Miette, a SF based candy store, is always filled with customers.

Is Your Store Quirky Enough?

Individualism, unexpected finds and – dare I say – rebellion are common components for many successful independently owned stores. Unique combinations of product assortment, colorful personalities working the floors, distinctive displays that scream “different” and comfortable customer service that can’t be replicated in a big box store all help shape the very interesting, very different, very cool stores we know as “boutiques”. The question is, however, does your store stand out in being quirky enough?

Customers shop indie stores for many reasons – but to be considered a “boutique” takes more than solely owning your own store. It’s the interesting character of your store that helps shape your quirky traits and ultimately, your store’s reputation. One-of-a-kind fixtures, re-purposed tables used as displays, odd pairings of inventory… these details and more collectively define your store image, making your store stand out or blend in among the rest. Of course, whether traditional, modern or eclectic in your decor, you can still be “quirky” from a boutique perspective.

As you challenge yourself to identify if your own store is “quirky enough”, consider the following: 

1. Does your stand have a reputation in your local community as being one-of-a-kind?

2. How do you incorporate unexpected findings into your store? Through merchandising? Inventory? Customer Service? All of the above and more?

3. Do your customers influence how you manage your store – including marketing, branding, operations and more? Why or why  not?

4. Does your store rely on mainstream retail trends or actively seek out your own?

5. Is what’s “hot and in demand” your motto, or what’s “tried, true and trusted”?

The reality is, being quirky is not so much about what you carry in your store but rather how you sell it. This includes your marketing, store branding, customer service, employee training and other operational components that help create your store experience. But we can say this… blending in typically doesn’t mean standing out when it comes to boutiques. With the new year still ahead of us, consider making 2013 your year to really stand out among your local crowd.

Want more tips on creating an overall, dynamic store experience? Become an annual subscriber to Retail Minded Magazine – the nation’s only retail lifestyle publication, offering you expert support both IN & OUT of your store! 

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