In a world where most things are mass-produced, those that are unique and personalized are more valued.
But unless it’s a business on specialized crafts, like a carved furniture shop or maybe a needlework boutique, retail shops would be dealing with mass-produced goods. And if you have an established grocery or department store in your locality, it would be difficult to compete in the market.
Retailers, however, have found a niche in the tourism industry in the form of souvenir and gift shops. Around the world, you would see the same things being sold in these shops. There are magnets, key chains, can openers, pins, and the like. So how come people still buy them? Retailers have somehow made these products unique, a magnet or key chain you could only buy in New York or Paris, and not anywhere else in the world.
The more distinct they are from their mass-produced counterparts, the more expensive they could be. It doesn’t matter if they all come from the same factory somewhere. Once they’re in your store, it’s up to you how to make them different. We have a few ideas on how to differentiate your products and add value to them.
People are easily attracted to well-presented items. You could get a rotary die cutter to make boxes and packages that would be unique to your store. Have someone create a design that would communicate your brand. Are you appealing as a whimsical shop? Are you going for the crisp, modern, and minimal look? Play with colors could speak to your target consumers so make them appropriate to your market. Make your package speak about your store.
Storytelling through your shop
When customers go from one store successively, what they remember at the end of the day are the stores that had a unique ambiance. They wouldn’t share with their friends their experience in Walmart. They would be talking about a unique gift shop that had the atmosphere of a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party or a souvenir shop that was straight off Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. And when word gets around about your shop, it doesn’t matter if customers could buy your shop items in their neighborhood store. They would want to visit you because of your shop.
This idea would mean you have to put in more effort. But the more personal effort also means more value. Remaking doesn’t mean you have to pull apart the products and make something new. You could infuse some parts of these mass-produced items with something unique to your locality. For example, your place is known for a semi-precious stone.
Remove plastic beads from the bracelets or bags you get from factories and replace them with your local gems. If your place is known for leather, you could add tags or holders that are made of leather. Mundane shot glasses and cups that could be bought anywhere can be made unique if you add a sleeve unique to your shop.
Personal notes and freebies
Although you might be selling exactly the same set of coasters or same paperweights as the shop next to you, customers would remember you if you add a note to your packages. Clip a positive saying to the receipt. Or add a trivia card. It’s an add-on that customers are not expecting, so they would appreciate it. If you can be more generous, you could also add a candy bar in their packages or a simple key chain that has your store’s logo.
Hand-painting mundane items
This idea is no longer that novel if applied to key chains, mugs, and whatnots normally found in souvenir shops. But if you choose items like playing cards, cake cutters, maybe even mug racks, you’d have a more interesting display. These are great gift items, useful in the daily activities at home, but pretty enough to display. Other customized hand-painted items include totes, sneakers, and canvass boxes. You could explore these if you have talented artists on-call.
Because most of our production processes are now done with machines, people have given more value to products that are hand-crafted. Not only are people paying for the product itself, but they are appreciating the time given to craft the item. It is not cheating if you make mass-produced goods your base for your personalized items.
The machines simply give you a starting point. You still put in time and creativity into these items. In a world that’s full of people wanting to be different, mass production is no longer appealing. Make your business stand out by combining the capacity of technology to produce large quantities with the human touch.