Making Facebook Work For Your Fashion Business

Okay. Someone told you that you need to have a Facebook page for your fashion business.

One of two things happened… one, you either resisted probably thinking "I don’t have time for this." or "How is this going to get me more people to buy my fashion items?"

Or, you (or someone did for you) set up your Facebook page, you got a few dozen likes (or hundreds) and now you want to see better financial results. That is, more actual customers coming in and spending money.

Fashion marketing making money from Facebook

So what’s the best way to achieve this? What content should you put on your Facebook page to make this happen?

The answer is that again, if you saw my recent post on email marketing for fashion retailers, is that continually making offers is really setting the tone that your Facebook page is just an online catalogue – not much different to what people get in their letter box at home.

Yes, people if they have liked your page will see your offers and some will respond – however, if offers are continuous, especially if they are similar in nature… "10% off this week" then "15% off mens X" the week after, then "20% off all summer items" – what may occur is that many of your Facebook followers could ‘switch-off’ and become disengaged from your Facebook page.

This is not a good fashion marketing tactic.

The best way is to offer BOTH types of information – one is your offers and the others are items of NEWSWORTHY nature. Like style tips, outfit combinations, cleaning tips and so on. And then to mix this up.

Say post two newsworthy items (pictures, text or videos) and after that, a sale notice. Then after the sale, more content NEWSWORTHY items, or funny pictures, stories, etc.

By doing this you will see more customers referring other people, them liking your page, commenting on your content (newsworthy) posts and then being more engaged with your Facebook page.

When this happens, your sales notices will get more attention and more customers will respond. And that’s how you drive more sales in your fashion 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!

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.

Your Fashion Advertisement – Did It Bring You More Customers?

It’s very difficult to track whether your fashion advertisement brought in any more store browsers or customers – unless you advertise some specific promotion.

You see, most fashion advertising is based on Branding or Image marketing which can re-enforce your brand identity and your product identity. However, this can take a long time and deep pockets (money) to achieve.

Fashion advertising in newspapers

Promotional marketing also has its challenges.

For fashion clothing price is not easily defined. Advertising 30% off may sound like a bargain to some or typical (boring) to other consumers.

So it’s brand or promotional marketing as the two major choices to advertise your fashion store.

 

How about I open this to comments. Which have you found to be the more effective for your fashion business?

About the author. I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Kinetic Media & Marketing, an Australian consulting business that focuses entirely making our clients MORE PROFIT WITH LESS EFFORT. We understand the financial and time pressures felt by small business owners especially in a competitive marketplace. We rely on our proven marketing and business strategies along with smart systems to produce and maintain a healthy increase in sales and profit for our business clients.

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!

Fashion Retail Sales Slowdown Australia-wide

Consistent with the emails and phone calls we receive from fashion retailers all over Australia is this last weekend photo in the Weekend Australian (30-31 July 2011).

"Kira Stutton has seen a steep decline in sales figures for the shop she manages in Adelaide."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has confirmed consumers are saving more and spending less. I believe many fashion retailers became lazy and complacent with their marketing over the ‘boom’ years and now as store traffic has declined they are feeling the pinch. The need for good (if not, great) fashion marketing is more important than ever to bring customers into your store!

Fashion business sales adelaide store

Photo source: Weekend Australian (30-31 July 2011)

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 To Advertise Your Fashion Retail Boutique Store

Imagine – today a small boutique fashion retail store opens for the first time. How does the owner attract people and potential customers – where no store brand, awareness or recognition existed before?

fashion advertising for boutique retail stores

If, like most fashion retail store owners – they buy $50,000 to $200,000 in stock, make the shop nice, and then open the doors hoping to attract customers.

Perhaps, if they have any money left over – they place a few fashion advertisements, showing off a new season garment, shoes, jewellery or accessories.

This is a very slow way to advertise and market a fashion retail store.

I’ll let you in on a little ‘secret’…

Most retailers, want a customer to make a sale (i.e. to make profit). Whilst the smart retailer, wants to make a sale to get a customer!

This is profound. I hope you see the distinction.

If a fashion store can build a strong clientele base quickly – the store can achieve profitability much sooner. The alternative however, is years of slowly rising revenue using traditional fashion advertising which in most cases is not very effective.

Most fashion retailers still rely on the same techniques to advertise and market their store – where ‘smarter’, more efficient methods are available today.

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!

Getting Good Results From Your Fashion Advertising

Having a quiet week? Want to bring in more store traffic – right now?

Good, consistent store traffic year round is the holy grail of fashion retailing. There’s no point spending money on good stock, hiring the best sales staff, having the nicest store with the best customer service if people don’t come in. Ensuring regular people traffic is one of the major challenges for most fashion retailers.

Message branding advertising

Our Fashion Retail Insiders know the twelve (12) specific ways to bring in more traffic to a fashion store and they understand the specific tactics that make them successful.

Many of the twelve traffic strategies will be familiar to you, like … print media advertising, internet fashion advertising, good building signage, referral programs, and so on…

However, in order to get a good result from any fashion advertising or marketing campaign, a specific tactic or marketing message, is required.

For many smaller retailers especially (and larger fashion retailers too), the focus needs to be on generating a customer. Yes, absolutely branding is important, but if it’s the sole message in the advertisement, it will be a costly expense for the retailer – as we say in the marketing game – "you need deep pockets". A better way, is to employ a marketing message that brings in paying customers AND builds your brand at the same time. That way your fashion advertising and marketing will pay for itself.

Take for example; Fashion Retail Insider  Gill from John’s Shoe Store. Gill took one of our designs and tested a very small advertisement in the local community newspaper – it brought in $1,382.70. Granted it was a very small advertisement and dollar sale, but you can see the potential of running a similar advert weekly. i.e. $1,382.70 x 52 weeks is $71,900.

I’m sure adding almost $72,000 in annual revenue would be welcome by any fashion retailer.

Not only is the revenue important, but see what else happens :

  • 12 new customers were introduced to the business (from one week) – that would be 624 new customers a year. Those customers would return to make additional purchases and refer other people to the store, and,
  • The retail store would achieve brand awareness with the readers of the local community newspaper.

And that’s a good result from fashion advertising!

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!

Why Oh Why Are We Not Meeting Our Fashion Sales Targets?

I had a call this week from a fashion store owner who doesn’t work in the store himself (it’s under management). He was frustrated with the low numbers of paying customers even after placing "Up to 75% off" signs on the store windows. This business owner was convinced that the shopping centre was doing a lousy job of attracting people.

But you see, there are two aspects to obtaining paying customers… 1) Store traffic and, 2) Sales conversion.

Fashion retail sale sign

I had a feeling that the staff weren’t doing such a good job of selling.

The only way to find out is to measure TRAFFIC AND SALES. From that the sales conversion can be worked out.

For most fashion retailers the sales conversion rate will be between 10% to 40%. That is, out of 10 people that walk-in, one to four will buy.

Whoa, I bet you’re telling me your sales conversion is much higher. Okay, prove it!

Below is a sample store browsers chart. Rule a single page with 6 columns and mark one line for each person that walks into the store every day over one week (count a couple and families as one person).

Then check your sales numbers at the end of the week (from your POS or till). Divide # sales / # browsers and multiply by 100. That’s your conversion as a percentage.

Then you’ll know if your staff are doing a good job or not. If your conversion is below 10% you’ve got a BIG problem!

P.S. The more accurate way of obtaining your store traffic numbers is to install an automatic people counter – I have discussed this on a previous post on this website.

Fashion retail store success

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!

Retail Shopping Centre Fashion Advertising

Shopping Centre fashion retail advertising

Do you have a retail store located in a shopping centre? If so, I’m sure you’re familiar with the extremely high rent and outgoings bill you receive every month.

Besides the building and services component – a portion of your monthly fee to the shopping centre company also covers centre promotion and advertising. It’s the shopping centre’s role to bring in people so they can charge the retailer a fee for the space. Nothing new with that.

However, it’s actually a good idea to know how much of your annual rent is attributed to receiving store traffic (browsers and customers).

Let say you have a 30m2 store. Figure 1 : Your current shopping centre rent (let’s use $50,000 per annum for simpicity). Figure 2 : The cost of renting a 30m2 office in a street in the back lots of an industrial area (let’s say it costs $15,000 per annum). The difference $35,000, is the annual cost paid for the ‘better’ location (shopping centre v.s. back lots).

Some retailers choose to have a store located in a quieter street location and not in a shopping centre, but in order to create the same revenue, much more money needs to be spent on fashion advertising.

i.e. Shopping Centre = high rent, lower individual store fashion advertising expenses.

Quiet location = lower rent, higher individual store fashion advertising expenses (in order to produce a similar annual revenue).

There is aways that trade-off. Whether one option is better or not for your store really comes down to your level of experience in fashion retailing, your brand and sales system.

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!

What About Fashion Business Advertising?

Frequently Asked Questions About Fashion Business Advertising

Fashion advertising is a hot topic – common questions I get asked by retailers are – "How can I get more customers?" or "Where should I advertise?" or "What do you think of this advertisement?"

fashion advertising example

If you have an established retail fashion business (clothing, footwear, jewellery, etc) seventy percent (70%) of your advertising dollars should be spent on re-selling to your existing customers. Why?

It’s 5 times easier to sell something else to your existing customers than to get a new customer.

And yet I see most retail businesses spend thousands of dollars in the media trying to get new business – only to forget all about those people after they buy. If you were to communicate to your customers and ask them to buy again, you’d see an almost magic increase to your bottom line. Done correctly, this always works better than chasing new customers.

Listen, next time you are going to run an advertisement in the newspapers promoting a sale or whatever, try this. Reproduce the advertisement and send it to your existing clients. Attach a note saying . . .

"I thought you may want to see this, come in the day before to get your best pick of the bargains. Regards . . . "

This will work wonders if your sale has a genuine appeal!!

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!