The corner boutique is now in everyone’s neighborhood thanks to the Web.
Small retailers and boutiques are thriving in the digital frontier, according to a recent New York Times article. These stores are able to reach more shoppers online and still manage their digital operations with small business flair.
Consider this: When a Seattle-based boutique launched a website in 2008, business doubled overnight. Now 70 percent of their sales come from online shoppers. Other boutiques said their online sales make up 15 to 30 percent of their sales.
And the personalized nature of boutique shopping keep customers coming back. A Portland-based independent boutique sends handwritten thank you notes and artistically wraps packages with online orders. Customers can also place a hold on items they see online and try it in the store later.
In addition, these stores use social media to promote their store and build relationships, especially with sites like Pinterest where the conversation is driven visually.
Boutiques must have a great website. A web presence is a great way to attract new customers and maintain relationships — unless they get lucky and customers drive by their stores. Boutiques have to invest in great, go-to-market messages on the web where it’s more of a level playing field.
Customers base most of their buying decisions on what their friends say, and web and social media buzz will continue to drive business to boutiques. These retailers need a great website and Facebook page. The story has to flow between their social media, website and bricks-and-mortar experience.
Source: New York Times, August 2012