Future of Fashion: Updated trends for your boutique
There’s no industry out there quite volatile and nimble like the fashion industry. With ever-changing trends and ever-changing sentiments, your store always has to act at the speed of light, before you have to ride the coattails of success of other competitor brands.
To say your fashion boutique won’t go through challenges is an understatement.
In this day and age, however, a new concept is on the rise; consumers want a degree of freshness not only in the products they want to buy, but also in their shopping experience. They want to see brands relate to them on a level of relevance, and not communicating from a high pedestal.
What can a fashion boutique do to overcome these adversities? Let’s discuss how your store can make a significant impact on the way you do business:
Millennials on the rise
As you setup your boutique, you need to find who you are catering to. Your target audience should consist of one of the most significant consumer demographics: millennials.
They are just now entering their working years, and are hence steadily contributing the most to the economy – and what better way to ensure your own success than by reaping the shared benefits.
When accustoming your company to this, you need to familiarize yourself with the two most important words for ever millennial consumer: choice and mobility. These seem like rather picky choices, but it is still justified. It’s beyond just fashion preferences: it’s simply related to the fact that they are used to fluidity – moving from one place, product, or person to person.
Therefore you need to make sure your tactics reflect their needs. Assure them freedom of choice through clear-cut work functions like different payment methods, looking through inventory, and more. Modern boutique POS (point-of-sale) like Oscar give customers the choice to pay however they want, ensuring smooth transactions.
Give millennial customers mobility by making their jobs easier – offer them ways to carry out functions like looking through products on-the-go. The most popular trend related to this is the use of tablet-based softwares that make tasks easy to do and quick to fulfill. This helps ensure the millennials get what they want.
From brick-and-mortar to the digital world
While we are on the topic of mobility, we need to give credit where it is due: digital transformation. This, fueled by mobile and automation, has altered the customer’s outlook on retail experience.
They cannot be blamed, however: whether it’s a huge outlet or a tiny boutique, consumers want to be able to browse inventory on a certain website, and get information about prices, events, and even available sizes and styles with ease. They want to be able to reach out and get updates through social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and more. Since young consumers use such a spectrum of digital platforms to stay updated on trends, they expect an effortless, personalised shopping experience – undoubtedly, that spells an even greater challenge for boutique owners.
However, the feat is not impossible – all you need to follow is the infamous phrase: if you can’t beat them – join them.
Don’t treat the Internet as an enemy – instead, join the range of features it offers as a part of the customer experience. Including these mobile and online touch points are necessary, according to Kelly Helfman, the Vice President of WWDMAGIC, and three other top shows including AccessoriesTheShow, FAME, and POOLTRADESHOW. She says, “It really goes beyond just being able to buy a product online. It starts with how customers interact with your website and social media feeds, and then how the brand engages with them post-purchase.”
The best way to start embracing this concept is to launch your own website, featuring your products, their prices and categorized styles, and the latest trends flooding the fashion industry. Incorporating this advanced experience within your store can be done by using tablets to carry out functions like transactions, or even scrolling through your products. Make the experience as user-friendly as you can!
Revamp their shopping experience
So far we have covered ways to morph the consumer’s shopping experience – but there is still a lot more than what meets the eye.
As much as technological features fascinate everybody, the one thing you don’t want missing from your store is the need for more personalised interactions. We say that because consumers are human, not robots – they do not necessarily need every job of theirs completely automated. So when you launch your boutique, you need to make sure your customers’ in-store experience remains refreshing and interactive.
For that, first ask yourself: what is the primary role of my store? Do I need to drive sales and deliver commercial success, or only serve as a brand ambassador out there to deliver a unique customer experience? As a retailer, you need to reevaluate the nitty-gritty details – store locations, size, design and more. Make sure your aim hits the jackpot.
With that, comes the decision of organizing your store. You don’t want faults like inconsistent stock supply or missing products damaging both customer experience and your reputation. You need to make sure operational processes like inventory management and supply chain handling are dealt with efficiency so that your store’s attractiveness flourishes. Planning out a fun way to lay out your entire store is also a great way to balance out issues like declining set up productivity – and excite even the most bored customers.
For all this, it is always better to take advice from fellow partners or other businesses so that you know what’s the best route for you.
Sustainability is key
As much as the fashion world is primarily driven by consumers, it is not done without insight. Nowadays, consumers are much more aware of what impact their shopping decisions have on the world. The next time you see someone contemplating whether they want to buy those pair of shoes or not – they will most likely be wondering whether the worker who made those shoes even got proper pay or not.
Apart from pure morality, fashion consumers are also becoming environmentally conscious. They want to know that their freedom of choice does not come at the cost of animal abuse, widespread pollution or poor working conditions for labor. Therefore, you – and your store – need to become more open-minded, and open-hearted.
While setting up your boutique, make sure your stock does not consist of unobjectionable fabrics. Make sure that the resources used to make them had been controlled, emitted the least amount of pollutants, and did not harm any plant or animal specie. The work functions of your supply chain should also be healthy and fair on everyone involved.
For this, you will have to get in deeper contact with your supplier. Make sure their ways are not controversial or problematic by timely visits to their factories/warehouses. The sooner you confirm transparency between the two of you, the better.
Despite all these challenges, the fashion industry offers a lot more opportunities. If anything, all this makes one thing clear: whether your boutique is huge or small, consumers want familiar, trusted and forward-thinking retailers who put customer experience before anything else.
Ultimately, all the years to come spell changing times – and with changing times, comes exciting discoveries for the fashion and boutique industry.