Is your New Year’s Resolution to start a fashion brand? I’ve learned a lot of retail advice over the years creating and building on fashion brands, most notably True Religion. If you are planning on becoming a fashion designer and managing your own business, I have some crucial retail advice that I hope you can apply to your new venture.
Research studies show that on average, the probability of selling your product to a new customer is 5-20%. But the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%! Customer loyalty is important for a retail business, and it is the ultimate channel to get repeat business…at the lowest cost.
- Staples and Supplements: Sell things or services people need as well as things they might want. It’s very simple. A grocer that sells milk has a built in repeat business because milk is a staple, yet adding a bakery department is a supplement. People will come in for the staple and usually leave with a supplement (up sale). Look at your business and see what staples you have to bring in repeat business and what your supplements are in order to capture the customer while they are there in the store or business. Make sure you have the right balance of staples to supplements.
- Educate your staff to thoroughly know your product and can be sales ambassadors. Test them periodically to ensure that they are staying on top of it. Product knowledge makes the customer feel confident they are purchasing something of value. Know your consumer demographic. Make sure your sales staff is always giving customers that top quality, extra care customer service, which brings customers back over and over again. As a business owner myself, being the expert in your field or business gives customers the confidence that your product is the best in quality and price.
- Offer discount promotions and or free giveaways. That helps generate new customers. Social media sites are inexpensive and have greatly helped the overall market to get the word out about your business. Networking in social groups and communities also helps spread the word of your new or existing business. When I started True Religion, I would literally keep pairs of jeans in my car and hand them out to sales people to wear in the hopes that the store would buy my product. It worked, and really got the word out, which gave True Religion its traction in the beginning.
- Follow up! Stay on top of your existing customers with personalization like personal emails or calling during business hours for upcoming special deals (Only if they are registered with your store for this). Do offer “gift with purchase” rewards or store discount credits to repeat customers to thank them for their loyalty. Thank you cards for repeat customers go a long way.
- Try something new! Some newer strategies that are working are offering subscriptions or membership packages; e-commerce that includes special service that caters to different types of customers directly. Brick and mortar stores are creating a personal or comfortable home environment for customers with the right music and comfortable lighting and seating, which keeps them there longer, and equals more sales.
Good luck on your new business, and I hope that the retail advice I’ve imparted with you today will be of use for you in your fashionable endeavors!