One part of advertising that many small retailers may over look is the experience the customer has while in the store. I'm not just talking about what color you paint the store, I'm talking about everything that the customer sees, hears, smells, and feels while shopping.
One of my favorite parts of Ad Age is their three minute video news briefs. This past friday they talked with a high-end fashion store in NY that has differentiated itself by providing the history behind a piece of clothing. All of the clothing at Operations has a history behind: Fireman's Jackets, Railroad worker pants, watchmaker shirts. The owner explains that what sells their product isn't the style of clothing. A type of clothing can be duplicated easily. What sells the product is the history and the authenticity it adds to every piece of clothing.
3 minute Ad Age
The main part of this clip that I picked up on was that every salesperson is trained on every item. They all know the history of the piece. That is quite a bit of dedication to training, and a large investment into each worker. But that point of sale marketing is what makes the difference in their store. I would love to know if a short synopsis of the history of the piece is included in every purchase. That way the customer could become a brand advocate and tell the story of the piece more easily.
Operations does have a website, though it does not look like any of their clothing is available for sale on it. http://www.operationsny.com/