Top Social Trends for Small Boutiques

by Michelle Hoang July 05, 2015

If there are top social trends for those who own small boutiques to know about, they would have to include the two following items:

  • Retailers are now focusing on virtual and wholesale buying.
  • Social Media is about brand awareness and store identity rather than sales.

In regards to that first issue, wholesale clothing has usually been sold in a few ways, primarily through trade shows and then via specific brand manufacturers. Because there is a growing trend in wholesale boutique apparel, the budgets for attendance at multiple trade shows each season have fallen off or disappeared altogether. The wholesale clothing industry recognizes this and is now offering larger and more comprehensive shows, as well as remote purchasing options through online showrooms and marketplaces. This enables buyers to find wholesale boutique apparel in addition to the broader "ready to wear" lines.

The Social Media of Fashion

With fashion and wholesale clothing becoming a fixture in the online world, it can seem daunting to a boutique owner to reach their target audience. After all, if buyers can go online, find fashions they like on their own, and then use a distributor's website to find their local sellers, it can quickly cut the boutique out of the loop.

This is why social media has become much more about brand awareness and your store's particular identity. Rather than flooding your Facebook audience's walls with offers of special deals or promotional options, it is far wiser to show off your ability to be a fashion forecaster, champion stylist, and leading provider of contemporary looks.

How? Rather than promoting sales, promote fashion. Use the visual component of your social media platforms to show off your upcoming product lines, but not in a sales-oriented way. In fact, by putting together some looks and asking for feedback, you can begin to really hone your store's identity and discover brands that your buyers want and may pursue elsewhere unless you offer them.

As a prime example of this, you might show some of the wholesale boutique apparel you have coming for the upcoming season, and then provide your audience with a chance to identify the brand of shoes or the type of jewelry they would pair with the look. You might even make a contest out of it by opening one board on Pinterest.

As a boutique owner, you rely on wholesale clothing to shape your image, but you don't emphasize one brand. Instead, it is your vision that is the brand. Using your social media options to develop brand awareness is the smartest and most effective method of benefiting from this modern marketing channel.

Should You Sell Via Social Media?

Another trend to consider with your wholesale boutique apparel business is the use of mobile commerce. While you don't want to use social media as a sales platform, you can allow your audience to purchase through some of these channels. Again, Pinterest is a great one for allowing sales, but you can also use other social media like Twitter or Facebook to use imagery as a means to sales.

Provide links to landing pages at your website and you should be able to easily promote sales without making your messages all about the sales.

Do keep in mind that one of the biggest mistakes that many boutique owners make with their social media is to ignore the "two-way" nature of communication. In other words, if you put information about the wholesale clothing you are soon to make available on a social media site, get loads of comments and feedback, but remain silent, you are making a huge mistake.

Social media is just that - social. You need to be responsive to everything and anything that is said to you on these platforms. However, they are always incredibly helpful to boutique owners simply because they each allow you to learn more about your buyers and really get to know their tastes and wishes.

Source 5 Boutique Retail Trends for 2013.

Michelle Hoang
Michelle Hoang