What are marketing tactics for a startup in the fashion industry?

Answer by Syama Meagher:

Often times online fashion brands dont look at the full cycle of how to engage the customer. You need to think about how to get your product in front of the customer, not just through digital strategies. Take a page from the bigger guys who are creating tangible assets to drive their online sales (pop up shops, print ads, printed catalogues). Your customer doesnt just live behind a computer. Who are your biz dev partners? How are you adding value? What are the collaborations you have lined up? Think big and smart. Its far too easy to throw money at a facebook ad, and waste it. Pick your platforms, only choose the ones you can maintain and create conversations (i.e. engage). I'd suggest Instagram and Tumblr. I'd also set aside some cash to pay for bloggers bc unless your product is AH-mazing no one will write about it.

What are marketing tactics for a startup in the fashion industry?

What are the best cities in U.S. major metropolitan areas for renting retail property to launch a boutique (i.e., good combo of high foot…

Answer by Syama Meagher:

Great Question. I agree with Robert Wagner about looking at population density.

Places like Savannah, New Orleans, Rhode Island have been popping up on my radar.

its good to note that good foot traffic in a high income demo generally negates your desire to have reasonable rents. I would look at neighborhoods that are gentrifying and new silicon valley tech businesses that are sprouting up across the country- Colorado comes to mind.

What are the best cities in U.S. major metropolitan areas for renting retail property to launch a boutique (i.e., good combo of high foot…

Why does it seem like XL+ clothes are always the last to sell out?

Answer by Syama Meagher:

There is a market for everything. The high margins they make on the smaller sized goods selling at full price allows them to compensate for non selling larger sized goods. It is also skewed appropriately when buyers are looking to sell for all sizes- often times following the format of XS (1), S (2), M (2), L (1), XL (1). Certainly this depends on the product line and where the brand is distributed. In addition, brands often will consolidate goods to where it is selling most. Meaning XL's will get consolidated across the country to better service that market.

Why does it seem like XL+ clothes are always the last to sell out?

What would I have to do to purchase items at wholesale prices in the UK?

Answer by Syama Meagher:

I would really make sure those products have a high enough perceived value to warrant the price point you will have to charge to get the same margin dollars on a non imported product. $100 retail shirt in the US, $25 cost price, might become a $50 cost price with a $100 retail price.

Once you have decided that the brand value or perceived value is strong enough, then make sure you are looking at all the customs and taxes you will have to pay. Depending on your volume you may want to look at a customs broker.

Set your purchasing price at an exchange rate at the time. You want to be clear on how much you are going to be paying as many retail contract have you pay at net 30 or sometimes 50 down 50 later. You dont want to get screwed here.

What would I have to do to purchase items at wholesale prices in the UK?

5 Ways to Get In Front of Retail Buyers

 

Get In front of brands!

 

Originally Published on Makers Row/Blog

“I’m a former buyer turned buying and brand consultant. I’ve been emailed, visited at work by eager brands, and stalked on social media. Here are 5 tips that will impact how you get noticed by prospective buyers:

1. Email is Cheap: Send something real.

Have great fabric swatches that you are using for F/W? Send a sample over with a personalized note card to the prospective buyer. Include a couple of sketches. This is personal, real and valuable. In essence, it is a pre-lookbook. If you are a new fashion brand its essential to make a great first impression.

2. Speak Up:

Send something out to a buyer? Call and follow up. Leave a message requesting feedback. I can’t say how many times the second or third email actually got my attention. Buyers are extremely busy, so don’t always assume they saw your first email. Also, don’t hard sell your potential partner. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. But, they need to tell you that first. How to tell if you’re a good fit before getting the hard rejection? Visit the retail store or check out the e-commerce site. What are the price points and aesthetics of the store? Is your brand positioned at a luxury price point but the retailer offers affordable luxury? Check first. With small retailers across the country that don’t have online shops and aren’t in your immediate market, making the phone call is important. Remember. Both of you are after the same goal: to get the right product, at the right price to the right customer.

“Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online from your logo, to site navigation, font, photo quality, & brand copy” @MakersRow

3. Time Is Precious:

Your time, their time, everyone’s time. Don’t contact the wrong person, don’t expect them to put you in touch with anyone. More importantly, don’t expect a response if you’re using an outdated email list. Buyer’s change like the seasons, and you need to double-check your lists via LinkedIn. Even calling the receptionist and asking to be transferred to your contact will tell you if they’re still in that position. Remember: the women’s designer is not the same as women’s contemporary, so do your homework.

“Buyer’s change like the seasons. Use @LinkedIn to double-check your contact information.” @ScalingRetail via @MakersRow

4. Share Your News

Did you receive press lately? Was your brand just featured in a popular publication? Which celebrities are wearing your brand? Are you going to be at an upcoming tradeshow? Let the world know. Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you met or spoke with. Nothing interesting going on? Don’t make something up.

“Did you receive press lately? Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you’re contacting.”@MakersRow

5. Follow but DON’T Stalk

There is a distinct difference between following a buyer on Twitter and friending them on Facebook. Don’t engage on a professional level with someone, on a platform used for personal means. Example: If the buyer you want to reach out to has a personal non-work/industry related Instagram account, i.e. photos of her baby and friends don’t stalk her. If it is focused on fashion and work, then follow and engage away.

“Networking Tip: Don’t engage on a professional level with someone on a platform that they use for personal means” @ScalingRetail @MakersRow

Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity – too many emails + creativity. Perceived value can be a tough one to decipher. Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online. Your logo, the navigation on your site, even the font, quality of photos and brand copy all add up to your brands perceived value. Perceived brand value can be thought of as everything ranging from your fabric to hangtags to where your products are made. Remember…you can only make so many first impressions! Need help building your pitch and sales strategy? Leave a comment for me below!

“Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity” @ScalingRetail @MakersRow

Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, has championed the success of small to medium sized retail and fashion businesses internationally. Her co-authored book “The Fashion Designer’s Guide- CREATING FASHION WEBSITES THAT SELL- Your Step by Step Manual for Ecommerce Success” releases in February. From opening retail stores in New York to launching a brand from Bali, Syama has taken ideas and turned them into scalable and sustainable businesses. Syama has a background working at the merchandising offices at: Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife, Ann Taylor and Macy’s. Visit: Scalingretail.com and follow her on Twitter @ScalingRetail

How to Brand Yourselves Better In This Competitive Market

branding

 

Businesses have been selling their products and services for years but they have never known the real reason about their increase or decrease in sales. Previously, people were not picking feathers in search of an environmentally friendly and economic product but today the tables have turned for businesses. People are more aware than ever before and need their products or services with a story, something meaningful, which when they use, describes them as a person.

The changing mind perceptions of customers all around the world has brought about a whirlwind change in business strategies and branding of their products or services. Re-branding or improvement in branding is needed to make customers cross the shop entrance and view the products and services inside.

There are several ways to make your branding better to attract more customers, as Patagonia does, and make them brand loyal so that they hold a tight grip to your business. These ways are:

Research

This step involves the understanding of the market you exist in, what the customers need and what causes do they support. Customers need a clear explanation of what they are buying or using.

Brainstorm Values

You need to think and brainstorm about values that your target audience will rate higher. For example, if you have recently observed an inclination towards organic products, you might think of rebranding your business, consequently altering your products to adjust the brand description. It even happens that you highlight one feature of a product and your competitor highlights another, which everyone loves, so try to re-brand the product to create new values.

Copy

When campaigning, always try to describe your product or service precisely and outline all the characteristics. Make an impact with concise statements that creates an image of quality and customer orientated product. Extensive campaigning re-enforces your brand image and calls to action.

Differentiation

Differentiation is an important rule that should be followed by every company. What separates your product from the competitor’s is your strong point and is the basis of your branding.

Same Page

If you are re-branding your image then you must take extra care and show responsibility in notifying your clients and informing your customers. It is important to be on the same page.

Revision

Once you have formulated your strategy and given a hint to customers through social media or other means, the next step is to get feedback on what they think of the new and improved brand.

Always try to relate some kind of logic when creating values. This helps customers associate and relate better to the product or service you are offering. Promoting or displaying your product innovatively can help your brand.

A smart example can be of Patagonia. Patagonia is a cloth store that traces its manufacturing process from start to finish educating customers of what they believe in. The company sells its products through either creative storytelling that relates to customers through the magnificent display or a cause, which the company supports. Some of their stories include Worn Wear and DamNation, which are either product or process focused. You can view the Patagonia video on www.scalingretail.com.

Scaling Retail guides businesses on branding themselves better to make them industry leaders.

Forecasting Holiday Sales through Third Quarter Statistics

impactory-business-plan-competition

With growing business competition and promotional offers for the holiday season just around the corner, sales are peaking off charts for some and the others are hoping for a better, more profitable holiday season. Why do businesses fail to forecast sales and apply appropriate strategies from the third quarter, so when the holiday season approaches, they enjoy higher sales.

It is not just all about marketing and sales strategies, economic factors and weather conditions are a deciding factor too, for higher customer traffic and increased sales. Predicting the real reason for low sales level and taking adequate measures will make your business flourish in the holiday season.

When the third quarter is about to end, you need to ask yourself whether you are ready for the holiday season. These questions might help:

*Do I have adequate no. of employees to serve the rise in customer traffic during holiday season?
*Are my employees trained and charged up to reach their holiday sales goals?
*Have you made any changes to your shop displays that would attract customers?
*What products in your shop do you deem as the best-seller and do you have enough stock?
*Have you had the chance to visit your neighboring competitors? You should try to find out what they are up to.
*Pricing and promotion, are you aware of the changing trends?
*Do you consider staff rewards and incentives necessary for improved sales?

If last year was a real downer for small businesses like you with even lower customer traffic, there is no need to lose hope because this is how competition plays out. However, what you can do is sit together with your marketing, production, sales and finance department or think alone (sole proprietor) to make a bang on strategy for this holiday time, which comprises:

*Forecasting Holiday Sales through Most Recent Sales Statistics (Use quarter results rather than previous years for more accurate planning)
*Preparing Production And Marketing Budgets
*Prepare Sales Forecasts
* Decide On Promotional Offers
*Keep An Eye On Competitor’s Prices And Promotions
*Apply Appropriate Pricing Strategies Etc.

If you think carefully and plan accordingly, you might feel very optimistic about the upcoming holiday season than the previous year because the key to retail industry success is constantly adapting to the environment, changing conditions and varying customer tastes. Some common mistakes that retailers do which kill their holiday sales are:

*Fail to advertise their promotional offers and price cut-offs
*Fail to stock enough inventories
*Fail to employ enough reps to control extra foot traffic

A retail consultant can help you turn around your sales by increasing the foot traffic in your shop. With the holiday season approaching, you can seek advice from a retail consultant on promotional strategies, merchandising, store layout and choosing a store location if you are in search of one. Retail consultants are specialists on customer perceptions of products and services, displays, attractive promotions etc. If you are considering hiring a retail consultant, you must layout your needs and goals to make a smart choice.

Scaling Retail is your destination for consultancy on holiday sales. We analyze your 3rd quarter statistics and advice you on measures that maximize your profit.