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!

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!

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!

You Need Deep Pockets Using This Type Of Fashion Advertising

This is a classic example of the "image" style of fashion advertising which I saw in a magazine recently…

fashion advertising mens clothing

Why do I say you need deep pockets to run this fashion advertisement?

Someone has paid a large sum of money $1,000 or more to run this advertisement to ‘brand’ their clothing label and fashion business.

This "image" style of advertising, unless run frequently (at a significant cost), often will not have an impact to the sales of the fashion business.

Deep pockets = lots of money wasted … ouch!

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 Retailer Sees The Value In Email Marketing – $4,143 In Sales From One Promotion!

Clothing retail marketing

Jewels Armstrong
Owner, clothing retail business, Morley, WA.

"We have been in business for over 35 years and we managed to obtain a good sized customer list of postal addresses. The much smaller list was a collection of email addresses which we didn’t use very often."

"Mark Fregnan from Kinetic Media & Marketing approached us and said that we would still get a good response from that smaller and older email list."

"Mark and his graphic designer created a February sale promotion which brought in $4,143 in sales which we were very happy about. Since then we have been keen to add in fresh email addresses and we engaged Kinetic Media & Marketing to help us with our marketing on a monthly basis."

February 2010

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!

Fashion Retailing Meets The Titanic

I get correspondence from a surprising number of fashion retailers who own smaller stores where the annual sales revenue is ‘stuck’ at $200k, $300k or even $500k per annum. I’m told that not only have ‘sales growth’ have been stagnant this year, but for many years.

When I write back to ask them what fashion marketing, advertising or customer relationship activities they are working on – I usually get this response…

"Oh, we need to buy some new stock and move our displays around. We should have this all done soon. Maybe we can look at marketing next year."

Talk about "Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic!"

Running a fashion business like the titanic

If 100% of fashion marketing ‘activity’ is stock ordering and moving it around the store…

Beware!!!

It’s like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Albert Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a difference result".

Yes, buying new stock and making the store displays attractive is important. Good visual merchandising does lead to increased sales. However, it can’t occupy 100% of the fashion business owner’s time.

At least 1-3 hours a week should be devoted to fashion promotion and working on the marketing calendar. You can’t expect store sales growth without this activity. It just won’t happen.

So when I get the ‘deck chair replies’ – I say to myself … "Insanity"!

If you are a fashion retail store owner and do spend 1-3 hours a week on ‘non-titanic’ activities – well done.

If not, or if you don’t know how to break-through to higher sales revenue, contact us about our fashion marketing programs. Not only will you save time and money ‘experimenting’, you will get actual proven and tested promotions ‘ready to roll-out’ for instant sales and more cash in your bank account.

Click here to contact us, or click here to join our entry level Fashion Retail Insiders program for only $47 per month.

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!

Closures In Retail Expected

A friend of mine sent me a link to a recent 2010 article by the Dominion Post about the typical trend of retail closures just after the Christmas period. i.e. January and February every year. Here is an excerpt from the article…

CLAIRE MCENTEE – The Dominion Post. Original article

"More retail closures could be in store following the rash of holiday receiverships. Several retailers were declared insolvent in January, including 10 Stax fashion stores, electronics store Eastern Hi Fi and Christchurch cycle shop Bike HQ. Three Wellington Mitre 10 stores were put into receivership shortly before Christmas."

"PricewaterhouseCoopers partner John Fisk said businesses that had struggled all year often capitulated in the face of holiday wage costs and a slowdown in turnover. Some retailers were thriving but many had been forced to swallow large rent increases, and there were likely to be some smaller ones hanging on and waiting for their leases to expire so they could close."

"Each insolvency was different – in the case of the Mitre 10 stores poor property investments by the owner were blamed – but a common cause was purchasing the wrong stock and being forced to discount it. ‘That puts pressure on the margins and it can be a slippery slope.’  KPMG head of restructuring and insolvency Shaun Adams said the holiday season was traditionally crunch time for struggling retailers."

So let’s review the main causes from this article and others that I’ve picked up in my business experience over the years:

  • Increases in rent in the New Year.
  • Staff wages costs over the holiday period : Overtime, annual leave pay, etc
  • Purchasing stock that didn’t sell well over the holiday period. Or overstock.
  • Having to discount heavily to compete with other retailers.
  • The sales slump that occurs from mid-January onwards after the Christmas and post-Christmas sales (The exception may be shoe stores that do well with Back-to-School promotions until the first or second week of February).
  • Having to commit to purchase $50k, $100k, $200k or more in stock for the upcoming winter season which puts a strain on balance sheets and bank accounts.

Sound familiar? In my next post I’ll show you some ways to counter these challenges for a typical fashion business. 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 fashion business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!