Hand-picked, curated products help build a connection with your customers. By carefully choosing items you know they’ll love, you’re essentially saying to your customers, “This is for you.” Also, by selecting curated products your store, you make it easier for your customers to discover new items, which positions you as a go-to store for both the familiar and the fresh.
However, the product curation process can be a little overwhelming. After all, you have a unique vision, but how can you find the products that align with it just right? Where does one start?
There’s a lot you can do to ensure you’re curating a store your customers will fall head over heels for, and we’ll help to do just that. Let’s get started!
What is product curation?
Product curation is the process of sourcing, editing, and merchandising products in a way that tells a cohesive story and meets your customers’ needs. When you offer a selection of curated products in your shop, you tell a story about your business and differentiate yourself from other retailers, inviting your customers to explore an assortment that is aligned with their values.
The product curation process is also an opportunity to forge a genuine connection with shoppers. A thoughtful collection of hand-picked products can cut through the cluttered retail options and advertisements that consumers face; a curated assortment helps guide customers through your store, pointing them in the direction of items they’ll love. The time-consuming labor of searching for the perfect gift or home accent is replaced with a seamless shopping experience, which can build brand loyalty for your retail business.
How to curate your store
Curating your store comes down to how well you know your customers and understand their needs. You’ll need to put yourself in the shoppers’ shoes and ask the same questions they might ask when shopping in your store. The best product curation bolsters the power of your brand and creates a relationship with your target audience. Here are a few tips for getting started.
How can you be sure the items you select will resonate with your customers? Start with the basics.
Your customers’ shopping behavior will tell you everything you need to know about their tastes, interests, and price point. Go through your current inventory and take note of your bestselling items, what products have been on the shelves for what seems like ages, and everything in between. Pay attention to any trends or patterns you notice as you audit your catalog. Based on what you learn about your customers, you can better determine what products will pique their interest.
In addition to what’s happening in your store, take a look at what’s popular in your niche, what your competitors are doing, and where else your customers are shopping. Having a pulse on what’s happening in your industry as a whole will help guide your research.
Once you complete this initial research, make a list of products you’re interested in adding to your store. You can always test products in your shop and see how they do. Plus, Faire offers free returns on opening orders with thousands of makers, so trying new brands has never been easier—or as low-risk.
The goal is not to include every product idea that pops into your mind in your store. The idea is to edit your list to the point where you have a curated product collection that you feel confident your customers will love.
Narrow your product list
When thinning your list, think about your brand’s values and ethics. These are components that play a massive role in shaping your brand, how your customers connect with you, and how you ultimately deliver the right products to your customers.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to guide your curation process:
- Does this product meet my ideal customer’s needs?
- Does this product align with my store’s price range?
- Is this product up to my brand standards?
- Am I excited about offering this product in my store?
But with so many brands and makers out there, it can be overwhelming to find the right products.
Faire customers can take advantage of helpful features like search filters and collections that make it easy to find the makers that align with your customers’ expectations. Try filtering by brand value, so you can discover suppliers that are eco-friendly, handmade, women-owned, and more.
Ask your customers for feedback
Another great way to fine-tune your curated product list is to ask your customers for their feedback directly.
Whether it be a survey via email or asking them while they’re in-store, understanding how your customers shop, plus what they like and what they think of your products, is a great way to gauge what items you should stock. Figure out the easiest way for you to collect customer feedback and make it a priority.
Asking for customer feedback not only helps you determine the direction you should go with your curation, but it reinforces a strong sense of connection with your customers. Your customers want to feel like their opinions are being heard. Giving them a platform to share those opinions goes a long way in the retail industry.
Examples of curated products
Curated product assortments may look different depending on whether your shop is online or brick-and-mortar. For online shops, production curation can be as simple as a filter that categorizes the items in your store or a collection page that curates products to match a certain vibe such as a beach day or spa day.
For in-person product curation, you’ll want to economize your store space by selecting products that complement one another and appeal to the same demographic. If your store has a hygge aesthetic, then maybe you stock the cinnamon candles next to the knitted throw blankets and tea blends. On Faire, many brands create product collections, giving you a head start on purchasing a well-curated assortment. Here are a few curated products and collections that can help inspire your own curation strategy.
This women-owned French design studio specializes in sustainably made, low-waste home accents and accessories. The palette of calming earth tones is clear throughout their store, and the team curated their digital space to be the perfect playground for someone looking to elevate their home with neutral but sleek vases and planters. Minimum Design offers a sage-tone collection devoted to elements of nature.
With vibrant wind chimes crafted by artisans in northern India, this wholesale brand fosters an eclectic and colorful vibe throughout its online storefront. The chakra-themed chimes and bells call out to the more spirituality driven shopper who’s seeking to fill their garden or patio with soft tinkling harmonies. The brand has several collections focused on the different seasons.
This jewelry brand based in West Virginia combines elements ethically sourced from nature with handmade jewelry. Butterfly wings and flower petals are pressed in resin and turned into pendants for necklaces and earrings. One of its collections on Faire is a birth flower necklace collection where shoppers can choose preserved petals from the month of their birth. This collection gives shoppers an easy opportunity to customize the purchase and learn more about the brand’s craftwork.
This wholesale brand encourages entertainers to become their own mixologists with prepackaged ingredients and garnishes to elevate at-home cocktails. This brand is clearly targeting those who love bringing the party to them and hosting great events for their friends and loved ones. Similar to the other wholesale brands in this list, it’s created a collection of seasonal offerings, in addition to grouping products by different flavor profiles like vanilla bean, mango jalapeño, and peppermint cocoa.
Curation leads to connection
There’s no question: Curation is what separates independent retailers from big-box stores. That’s why so many consumers prefer to shop small—65% of Americans have confidence in small businesses.
Your customers look to you for recommendations, tried-and-true favorites, and new product finds. By merchandising your store with products your customers will love and connect with, you foster a type of customer loyalty that is truly unique in the retail space.
Are you opening a new retail store? Read more about Open with Faire and learn how to apply for up to $20,000 to use toward buying products on Faire.