Many years ago, I heard of a legendary retail store where a vending machine had inconspicuously hid away. That’s right, a vending machine as a portal to another land. The vending machine was inside of a bodega, or grocery store, next to a counter with a man behind it. Nothing out of the ordinary. When I finally took the chance to experience this surreal store, the view from the outside showed a façade with glass windows to show its shelves of toilet paper, soap, detergent and other daily essentials typical of a small grocery store. Inside, some dudes sitting at a small table donning their laptops were a clear giveaway to this faux corner store. Upon entering the bodega, I approached this much talked about vending machine. The door, which pictures a can of generic soda, slides to the left as if it were a sliding glass door at the entrance of a–you guessed it–retail store. Much to my surprise, the store within the store housed merchandise atypical for a bodega. There was hardwood floors, Hip-Hop music playing, shelves of shoes and racks of clothing. Its name is, quite fittingly, Bodega.

Based out of Boston’s Back Bay, Bodega is hidden on a small street off of Mass Ave. What started off as a local secret now attracts crammed crowds of nearby Berklee students, and hip tourists from far and wide. Some of the gear I had bought from here was a black t-shirt that pictures a red octopus clutching on to objects like weapons and drugs. I didn’t have the faintest idea as to what it all meant, but it was bad-ass. I also purchased a pair of Clae sneakers, a brand I’ve never heard before then (and even now). What I liked about the brands found in here were that they were independent and below the radar.

Bodega’s social media presence can be seen via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. A recent campaign of theirs was to help spread the news about the release of the women’s Adidas Consortium Samba “Deep Hue” Pack on March 8th (International Women’s day). Bodega promoted this by posting many different pictures of the three colorways. Their message was to simply inform its audience about the impending release online and in store as they normally would. To better approach the importance of this release, Bodega could make better use of content marketing. An article or video of those involved in the sneaker’s design would have sufficed. Consumers should know why the sneakers are relevant to women. As an independent store, Bodega needs to take the extra step in promoting their products–even if they may be established brands.

One thing that Bodega does well with is their constant updating of their current stock and incoming inventory on social media. Consumers know well in advance of their new releases. Their target audience is the sneaker enthusiast, a.k.a. sneakerheads, consumers of streetwear, and those, like myself, who wish to see their posts only to appreciate the art of fashion. I would argue that they are effectively targeting their audience specifically because of Instagram. Any and everyone that scours the ‘gram to find “shoe porn” would be hard missed to not stumble upon Bodega, especially those whom are aware of the Boston streetwear scene. If one is familiar with Boston’s retailers like Concepts, Society, Laced, and Karmaloop then Bodega would most likely be on his or her radar as well because these similar independent stores cater to the same consumer base.

What the Bodega brand does poorly, as far as their social media presence is concerned, is a lack of varied content. For example, Hypebeast.com is a site I frequently visit in order to read up on news about streetwear fashion, culture and anything else that a millennial would find interesting. Bodega, unfortunately, pales in comparison. Upon viewing Bodega’s “blog” page, all that is found are pictures of featured products. If Bodega wants to broaden their consumer base outside of Boston, then a dedicated blog page that incorporates articles about their respective industry is needed.

In the future, I see this brand as nothing more than a local boutique. Bodega does not seem to want to gain a broader customer base. If they do then they should seek out a better PR professional. By better managing their social media presence like in Snapchat, consumers would be able to see the human side of the brand. Apart from this, they should be heavily invested in multiple social media platforms to the point where one would see multiple posts from the brand. To use Hypebeast again as an example, their Instagram account has 15,000 posts with 3.5 million followers, while Bodega has a mere 5,000 posts and 135 thousand followers. Granted, Hypebeast is a news site and not a clothing brand. However, a brand like Bodega should not only advertise their products – they should become involved with their customer base by implementing all aspects of communications.

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