The benefits of shopping local are ample. Local shops often pay their employees a higher wage and offer more benefits than national retailers. At a local shop, a much larger percentage of their revenue goes into the local economy. Most local businesses are also so invested in gaining a community following that they regularly contribute to active non-profits.
Small local businesses will often miss out on customers who believe that shopping at a national retailer is more convenient. This is mainly because national corporate retailers can offer lower prices, however, quality is often sacrificed in the manufacturing process. One way in which boutiques can position themselves as a viable option for customers is through the use of social media.
An effective social media strategy helps small business owners attract clients and create loyalty through promoting new items and soliciting feedback on the merchandise.
One way in which boutiques can gain ground on national retailers with a large advertising budget is by regularly posting photos or links on social media pages. Any time you receive a shipment of new merchandise, post a picture of it. Better yet, take a photo of one of your staff members wearing an outfit complete with accessories. Followers will see the way the clothes fit on the body, rather than folded on a table or draped on an unrealistically proportioned mannequin.
Even if you do not receive new merchandise on a daily basis, you can still post something to social media. Ask a sales associate to create an outfit of the day or to share an article about fashion trends. Marketing experts suggest that these types of posts help customers feel a connection to the brand. By posting once or twice a day, news of your merchandise will reach the news feeds of customers who might not be able to afford shopping regularly, but who will keep your shop in mind when they need a special outfit.
Local clothing stores have always distinguished themselves from national retailers by carrying items that their clients want most. Social media can help small businesses take this service to another level. Boutiques can increase customer satisfaction by using social media to crowd source some of their inventory.
Posting photos of different merchandise options to the store’s profile and asking customers to vote on which they would like the store to carry is one way for shops to create interest in new merchandise. The business can later reach out to the clients who voted to let them know when the item arrives in the store.
When crowdsourcing is used wisely, boutiques have an advantage over national retailers that must bulk order for an upcoming season a few months in advance. Shops, on the other hand, can place their smaller orders in the middle of the season. They can poll customers about trends after they have been in stores and magazines to find out which styles work and which do not.
However, marketing experts advise that owners put feedback into perspective. Frequent posters may not be regular clients, so owners should use their knowledge of what sells to make final decisions about inventory.
Social media is an effective tool that you are probably already using every day. Attract new clients to grow your business by using these networks to get the word out about your store.
By Robert Holiday