I think the first question when thinking about a boutique, is to answer the question: what is an actual boutique? According to a post on Chron, titled Differences Between a Boutique and Retail Store, a boutique is “actually a specialized type of retail store”. Vague, yes. But also, very accurate. Unlike their superstore counterparts, which are vast in square footage and sell a seemingly boundless array of goods, usually boutiques are smaller in size and have a very focused inventory; with limited sizes and styles, they don’t tend to stray from their specialty, whether it be women’s clothing, specialty jewelry, men’s clothing, children’s wear, leather goods, so on, and so forth.
So, while we’re looking for an awesome pair of shoes, we should also look into what makes the perfect place for a boutique retail space. These are the best ways to spot a great boutique retail location:
- Boutiques do not need a ton of square footage. In fact, in some cases, the smaller, the better. Most boutiques do not stock more than what they need and don’t need a ton of storage space either - remember, they have a limited inventory. Additionally, they also want to encourage an intimate shopping experience for their customers. The larger the store, the far less intimate those very same customers feel.
- Foot traffic is not a joke! Many times, when you are telling a story about a fabulous little boutique you “found” or “happened upon”, it was most likely because you were walking around, perhaps window shopping, and came across the little gem. Street traffic and foot traffic are the main reason many boutiques attain new customers, who then turn into regular customers.
- Hey, neighbor. Another aspect to the small boutique to be considered is the fact that they need neighbors. Whether it’s street retail in a city setting, strip centers or malls, the little itty bitty boutique needs some friends. Boutiques do not typically do well as stand alone buildings.
- Consider who shops in the area. Is it family oriented? Then perhaps a children's boutique would be a great fit. Is it primarily an area with young hipsters? Then maybe a women’s clothing boutique is just the ticket. Knowing the demographics is always a plus, but even more so when such a specialized retailer is looking for space.
Although there seems to be no end to the mega retailers like Walmart, K-Mart, Target and more, there is also an emerging trend in the world of boutiques. Knowing where they can thrive and succeed is part of our job, and let’s just say… super trendy.