I own a small indie (financed it myself using earnings in previous corporate job). Won't say the name (I've mentioned it before when relevant for fukers discount, it's been mentioned in this thread). Don't know the future tbh given what's happened recently economically. Dealt directly with a few brands mentioned in this thread, as well as some of the agencies (Four Marketing, etc.).
Anyway, I've been thinking about how shops can create more of a connection with their customers. There are the patreon things out there (e.g. Kafka), but is there more possible options than just giving discounts for loyal customers?
What about a concept where your customers can help to shape the store? What if I let the FUK community help decide which new brands to bring in? Or model the clothes? And in exchange, you get a permanent discount, or exclusivity on some of the clothing before it becomes live? The shop wins with a 'truly' loyal customer base, and the customer wins with tangible savings/knowing that they shaped the store.
I guess a lot of it comes down to the level of interaction people want with a store. Is it purely a transactional relationship you want? Do you want to go in (to a store or a site) and be inspired with new brands that you haven't heard before? Or do you just wish there was a store that stocked an obscure Japanese brand that you love?
This was a literal shower thought this morning, but would be great to get people's view. It might just all be bullshit