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Big Box Stores vs. Boutiques

Author: Erin Schneider | Date: August 29, 2012

I love to shop for my dog. I love looking for the best equipment and the best food and treats. Bailey is one spoiled pup! After years of shopping for my dog and helping clients find the best products for their own dogs, I have have formed some opinions about big box stores and boutiques. Below are some of the pros to both options.

Big Box pros:

  • Variety: This is one area where big box stores beat boutiques. They tend to carry a larger selection of products for a variety of animals. I’m not talking quality here, just variety/quantity. If I can’t find what I need at my local pet boutique, I will end up at the big box store for things like car harnesses, which can be harder to find at smaller stores.
  • Price: Because you are dealing with a store that can hold more inventory, you are going to get a better price. That being said, there are many boutiques that offer very good prices.

Boutique pros:

  • Quality: This is a big one for me. Because most boutiques are often owned by individuals who have a real passion for what they are selling, they put a lot of thought and care into the products they choose. Many boutiques offer food and treats that you can’t find in big box stores, such as all natural brands.
  • Customer Service: When I ask a question about a product, it is nice talking to someone who knows what they are talking about and also acts like they care. I have walked into multiple big box stores and asked for something simple and got no more than a shrug or worse, an attitude. Sometimes it feels like I am bothering them or something. I’m not saying that everyone who works in big box stores are not customer friendly, I have had good service, too. I just think the staff at boutiques tend to be a little more enthusiastic about helping.
  • Knowledge: When I walk into a store and need to purchase something important for my dog, like dog food, I like to know that my questions will be answered and I will have the support I need to find the best product. Most boutiques take the time to really educate their staff on the products they sell. This is very important for me.
  • Original products: Whenever I walk into a boutique, I find a new product that I haven’t seen before. I have found all of Bailey’s collars and leashes at boutiques because they have a great variety of fun, original products.
  • Overall ambience: Boutiques have their own personality. I enjoy walking into my favorite boutique because it is more than just an errand I have to run, it is an experience.

As you can see, in my opinion, boutiques have a few more pros than big box stores. I am not telling you that you shouldn’t shop at the big stores, but maybe give your local boutique a chance.

What are your thoughts about big box stores vs. boutiques? Did I miss any pros or cons?


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