June 29, 2017 @ 5:39 PM

Making it as an independent retailer is harder than ever before, no longer is your competition just down the street, but small business owners are forced to face off with the largest online retailers too. Here are 5 tips to help make your boutique stand out and keep customers coming back for more.
Tell a Visual Story
Your storefront window displays need to tell passersby what your boutique is all about in a split second. An inviting well-designed window display should not only encourage impulse shopping but should also create an emotional connection with your target demographic drawing them in.
Connect Online with Offline
Your online presence should be an online window into your brick and mortar store. The more content you can create on site showcasing your location and style the more likely local social followers are to come in to see if for themselves. Be sure that you have set up the correct geotags so your posts show your store as the location of your social posts. Also if possible create a unique feature that would encourage people to take a photo in front of it and share, like a brightly colored wall or an amazing display. Be sure to feature employees and the open prominently in social posts so customers feel like they already know you and your staff when they do come into the store. 
Be Locally Relevant
You may sell online globally, but you want to keep the doors open locally. Make sure you are networking and collaborating with other independent retailers, restaurants, and brands in your community. Think outside the box and find ways you can promote each other. If your store is in a popular retail center or historic part of town, get together to dominate local social media and promote your center or shopping district. With social media platforms like Instagram adding story streams based on geographical location, this is only going to become more important in the future. 
Build Relationships with Local Influencers 
Finding your local heroes can be challenging but partnering with them can reap big rewards for your store. Tools like Trendspotter (an app within Hootsuite) can help, but with enough good old fashion research, you can find the top influencers in your community without a costly app. Local bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers love the opportunity to partner with local retailer and brands to create content their fans will enjoy. If they have a large enough following offering to host their meet and greets or offering their followers special discounts can help drive traffic and create new raving fans for your business. 
Experience Focused Sales
Odds are your boutique sells stuff that most people don't "need" what they need is different customer experience and a reason to come to your store first. This means you need to sweat the details, music, scent, packaging all matter. Make sure every aspect of your customer experience is amazing, but don't confuse creating a great experience with just spending money on the most expensive tile for the bathroom, a brown craft paper bag with a hand stamped logo can do the trick. Tailoring your store's experience to your customers will take time, but it is time well spent. 
Have more questions or need more info? Connect with Mike on Facebook and send him a message or join our Facebook Group and feel free to post your question there. 
About Mike:
Mike Satterfield serves as the creative director for RBR Inc. and founded the Original Cowgirl® and Morgan's & Phillip's™ brands. Mike also run the popular website TheGentlemanRacer.com and has contributed as an author and photographer to a number of, blogs, publications, and books. He has been tapped to speak at conferences like Dad 2.0 and Peru Moda on new media and fashion marketing and has worked with major brands such as Sony, Fiat, Old Spice, eBay, Hard Rock Hotel, Kia, and others.