The positioning of your business demonstrates where you stand in comparison to your competitors. A positioning grid helps to create a visual tool which assists us in seeing where we can improve to better align or outrank our competitors in the aspects that really count.
I chose to focus on two major components, price and variety/selection. Price is important to customers when it comes to their first impression. In the clothing industry, sticker shock can prevent a customer from further browsing your selection. In our current market-space, our ideal client is not attracted to flashy and expensive pieces. This is a constant frustration for shoppers who want to shop in local boutiques but do not have a large budget. As consumers within this market, we knew what was missing and what we want to provide to create a solution to this frustration.
We realize as a new business that our variety and selection is slightly lacking in comparison to our competitors. However, we have made sure that what we do carry is broad in sizing. We carry a wide range of sizes something that is also often lacking in many boutiques.
To begin my research, I reached out to existing and potential customers in our “Regina Nicole Boutique VIP Shopping Group” on Facebook. This group consists of around 600 interested consumers who have either bought from our business or has engaged with us about the products we carry. I had them complete a poll, there were about 20 or so participants. This was really just a way for me to get a good idea of how our ideal client perceives us in comparison to our competitors. The results show that the majority of our sample find us to be as or more affordable than our competitors. It also heavily indicated that we offer less variety and selection of products than our immediate competitors. There were no votes that showed that we are perceived as more expensive than competitors.
The next step I took was to reach out to some women in our ideal client category and have them rank Regina Nicole Boutique in comparison to immediate competitors based on price and selection/variety. It should be noted that as an existing business, we also gain a good bit of insight from our customers when they come into the store to shop. Customers will often make comments such as, “Wow, your prices are affordable for the quality.” or “Your prices are much less than __________.” or even “I think you all will do well if you get more selection.” As involved and visible owners we are directly getting this feedback from customers and can see their level of appreciation for our pricing.
By reaching out to clients and researching, it was reiterated to us that we really need to up our selection of products to really compete. We knew going in that our store is small and one of our goals is to grow, but it just became blatantly obvious that when it comes to selection we fall below the competition. I really saw this in the ranking lists that I received back. Every one of our immediate competitors has a wider range of offerings than we can provide at this time. When you look at our competition though, only one other women’s boutique exists in our area. This particular boutique is longstanding and has a large variety, however, we strive to differentiate ourselves in other ways. Our other two immediate competitors are a general store (these types of stores sell boutique brands) and a department store (which contains several departments, some of which we are not aiming to provide).
Though, some data we were already privy to, I can appreciate the honest feedback, tips, and advice we received from customers because of this research.
It is obvious that we compete well on price but our variety puts us at a slight disadvantage. So, this brings to question, in what other ways can we differentiate ourselves? For one, we must have the understanding that we are not just selling clothes. We strive to get to know and remember our customers, and provide a welcoming ambience and comfortable environment. We also offer a wide size variety that is not common in the boutique industry. We are selling confidence, friendship, and influence. Since we can provide a level of service and an experience that our customers can value and are unable to receive at, say a department store where things are a lot less intimate, we can sell our products at a premium price. While we compete well on price we are not the cheapest clothing option if customers were to break out of our immediate market. Our customers are willing to pay these prices because they can shop local, feel the pieces, try them on, and take them home that day. They get the full shopping experience and leave feeling great about their purchases and the service received.
We make ourselves and our brand visible to our customers in a variety of ways and we are looking to expand this area and our brand visibility.
Current Points of Contact and Visibility
- Email (four different email addresses)
- Facebook Page
- Facebook Group
- Owner’s personal Facebook profiles
- Newspaper (rare)
Future Points of Contact and Visibility
- Radio Ads
- Direct Marketing
- Community Involvement
We also use a variety of material and mediums to communicate our competitive advantage to our clients:
Materials and Messages
- Name and Logo
- Email Newsletters
- Facebook Page
- Facebook Group
- Social Media Advertising
- Networking Events and Opportunities
- Customer Service
- Direct Mail
- Business Cards
- Employee Attitudes
- Our Story, Mission, Values, Vision
- Owner Visibility
- Vendor Events
- Smells, Sights, Ambience, Environment
- Presentation of Products/Merchandising
- Package Branding for both In-store and Shipments
Our positioning statement is very unique and further demonstrates what sets us apart from the competition.
For the average women 25-34 looking to feel stylish and comfortable no matter her size or budget.
Regina Nicole Boutique is the affordable local boutique that helps inspire confidence and encourage a sense of empowerment and community to the local women of Jackson County, North Carolina.
We go out of our way to handpick quality pieces from brands that provide a full range of sizes. We keep our pricing reasonable and our styles fresh.
We are a woman-owned boutique striving to make the average woman feel more than average.
In conclusion, we have gained much insight from looking at our positioning in the local boutique market. We know where we stand and can work to grow in the areas that we need to. I am interested in seeing what this positioning grid will look like in a year’s time.