A few of the definitions can be rather controversial, but the most general ones are those mentioned below. Boutique is widely defined as "a small retail store, the main boutique merchandise being all kinds of gifts and jewelry, fashionable clothing, souvenirs, etc." Besides, the term may also be used in reference to a comparatively small and relatively independent small section of a larger department store or shopping mall, offering its own specific boutique merchandise.
What is common is all the definitions of "boutique" is that it is supposed to provide the customers with highly specialized merchandise or products. Any boutique is oriented at a select stratum of clientele that constitute a specific market niche. It is them who exert direct influence on the marketing strategies of a specific boutique and in an oblique or very pronounced way determine the nature and peculiarities of the boutique merchandise.
A not so sophisticated synonym for "boutique" is "dress shop", which is only appropriate to use in reference to the retail establishment specializing in clothes. When it comes to clothes being the primary boutique merchandise, the specialization may be narrowed down even further, limiting to men`s apparel, children`s fashion, or women`s clothes and jewelry, which is actually the most common occurrence. One may wonder, what is it that draws clients to specialized boutiques? Well, first of all, it is the customer`s desire to be one of the members of the aristocratic league that the boutique management regards as the targeted clientele.
Besides, of course, there is the desire to stand out in the crowd being the fortunate owner of a unique or exclusive thing that will manifest their originality and taste. Moreover, there is a conventional stereotype that only designer clad people have the right to claim to belong to the top level class of the society. Boutique merchandise can serve as a statement that the person is in touch with modern tastes, and still give their appearance a touch of uniqueness, but that is only provided that all the accessories are in good balance with each other.
In other words, boutique merchandise can effectively serve as some sort of arsenal for a person armed with sophisticated taste, who is also familiar with modern trends in fashion sphere. The possible impression may be such that boutiques are something beyond the scope of stores accessible for general public, but it is a mistake to think this way. The primary marketing policy of present-day boutiques is making people friendly regardless of the level of income or belonging to a particular social segment. In course of time boutiques are likely to enlarge the range of their specialization, but boutique merchandise is not likely to lose the touch of exclusiveness that remains their primary attractive factor.