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Clothing Boutique vs Retail Store: What's the Difference?

Posted on May 05 2021

clothing boutique

Did you know that the word boutique was borrowed from the French? Boutique comes from a word that translates to "shop". Aside from its ooh-la-la origins, boutiques can now be found all over the world. 

What exactly is a clothing boutique and how does it differ from a retail store? We explain the answers you need to know here.

Retail Store

The definition of a retail store can be pretty broad these days, with the invention of online shopping and big-box stores. But generally, it means a business that sells goods. Retail stores can be a stand-alone shop, a chain, or even a franchise owned by another business or corporation--and it is usually operated by a manager and their employees.

Because of their size, these stores can stock a large variety of items that appeal to a large portion of the population. While some focus on specialty items, many shops carry a wide range of products that are advertised online. Some may even manufacture their own lines, or simply carry other easily recognizable brands.  

Clothing Boutique

Why shop at a boutique? If you are looking for a personalized experience, a boutique might be for you. Boutiques are usually privately owned by someone who has built the business from the ground up and often works in the store. 

Unlike regular retail stores, boutiques can offer a more personal touch, like hosting community-building events like private shopping parties. For customers that prefer one-on-one assistance as they shop, a boutique gives the opportunity to interact with the owner and staff.

Due to their small nature, boutiques can also share their expertise with their clients and provide advice that larger retailers may not have the time and interest to do. 

Clothing Boutique vs. Retail Store

What's in a name? If it's called a retail store, it might be large, and if it's called a boutique, it might be small--but the bottom line is that both sell a variety of goods. Because retail shops usually sell mass-produced items bought at wholesale, they often have more deals and are good for bargain-hunters and coupon-cutters.

Whereas boutiques can be more pricey because they often carry higher-end, locally produced, and/or smaller batch goods from unique vendors. They might have less of a selection than bigger stores, but you can usually find a thoughtfully catered selection that caters to a particular style.

Finally, retail stores are designed to be a blank palette for their products, whereas boutiques usually reflect a sense of charm and comfort. 

Want to Have a Clothing Boutique Experience?

If you've been wondering, what is a clothing boutique, now you know! In the world of shopping, boutique vs. store, there is a big difference. Boutiques can offer a unique experience from a regular retail store, and build relationships and trust. 

Searching for Omaha boutiques? Learn more about our new arrivals here. With boutiques in Elkhorn and a boutique in Holdrege, you can have your own boutique shopping experience in Nebraska.