Having an identity for your store is more than the name above the door or on your bags. It’s the association of what you are known for. What do people think of when they think of your boutique?
If you can’t answer that question then your clients for sure can’t either. Work on what you want to be known for and focus on building that identity both in-store and in your marketing. Try doing this exercise with your favorite stores first, be it another local boutique or a larger chain store and see how your answers look, then work on your own.
Whether you have a physical store or an online store, can you describe your concept in 3 or 4 words? Not only your product categories but include some other descriptive words you would use for your store.
Are you age specific, women’s only, fashion only, gifts only? Perhaps you are focused on customer service more than price or you are value driven. Are you luxury? Convenient?
The way you describe your store when a stranger asks you at a party is very ‘telling’ as to how you want it to be seen. Practice this answer so you start to build out your brand identity.
The next part of our store identity discussion is about your logo…your store name. Probably the first thing you think of when we say store identity…
But how prominent is yours in your store? Sure, likely you have it on a big signboard above the front window but once inside, where is it?
I used to get feedback from clients in the early days of my retail business that they didn’t actually know the name of my store. Sure they knew it by location & by what I sold, but they would just walk in and not look up above the door to see the name. So I made it so they couldn’t miss it. I had a huge logo made in 3D for the wall right behind my cash desk. Now they saw it!
Then I added it to price tags, to gift tags and of course to my receipts. You see the value of your store, particularly if you are a multi-brand store who doesn’t manufacturer your own products, is in your store brand name & the associating trust that clients build up with that name.
Let’s talk inventory for a moment. Your product mix. You started out selling baby clothes, then slowly grew out your toy section which turned into a kids clothing section and now you are considering lunchboxes and backpacks…sound familiar??
For sure your store will evolve in terms of your product offerings but I am a firm believer that you can lose your store identity if you try to sell too many different things. We’ve all been into one of those stores and ended up overwhelmed by what is on offer. It can be exhausting as a customer.
Variety is great – mini-department store chaos is not. Find the line, listen to your customers for sure but keep within your own store identity guidelines when making inventory purchases.
Whether it’s your storefront, your merchandising, your cash desk, your customer receipt or your monthly newsletter, keeping your brand identity consistent throughout all touchpoints is really important.
Customers start to emotionally relate to your brand through experience and consistency. Touchpoints happen not only when they step inside your store or log onto to your website but also through many other moments. For example if you are an online store and your order arrives in a mess to the customer, that is a customer touchpoint that is not consistent with your brand identity.
See your store identity as a living, breathing thing and nurture it at all times. Don’t overlook moments such as when a customer calls or uses your online chat. Everything matters. Be consistent.