A new season is approaching and with it comes the excitement of buying new stock. Seeing your agent, receiving a new Look Book or checking a suppliers website to see the newest styles and colours is all part of being a fashion retailer that we love. While a fun process, it also requires a lot of decision making and a degree of risk and uncertainty, after all how can you be 100% certain that your customer will actually buy what you have taken hours to decide on?
To help, we found this article which includes 5 fundamental tips to buying successfully. Written by Lauren Jones, Lauren is the women’s wear buyer for General Pants Group and is responsible for developing ranges of stock worth millions for stores across the globe. Click here to discover how she keeps her head clear and her customer clearly in mind customer when buying.
As we all know retailing today has changed so much in just a few years; social media and online shopping has completely changed the retail landscape. So the question is why are so many retailers still using antiquated marketing while consumers rapidly adopt new technologies and social media platforms?
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to get up to speed and adopt these new techniques so you can stand out from you’re sleepy competitors because we guarantee, virtually no one around you is doing any or all of the following:
1. Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & You Tube
Having a presence on social media is a must. Facebook is the very least of the platforms you should have and if your customers are generally under 30 you should also be on Instagram. Also consider doing reviews of your products on You Tube and then post the to your Facebook page. There are a several great apps that you can use to post videos straight from your iPhone making this process super quick and easy. If this sounds overwhelming seek the help of a friend or family member and commit to learning 1 social media platform each month. This will help you to get comfortable with using it and over time posting and pinning will become second nature and part of your normal day activities.
2. Collecting Customer Emails
This should be priority number 2 as it’s easy, fast and cheap. All you need to do is place some paper on your counter and ask people for their email addresses. Done! This will enable you to email your customer list and tell them about your latest sales, new stock etc. To find out more click here to read our earlier blog post.
3. Create Relationships With Stores Around You
Consider working with your local hairdresser, tanning salon, beauty salon or gym. You can work on promoting each others businesses by referring customers to each other. By creating a simple voucher/discount card your local hairdresser can refer customers to you and you can refer customers back! Keep it simple, especially at the start and always keep the cards to determine the effectiveness of the promotion. Discount cards can be ordered via websites such as www.vistaprint.com which offers 250 postcards for
as little as $10.
4. Selling Online & Sell In Store
Millions of dollars of products are sold on online every day and each year the percentage of online sales continues to grow. For most retailers the next step is to create an online store so your customers can access all your goodies 24 hours a day. Fortunately, there are many options to do this – from monthly subscriptions to one off fee sites & depending on your budget and your goals, this should be your next step.
Options include sites like Shopify, Big Commerce or custom developed sites using Magento or Opencart. Of course, these all have their positives and negatives and researching the best options for your store is essential.
The key to success is to stay with the times and make sure you use the same social media platforms your customers do. Don’t get left behind and miss out on the awesome opportunity that social media and the internet have provided for small businesses with small budgets. Advertising is largely free due to internet so make the most of it!
Have you ever taken a great photo of a new product and then uploaded it to Facebook and bang all of a sudden your photo looks blurry and awful? Well that’s what happened to us recently and I was horrified. The photo I had diligently worked on ended up looking like an unprofessional blurred blunder!
So I had to find the reason why as I like my photos (as I’m sure you do too) to be picture perfect. In a nutshell these are 2 big things you have to remember (until Facebook does another update!).
1. The magic numbers are 504 x 504. Make sure all your images are at least this size. If you stick by these numbers or higher you won’t get the any greys around the edges.
2. When you create an album post put your best pic first in the album BUT always try to make it a “portrait image” as it will look better as Facebook automatically arranges the images automatically based on whether they are landscape or portrait.
These 2 Facebook facts are easy to remember but there’s so much more you can learn and if you’re up for it you can find great info at this page. And if you know any more please comment below
I discovered this picture when searching through Sarah Jessica Parker’s new shoe line, besides the amazing shoes and mirror, my eye was immediately drawn to the 2 tables with the flowers and shoes on top. If you take everything else away and focus on this area it’s such a simple and effective idea and all you need is
1 or 2 tables and a bowl of beautiful flowers to place on top. To save on cost you can mix real and fake flowers together or if you are near the beach add in succulents. Aldi has $5 bunches of flowers and your local $2 shop you can get some good quality flowers to mix with them.
This setup would also look great in a shop window with a small mat underneath. The options are endless but the key to making this work is to only display your most beautiful (ideally coloured shoes) onto the table because it’s all about creating a visual centrepiece that customers are drawn to.
Take photos of your customers and put them on a pin board. Then place the board in a prominent position so when customers come in they can easily see it. This not only builds the reputation of your business but gives new customers reassurance that you stock must be great, after all look at all the happy customers on your board!
A cheap cork board is perfect so when you’re starting, flick through
the latest magazines and cut out pictures of stock that’s similar to yours (exact is even better), or celebrities wearing stock that is similar shape or style to yours.
You can also include the next seasons colour trends and and what’s coming soon. The photo on the left is an example of what your fashion board can look like but just imagine it with your stock and your customers on it instead!
Your fashion board will make a awesome talking point and provides a great opportunity to engage with your customers and show that you are up to date with changing trends plus we all love to buy clothes and shoes “like” celebrities are wearing!
Another idea for those that stock items that are Eco-friendly or help a charity. Share the story behind the products that you have selected to sell and we guarantee you will sell more :).
by Phoebes Garland, Features Writer for EXPOSED Online
We all want to know what’s hot and what’s not and who better than Phoebe Garland from fashion agency Garland and Garland. Here is an extract from her article on Exposed Online.
1. Educating Your Customer: Educating your customer on the difference of quality between a $15.00 t-shirt at Kmart or Target and a $129.00 top or more, and how and where it’s made and the difference in quality. This will require asking your supplier more information about the materials and how the actual shoe/dress is made and how to take care of the garment*.
2. Textured Fabrics and Natural Luxe Fabrics: Think quality Merino wool knitwear and leather, soft angoras with viscose blends to keep it affordable. Silk in summer, Merino in winter and breathable fabrics. Nice!
3. Ageless Dressing: Fashion, which would appeal to a 30 year old, but also a 60 year old. Think shift dresses, tunics, and kaftans for example. It’s about simple elegant shapes that can be lifted and boosted with great texture, prints and colour.
4. Knitwear: Good fashion knitwear for winter, we can’t get enough of it. Fashion knitwear is something we can’t get enough of and in short supply and I do mean fashion. Sadly too many operators are hearing the word knitwear without putting the word fashion in front of it.
5. Colour & Prints: Colour is still big perhaps everywhere in Australia, except in Melbourne, which I am sure black has almost been declared a state colour down there in terms of sales. Colour is here to stay from winter right through to summer and is huge overseas. Think strong solid colour and prints. Expect to see fluoro’s in summer, bright blues, bright yellows and greens it was big in New York for spring and can’t wait to see it in stores too.
*Look out for our Shoe Butcher segment where we cut up our shoes to reveals what’s inside.
Having a Facebook page is exactly like having a roof on your house, you just have to have one and here is the primary reason why.
Take a moment to think about your customers and ask yourself how many do you think have a Facebook page, my guess would be at least 50-80% have a Facebook page and most of them would visit it at least once a day if not more. Now, that’s an amazing number of customers that you can contact for free “if” you have a Facebook page.
So how do you get started? If you need help to start an account or don’t have time to learn, ask a friend, relative or staff member for help even You Tube is an excellent source with hundreds of videos showing how to start an account.
Then once you have done that, spend some time on the Facebook pages of major fashion brands or even similar stores in your area to see how they do it. They are a great source for ideas and you will quickly learn what to post.
Now remember it’s NEVER too late to start BUT the sooner you do it the better because what you post on Facebook can have a direct impact on your in store sales, just make sure that you post regularly and with lots of great helpful information and pretty pictures. Good luck!
If you haven’t purchased an A-Frame for your store then make it a must! These double sided signs will pay for themselves over and over but you have to make sure you use it correctly by putting the right graphic on each side. Here are some tips to create your ultimate A-Frame.
- Keep it Simple! Do not put too many words or images on the sign.
- Choose 2 or 3 colours (at the most) – Your sign will be easier to read, have more impact and will stand out more.
- Include your shop name and logo, but don’t make your logo too big – the name of your store is more important.
- Use the same colours and fonts as your store. This will help with your branding.
5. Include an Arrow – This is to direct people to your front door.6. Think about where you will position your A-Frame. Will it get wet
or easily blow over? These are important to consider so stand lasts a long time.7. From time to time place balloons, streamers or Gerbera’s, flags on your stand to attract extra attention.8. When you bring the stand in at night place it near your front door for
extra advertising and hang a small poster on it with a special offer when they come in and visit while you’re open!
In general you should be making a major change to your window display every 4-6 weeks maximum. This keeps your window looking fresh and gives you the opportunity to capitalise on different seasons, holidays and special events such as race day, mothers day etc.
Now if the thought of changing your window makes you worry about time or money we’ll be sharing some very clever DIY ideas over the next coming months that we promise will not break your budget!
And if you’re still not convinced, why not call your local high school, TAFE or University and ask if any students would like to do it. Some fashion, visual merchandising or art students would jump at the chance to regularly decorate a window. It also gives them invaluable experience and photos for their portfolio. Just provide them the stock you would like displayed and a small budget and you won’t have to do a thing! You could also ask them to do 4 windows in 1 year, provide a brief or some inspiration and then ask them to share their ideas before they start. It’s a win, win for everyone :).
Photo is courtesy of Pinterest