Indie Retailing 101: How to Tap into Taste
Your audience and your brand are constantly co-evolving alongside one another. Especially in younger generations, trends and popular styles change constantly, and it can feel like running in circles trying to chase the latest styles.
Fitted with the basic information of your target demographic (age, gender, and location are a good place to start), you then need to do a bit of research into what brands speak best to your customers today. From trending smokeware and home decor to street style and even popular music, there are many outlets to tap into the psyche of your space. Once you lay it all out, you’ll see the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together — and where the gaps you’re filling lie.
Ahead of the Curve
Specifically, looking at SEO search trends amongst your targeted demographic is a great way to break through the haze of the most popular general search terms online. On social media, you can take a peek at hashtags trending by region, or even just scroll into the comments to take a tip from what tags the most popular creators in your space are using. The more hyper-specific you get, the better: the rise of the micro-influencer shows a new marketplace that holds room for plenty of individual brand voices. This trend research can help you decide which new cannabis and supporting accessories are best to bring in.
Don't fall into the track of seeing what your competitors are stocking, that product may not have good sales and you don't want to offer more, "me too," product.
Search Far & Wide
Having a general knowledge of what’s going on in the media and online is a huge plus, but we can’t stay plugged in all the time. Recap media like podcasts, newsletters, and vlogs are aplenty in every industry to give you the round-up you need without becoming a time-suck.
You can also keep an eye on the editorial calendars for publications and other content your audience is into to help plan your year ahead. Though some of the biggest spikes are unpredictable, humans are attuned to a fairly cyclical set of interests and styles.
A great way to keep track of it all is a good old-fashioned mood board, digital or otherwise: your swatches of colors and textures, pop culture staples, general feelings you’d like to evoke. Creating a vibe starts at home.
Make it Personal
From product to packaging, you can carry your distinct voice through every element of your customer experience: the more you speak to them throughout the process, the more they’ll relate.
Additionally, one quality that we all possess is the power of being a potential customer. Sometimes, small business owners can diminish our own power as potential customers because we’re so close to our brands, but we don’t need to overthink it: tap into your own taste for some cues.
What's the Toke Away?
(1) CHANGE IS CONSTANT - Staying tapped into the trends in your market is key to ensure you have product your customers are hearing about.
(2) USE AVAILABLE TOOLS - SEO searches, trending hashtags, influencer posting and more are all free, accessible tools you can leverage to ensure your store has the right goods in stock before your customers are asking for it. Be the place your customers go to for the latest and greatest.
(3) DO A PERSONAL AUDIT - Shop your own store. Can you find the new cannabis SKU you just brought in and were excited about? Are you excited about your store when you walk in?
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