In an ideal world, you would be able to manage a fashion boutique based on your personal taste and on what you exclusively want to put in your window display. However, in the real world, it doesn't work that way at all.
If you want your store to thrive and become a successful business, you have to manage your inventory based on local market factors and customer behavior.
But, of course, you don't have a crystal ball nor can you read the minds of customers. And you might think that many decisions must be made by instinct or assumptions.
This is precisely why market research is essential. It helps eliminate much of that uncertainty, helping you to better understand your target customers, your competition, your products and the industry in general. When you know all this, your fashion boutique has much more chances of success.
In a nutshell: market research collects the information you need to know about the needs and preferences of customers, helping to understand why they want (or don't want) to buy your products.
Use market research to learn about your client's mindset
Knowing your target customers' mindset will help you offer them items that go according to their values, taste and needs.
Find out who your customers are, what style of clothes they like to wear and how they feel reflected in their fashion choices.
The fashion world and trends change all the time
If there's an industry that is continually changing, it's fashion. So, the key to successful market research in the fashion world is keeping in mind that it never ends.
Just because you do market research now, doesn't mean you don't have to do it again — quite the opposite. A lot can change in 1 year or just a few months, so it's best to do market research on a regular basis. Adopt it as one of the permanent tasks within the management of your fashion boutique.
How to do market research?
A lot of companies prefer to hire professional services for market research, which is very good. But, if you prefer to do the research yourself, this is how you can do it:
Customer opinions and reviews: analyze what people say about the products you sell and about your competition. This is especially easy to do with the reviews that people write on Facebook business pages. Take the time to read what customers write on your own page and your competitors’ pages.
Customer surveys: you can do them via email or in your store. You’ll be surprised by all that you can learn from them.
In-depth interviews: ask your clients if they allow you to call them one day to have an in-depth telephone interview. That will be your opportunity to ask them everything you want to know about their shopping habits, relation with fashion, etc.
Sales records: an excellent option to learn more about your market is to review the information of customers and sales that you already have in your records.
- Talk with your employees: your staff has privileged information about the behavior of people who enter your store (whether they buy something or just come in to see). Talk with your employees and ask them which are the most frequent questions of the customers, or the behavior they observe, such as customers spending more time looking at specific items, or showing interest or displeasure.