What To Do If Your Fashion Retail Sales Are Down

The GFC and the rising interest rate cycle has certainly affected retail sales in the past two years.

However, certain clever retailers have been able to leverage their fashion marketing and branding to maintain their revenue and even grow during this time. For the rest – recent times have been challenging. So let’s examine what is the role of the fashion store owner.

Fashion sales - what not to focus on

What NOT to do if your fashion store is quiet

I was contacted by a fashion marketing newsletter subscriber (a store owner) recently who said this (word for word…)
I know – it’s incredible…

…."I’m finding that we do not have time to read the ideas let alone implement them…"

I also had on my computer one of the original emails from this particular store owner – here is the important excerpt:

We own two clothing stores and have been in business for over 6 years. Although we haven’t made a profit in those 6 years! Our major goal, of course, is to turn a profit.

Yes, incredible. This owner says they don’t have time to implement our Smart Fashion Marketing strategies (actually proven to work – not theory), yet confess to spending 100% of her time on SHOPKEEPING ACTIVITIES!

This is real important – if you are fashion retail store… are you in the shopkeeping business or in the business of marketing of your store and brand?

I hope you answered MARKETING!

Absolutely – at least 4 hours a week of your time should be devoted to marketing, promotion and branding activities. It will only cost you $80 or so to free up those 4 hours (i.e. you pay a casual to do your shopkeeping work).

It’s YOUR role as the retail store owner to WORK ON your marketing and branding – no one else you employ will have the passion about your business that you do (you can, of course, leverage your time by utilising the services of a marketing house like ours).

Remember – you have to think like a marketer, and hand most of your shopkeeping activities to staff if you want to enjoy healthly profits and see your fashion store(s) grow!

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!

When Is The Right Time To Open Your Next Fashion Retail Store? Part 1

Oh boy, this is literally the million-dollar question.

When it comes down to it, there is only so much sales revenue and profit you can generate from one fashion retail store. You are usually limited by floor space and how much stock you can display.

However, you can generate a lot more revenue from one store than you might think. I love this real-life business story…

Beechworth retail store

“Tom O’Toole turned a failing little bakery in an isolated and dying Australian country town (Beechworth, VIC) with a population of 3,000 into a company with an annual turnover in excess of $12 million, serving over one million customers per year.”

“A bakery that has become one of the highest earning single bakery retailers in Australian history.”

So how do you grow your revenue in your existing fashion store. Again, in a nutshell, it comes down to good branding and fashion marketing, good products and great customer service.

You may have read or heard of my comments about branding – essentially I subscribe to the Dan Kennedy marketing rule… “Branding should be a by-product of good marketing”.

In other words, advertising or marketing that generates customers at a profit and pays itself – should always be your primary goal. We’ll discuss this further at another time.

So, to summarise – you don’t always need to open that next store, right now. You can squeeze out a lot more profit out of the store(s) you own already. But, if you’re still thinking about that new fashion store – I’ll go through on my next post some very important things you’ll need to consider before you put down a deposit on that new lease. Watch this space.

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!

Low Cost Fashion Advertising – The Trusty Old Mailbox Flyer

Fashion marketing to mailboxes

You know… a mailbox flyer – an A4 or A5 sized one page pamphlet stuffed into residential mailboxes (letter boxes). Many fashion retailers overlook the humble mailbox flyer as a marketing strategy for producing more retail store traffic.

I like mailbox flyers for apparel, clothing, footwear, and jewellery stores – they are quick and simple to produce, low cost and very effective in targeting people that live around the store.

For the cost of around $470 you can typically reach around 5,000 homes. The ‘trick’ is to produce a flyer that gets results. Many retailers who may have tried flyers in the past, stopped because they didn’t get a result and came to the incorrect conclusion that flyers don’t work. They do!

Effective flyer design comes 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. As we have created many mailbox flyers for our clients we have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t. If you like – send us a copy of your mailbox flyer and we’ll be happy to critique it for you.

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!

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!