goers this year. Boutique owners shouldn’t shy away from innovative tech like next gen interactive digital signage solutions as they offer unique and affordable ways to “wow”, inform and provide one of a kind story telling that engages customers in ways their mobile devices can’t.

  2. 4


    Sourcing Handmade is a boutique sourcing consultancy offering indie boutique and retailers a virtual trade show of wholesale products, handcrafted by some amazing US and international artisans. Access to wholesale line sheets is free, just register online!

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