Effective Fashion Marketing – The Biggest Challenge For Store Owners

It’s not easy. Every fashion store owner wants to see a healthy number of browsers and shoppers over the day, but in reality often most stores are a little too quiet.

One of the biggest challenges is effective fashion marketing and promotion. That is, ways to generate store traffic without spending thousands of dollars.

Whilst most store owners like to stock unique fashions – the general public are very fickle and have a multitude of options when it comes to purchasing clothes, shoes and jewellery. The ability to purchase online, anywhere in the world is also a double edge sword. Good for the consumer but not so good for the local fashion store owner.

Fashion marketing is all about getting the interest and getting the potential customer to make the decision to visit the store.  Once that person makes that initial visit – at least the store owner has a much better chance to get them back.

Unfortunately advertising unfamiliar brands are difficult to use as methods to attract a new potential customer.  They just don’t know that brand. For example "10% off <little known brand" will produce a very poor sales response.

So a photograph of the "Style" is the best technique.  A unique item of clothing is also a good window dressing technique.

With shoes, people like to "see" both quality and style especially if you stock more expensive items. This also applies to jewellery.

Finding good fashion merchandise therefore is the most important first step – and then using effective fashion marketing methods to promote it.

Fashion marketing media strategies include online (especially social), and traditional offline such as referrals, window dressing, press advertising and so on.

Website and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is fine IF you do sell name brands. Otherwise it’s not the best option for promoting unique, unfamiliar to the public brands.

So there you go – some "food" for thought. Effective fashion marketing is not just about promotion, it’s also about "strategy".

Promoting Your Fashion Business Posts On Facebook

In my last post, Making Facebook Work For Your Fashion Business, I explained a number of ways to use Facebook to market your fashion business.

Fashion marketing facebook promote posts

When it comes to good fashion marketing using Facebook it’s a good idea to “employ” a number of proven techniques to promote your fashion and your store.

One technique is the method of “BOOSTING” a post on Facebook.

When you notice a recent post of yours getting a bit of attention from people (and store customers) who have liked your Facebook Business Page – such as liking your post and adding a few comments.

You can choose to “boost” your post by selecting the “Boost post” option.

You then will have the option to select who to promote your post to.

Choose “people who liked your page” and “friends of people who liked your page”

What this will do is allow your post to reach deeper into your fan base and their friends and family – a great way to market your fashion business.

Give it a go. Review your recent (and future) posts for engagement, and if proven to be popular, then try out the “Boost post” feature in Facebook.

When it comes to achieving results with your fashion marketing, you’ve got to use what works!

The Death Of Facebook and Free Fashion Marketing

For many fashion business owners, having a few hundred Facebook Likes (fans) for their Facebook business page was pretty good, and over one thousand usually indicated a successful Facebook marketing effort.

Until just recently when you made a post on your fashion Facebook page you could expect a good engagement from your followers when they saw your post. This meant you could get a good response from your fashion promotional post, or sale or store discounts offered, etc.

However, with the changes being effected from the year 2014, Facebook is now saying "Hey, we need to get a return on investment – we have to show a profit to our investors. Why don’t we CHARGE to promote posts instead of giving it away for free?"

In other words – your fashion marketing posts to your Facebook page no longer have the same REACH to your followers as they used to. You will notice fewer views and get fewer likes than you used to. This is being done on PURPOSE by Facebook to move business pages to a PAID model.

So if you use a Facebook page as part of your fashion marketing mix, which I certainly recommend, you will now need to look at paying to promote your posts to get a better reach to your followers and audience.

Fashion marketing Facebook paid likes and engagement

Whilst Facebook have almost killed the FREE posting model, the good news is that you can get a better reach than before.

More on this on my next blog article. Stay tuned.

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

More Customers For Your Online Store – Part 2

In part 1 on the topic of increasing sales for your online store we discussed the importance of getting traffic to your website (people surfing the net). Good traffic volume is a major component of online fashion marketing.

In fact, there are over 100 ways to get traffic to your fashion site and to marketing it online. And many more techniques are being developed all the time.

These techniques includes all the paid advertising models like google Adwords, Facebook advertising, banner ads and so on. We can categorise these as either paid or unpaid advertising or marketing.

One such unpaid fashion marketing method to increase traffic to your online fashion business is the use of video.

Fashion marketing video icon

SOURCING FASHION VIDEO

How can you get a fashion video file to use?

You can either ask your label supplier to provide you with some video that you can use, or you could quite easily take your own video of your fashion merchandise – with or without models.

I won’t go into the details of how to take good video, how to setup lighting, etc.

There are plenty of sources on Google and Youtube that can show you how to do this.

 

What I can tell you that’s important is how to DESCRIBE your fashion video. You see, computers and Youtube (Vimeo, etc) don’t understand what’s IN a video. You have to describe it in words so the search engine can understand it and can then direct traffic to your fashion site.

Words that can use to describe your video include:

  • the brand (label)
  • what it is (shoe, jewellery, top, jeans, etc)
  • the colour(s)
  • and another information tied into an event, or the use of the fashion item, the models name, etc.

And there are a number of other important factors as well…

If you would know the specifics of how these strategies work in more detail then check out our, fashion marketing secrets mini-course CLICK HERE for free access.

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

More Customers For Your Online Store – Part 1

What types fashion marketing activities are effective for your online store?

As an online fashion retailer of cosmetics, shoes, jewellery, clothing or fashion accessories, you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on fashion marketing and advertising.

So what can you do to increase sales?

fashion marketing online store

One way is to focus on your most popular items (say the top 10) and examine where the sales enquiries (or visitors) come from.

For example, you may be a stockist of a particular brand and most of your web traffic for that brand comes via the company’s website where your link is listed as a retail supplier.

To find this out check your website statistics or your Google Analytics account.

 

Oh, by the way, if you are an online fashion retailer, you really should have Google Analytics installed (ask your website person for assistance with this).

STEP 2 – Increase website traffic

The next step is to see how else you can increase traffic (and the sales) of those top 10 products.

You can do this by:

  • Improving the SEO ranking for those product pages
  • Utilising social media such as Facebook
  • Using directories and other relevant fashion website to produce traffic
  • Maybe look at paid online advertising as long as it makes you money

If you would know the specifics of how these strategies work in more detail then check out our fashion marketing secrets mini-course, CLICK HERE for free access.

 

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

How Does Fashion Store Mobile Marketing Work?

Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days and uses it to search for local shops and stores – including fashion.

Mobile Phone Fashion Marketing

Imagine a woman, let’s call her Karen, sitting at a hair salon waiting for her colours to set, or on a bus, or on a train, or waiting for the bell to ring at her son’s school, this is a perfect time for Karen to use her mobile phone to search for things she may need.

Karen is not alone – millions of mobile phone users are doing just that.

So how would a mobile user be able to get information about your fashion store?

One way is to have a mobile friendly website. That is – your website techie can set up a cut down, simple website that is suited for display on mobiles.

Here’s one I found – check it out: actual mobile website example

A mobile website shouldn’t cost more than $300. It basically uses the same pictures and content from your main fashion store website. So you don’t have to provide anything to your techie apart from telling them what images and text to use.

The result is a mini-me website that looks pretty cool on your potential new customer’s mobile phone!

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing. We assist fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

How Often Should You Email Your Fashion Store Customers?

I am frequently asked this question. Why is it so important?

Well, you have a list of email addresses given to you in good faith by your customers and you want to do the ‘right’ thing.

Fashion marketing email how often?

That ‘right’ thing involves respecting their privacy, not sending them rubbish and not hounding them.

So most fashion retailers typically end up on the conservative side when it comes to communicating to past customers via email.

What is an acceptable frequency of contact?

Here’s my recommendation…

On one end of the spectrum is the least frequent… Once a month should be the maximum time between contacts. Otherwise what will happen is when you send infrequent emails, the customer is likely to say “What’s this email? I don’t recall requesting this!” and they’ll click on the unsubscribe button. And you certainly don’t want your list to decrease in size over time.

And on the other end of the spectrum is most frequent – it could be daily, weekly or fortnightly (that is anywhere between 1 to 14 days).

However, emailing your fashion customers shouldn’t be just about promoting sales and events. You’ll need to try to offer something of value such as information as well.

"What type?" you ask. Okay, how about something NEWSWORTHY such as new styles women are wearing in Europe and now being seen in Australia. Or how to clean certain types of shoes, clothing, etc. Or style tips – this goes with that. And so on.

By offering good information on a topic or subject, you see a stronger retention of customers on your email list as well as creating more interest in your future emails. That is, your fashion store customers would be more likely to open and read your emails.

Okay – so the plan is to communicate to your customers via email at least every 14 days. Sounds like a bit of work. But, I’ve got some good news for you… I’ve got a shortcut which I’ll share with you on a future fashion marketing post. Stay tuned…

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Surprising Results With Customer Fashion Marketing

A fashion shoe store owner (a client) and I have just been analysing the results of her recent Back-to-School summer marketing promotion.

The shoe store owner was thinking about how big her database was getting and the cost of mailing out a letter promotion to 4,000 past customers (about $3,400). So instead, we just did one email and two SMS campaigns.

Did they work? Absolutely. The almost identical SMS, email and letter promotion has been sent out the past 4 years. Every media worked – email, SMS and post.

See the results below:

Fashion marketing shoe sale results

Now the 110 (approx) sales the store owner missed out this year (Jan-Feb 2013) versus the 2012 result of 225 came down to not posting the letter. So I did the sums. 110 sales x the average sale. The result was approx $2,000 profit.

So the moral is… if a promotion works, don’t stress about the cost.

If your database is growing – fantastic!

If on the other hand you don’t know if your letter or SMS campaign will work, then test on a small batch of 400-500 customers. Less than 400 won’t give you enough of a measurable result.

What Are QR Codes And How Can They Be Used In Your Fashion Business

Business marketing Perth using QR codes

What are QR codes? Well, they’re similar to the barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products at the point of sale. The main difference between the two is the amount of data they can communicate.

Traditional barcodes which I’m sure you’re familiar with use vertical lines and can only hold up to 20 digits, whereas QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) and can hold much more information.

When a customer scans or reads a QR code with their iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, the phone can automatically:

  • Be linked to a web page (for your shop, or fashion business)
  • Activate a number of phone functions including email, messaging or SMS
  • Directed to an online video (Youtube, etc)
  • Display prices or other data about a product, etc

Really it makes it EASIER for a customer (or potential customer) to obtain further information about a product – WITHOUT having to enter in information (e.g. your website address). It’s a good fashion marketing and sales tool.

I’ve recently seen a big goods retailer use QR codes as a ‘teaser’ for advertised specials. So it will be interesting to keep tabs on the varied (and creative) uses for QR codes in fashion retailing and business.

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Will Mobile Phone Shopping Affect Fashion Retailing & Marketing?

Mobile Phone Apps and Fashion Marketing and Retailing

What do you think about the above article from the Wall St Journal? It’s an important shopping trends not only for US consumers but for Australian shoppers as well.

Fashion retailers, importers, designers, wholesalers, manufacturers and anyone that sells a fashion ‘product’ will be affected by the growing trend towards researching and even purchasing fashion online.
Once wary and shy consumers are now experienced online consumers by the use of ebay, Google, Gumtree and even Facebook.

Whilst many traditional brick’s’morter fashion retailers look at online shopping as a possible way to reduce their overheads (offering more stock without increasing floor space and reducing staff costs) it means they are now competing even more.

Whilst fashion retailing is less exposed to the move to online shopping due to the need for consumers to ‘try-it-on’ – certain fashion merchandise and products could be – such as shoes, bags, belts, hats, jewellery and so on.

Fashion marketing, branding and the retail experience for the customer has to be even better so that consumers WANT to make the trip to a retail store. This factor has become more and more important and may mean the difference between success or failure in fashion retailing.

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Does Facebook Own Your Fashion Retail Business?

"I want to save money on marketing and just use Facebook instead" – was the incredulous reply to a conversion I had with a Fashion Retailer recently. The reason I was so amazed at the response from this retail store owner was not the fact that he was using Facebook to market his business – actually I recommend fashion retailers to ADD Facebook to their marketing mix; but that the store owner wanted to rely on Facebook marketing exclusively!

Fashion marketing using Facebook

Facebook and Facebook fans are a great way to market your fashion business – but it’s not your customer database!

Facebook is a third-party company. The list of people (fans) are CONNECTIONS developed within the Facebook environment.

However, a Facebook account is not a retail store customer database. You don’t own a Facebook list – the Facebook company does.

When you want to communicate to a certain segment of your customers or find out how much they spent – Facebook can’t help you. You need to have your own customer database linked to sales history. That way you can be much more effective with your fashion marketing and achieve MORE SALES.

And as I’ve mentioned before, a customer database and the relationship with those customers is one of the most important assets in a business. It adds a substantial amount to your business goodwill.

SUMMARY : Add Facebook to your marketing mix, but it isn’t a replacement for a good customer list. Facebook is a complementary medium, use it to further promote your fashion store.

By the way, if you don’t have access to a good customer marketing system – Click here to test drive our Lifetime Customer Program (included in the Fashion Retail Insiders membership).

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Using The Mailbox Flyer Fashion Marketing Strategy Successfully

"Fashion Retailer Brings In An Extra 51 People In One Week!" – but, first a little background information…

Shoe store fashion marketing logo

Often fashion retailers approach me and say they don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising. If their fashion shop is in a residential area, or in a suburban shopping centre, I often recommend the mailbox flyer marketing strategy.

A mailbox flyer is a one page pamphlet stuffed into residential mailboxes (letter boxes).

Many retailers may have tried flyers in the past, but stopped because they didn’t get a good result. However, John’s Shoe Store brought in an additional 51 people in one week last month (they tracked them) using the flyer from our Customer Marketing Sales Kit.

Getting a good result from a flyer design down to simplicity with a marketing message that entices the reader to visit the store.

Often retailers will focus too much on a ‘branding’ message rather than a design focusing on new styles and looks. Sure, you can achieve a similar result from Community Newspaper advertising, but occasionally I like to ‘mix-up’ the marketing to reach local, surrounding homes for stronger store recognition and branding.

Oh yeah, a tip: I prefer the A5 size (1/2 A4) as it doesn’t require folding (as you would need to do for the A4 size), you get double the amount of flyers when printing, and the A5 size is easy for someone to put in letter boxes.

Fashion marketing with mailbox flyers

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Timing Your Fashion Marketing Event

I just got off the phone with one of our retailer clients and I was typing up the action plan for our next marketing event when I realised the timing required for a successful promotion. Here’s a brief list of some of the things we usually need to organise:

  1. The media we plan to use. The answer comes from asking these questions… Who are we promoting the event to? Just to store customers? To new customers? All customers?
  2. The running of the event : staff resources, signage, tables, displays, etc.
  3. Photographs of the fashion apparel, shoes or jewellery we are promoting.
  4. The design of the email and/or print marketing campaign.
  5. The third-party advertising and marketing suppliers (if required). The SMS marketing company, the newspaper company, the flyer distribution company, the mailing house, etc.
  6. The exact timing sequence. When do the adverts appear? When does the mail out need to arrive at the customer’s house? And so on.

Even though the action list items sound like a lot of work, in reality most events are small and don’t require more than 8-10 hours of preparation.

If we assist the retailer with the promotional event then most of the action items are handled by our company – the retailer can then focus on the event itself, without all the extra worry.

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our fashion business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Image and Branding for a Fashion Business

Image and Branding is a strong motivator for fashion retailers but what do these concepts actually mean?

Simply, ‘Image’ is the perception (picture) that consumers have about a particular business at any one point in time. Whereby, ‘Brand’ is the relationship between the business and the consumer’s values. For example, when a consumer looks to purchase a running shoe they may think of Nike because of it’s alignment with winning and achieving.

fashion business marketing brand

Image and branding has everything to do with identifying your target market, identifying the values that are important to your target market and then creating an image and a brand that relates to those values.

Trying to cover all demographics and values is not recommended because it would be very difficult to achieve effective branding economically. The consumer will be disappointed with the product and the business.

For example, promoting luxury airline tickets whilst actually hearding travellers into small seats and delivering poor customer service will upset those consumers and word will get out and damage the ‘Brand’. Conversely, entering the marketplace promoting high levels of service at a cheap price, will hurt margins for the business and will unsustainable in the long-term.

Typically a brand will consist of an unique mix of values for a fashion business, such as :

  • Consumer benefits,
  • Style,
  • Durability (clothes, shoes and jewellry)
  • Quality,
  • Price,
  • Consumer age target (e.g. children, young adults, mature adults, Generation X, etc),
  • Image projection (conservative, hip-hop, professional business, modern, sportswear, etc),
  • Culture,
  • and so on.

Branding can also be broken down into ‘external’ and ‘internal’. External branding is prodominately used to create new customers for the business via mass advertising, such as print, internet, radio and television.

Internal branding is reminding existing customers that you value their business of which the aim is to increase repeat sales from those customers. Internal branding will typically use such media as email, SMS, direct mail and the telephone.

Creating an image and a brand for fashion retailers is not about flashy and slick advertisements. It’s about getting your key customers (target market) to recognise your business as their prefered choice for the products you provide.

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!