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".

Big Opportunity For Savvy Fashion Retailers

Owning any retail business (including fashion, clothing, footwear, jewellery) in the current economic climate is a challenge. However it’s also a ‘golden’ opportunity.

What would you rather do? Purchase a fashion business at the peak of the market (last peak was 2007) and pay the ‘peak’ price. Or obtain a bargain at the bottom of the market which can only move up?

Although I’ve included yet another article from "Gerry Harvey" – love him or hate him, he certainly knows the retailing trends in Australia (see article below).

Underperforming retailers are closing – often business owners have seen a decline in sales from 2008 to now – and they’re worn out, frustrated and tired.

A perfect time to make them a ‘fair’, yet realistic offer.

The challenge for you – if you decide to purchase a fashion business right now- it to be able to maintain a positive profit figure in the current consumer market. Certainly paying too much for the business and stock won’t help.

However, if you have bought well, kept a very close eye on your stock levels and marketed your store using some of our low cost marketing strategies – then you’ve really got a lean and profitable store with good sales growth potential when consumers return to spending (which they will). Not only will you take advantage of the increase in cash-flow, but also capital growth too!

Gerry Harvey Fashion Business Retail

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!

Gerry Harvey, You and Online Shopping

Wow, what a big controversy recently in Australia about online retailing and whether people should pay GST when ordering online from overseas suppliers.

Big heavy weight retailers like Gerry Harvey from Harvey Norman and others claim that they are at a disadvantage because people can buy online (overseas) and not pay GST.

How would the trend in overseas (online) purchases affect FASHION retailers?

I still firmly believe the overall trend is still in the (physical store) fashion retailer’s favour.

Gerry Harvey

Here’s my list of the advantages and disadvantages for the CONSUMER when buying FASHION jewellery, footwear and clothing online…

  FASHION RETAIL STORE ONLINE RETAILER
Ability to try on the item / view the item Yes. I believe this is one of the most important reasons why people visit stores. We all know that the actual size of clothing or footwear varies between brands and even by date of manufacture. The ‘cut’ can also make a huge difference. We ‘hope’ we’ve ordered the right size. Even with jewellery – it can look great in the photo but disappointing in real-life.
Quality #1 We can examine the particular ‘item’ before we buy it and take it home. The item may arrive damaged or was damaged at manufacture or somewhere along the distribution channel.
Quality #2 We can ‘see’ and feel the quality of the item before we purchase it The photo may differ to the real-life item
Service Varies – some staff at certain fashion stores have good product knowledge and some don’t. Sometimes you get friendly, prompt service and sometimes you don’t. May offer more information on their website about the item. Personal service not available.
Availability If it’s in store, we can buy it and take it home straight away – instant gratification. May take 1-3 weeks for delivery
Price A fashion retailer has higher overheads – usually high rent and staff expenses, so this is built into the price of what we pay. Usually lower. No GST for items under $1,000 (overseas orders only). Offset by having to pay for shipping.
Exchange Some stores offer the option to exchange items if they are not worn. Usually no exchange is allowed. Besides, you have to pay shipping to send the item back.

 

Out this list of products, the ones that I feel will be mostly affected by the trend to online shopping (in descending order) are:

  1. Bags (most likely to be purchased online)
  2. Jewellery
  3. Footwear
  4. Clothing

Sure, some ‘sales’ may be lost to online shopping but when it comes to FASHION jewellery, footwear and clothing – most consumers understand the benefits of buying locally.

Let me know that you think?

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 A Web Site Make You More Money For Your Fashion Business?

I’m sure every fashion retailer would be in favour of having a web site for their business – but not every retailer actually has one. Why is that?

Fashion Advertising on the internet

As always, I believe the question comes down to cost and return-on-investment (ROI). Websites aren’t cheap. There is a cost to designing an unique site and the hours of graphic and web programming involved.

In order to figure out the return-on-investment for a fashion retailer, let’s look at the some of the benefits of having a good website :

  • 24 / 7 convenience : A customer or a potential new customer can browse your website to look at the latest styles and fashions you have available.
  • Customer assistance : A customer or a potential new customer can look up your contact or location details. They could view the outside of your store, it’s location on a Google map, or find what your opening hours are.
  • Mailing list : A customer or a potential new customer can sign up for your fashion eNewsletter which is a great strategy for increasing sales.
  • Web search : A potential new customer who has never heard about your retail store before comes across your website after a search for a particular brand.
  • Recommendation :A friend of a potential new customer recommends your store and that person visits your web site to find out more.
  • Branding : If you are seeking to build your brand, a good web site will assist in the brand-awareness process.
  • Publicity : Someone browsing the internet, comes across some news or information about your store on another site and then visits your website.
  • Credibility : A good retail web site lends credibility to the business.
  • Online Advertising option : A web site is a requirement for online fashion advertising. Online advertising is an effective way to bring more customers to your business.
  • Online sales : Generate sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People visit your site and make a purchase. Generally speaking, online sales are better suited to fashion items like jewellery, footwear and accessories. But, clothing can be sold too.

I’m sure you’re now impressed with some of the major benefits of having a fashion store web site, but in order to maximise those benefits the web site needs to be designed in a certain way. Keep an eye out for my next post…

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 Merchandising Tips To Increase Sales

Fashion merchandising

Visual merchandising is the activity of promoting the sale of goods by their presentation. Here are some of benefits:

  • Improve your store brand
  • Increase store traffic
  • Increase sales

Where and how fashion clothing, accessories, jewellery and footwear are displayed can make a big impact in a number of ways, including:

  • Style. Establishing visual elements that are consistent with the store brand. For example, signage colour and sizes, lighting, and even the shelf racks say something about the store.
  • Entrance displays. Effective displays will increase store traffic as people walking by will be ‘drawn’ in.
  • Presentation. Sales will increase if the fashion merchandise presentation is appealing to customers.
  • Location. The front of the store, middle, back, side, etc; can make a massive difference to sales of particular items. That’s why most fashion stores change their layout frequently.

But, don’t forget to monitor the effects on sales after changes to the visual presentation. Otherwise the process becomes subjective, rather than scientific. The visual merchandising main aim is to increase store traffic and sales, not to create extra work for your staff in your fashion retail store.

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!

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!

Magazine Fashion Advertising

Once you have thought about your target market and have designed your new advertisement aimed at that target market, you can now find out where to advertise. There are literally thousands of places to advertise your fashion items (clothing, footwear and jewellery).

I will discuss various advertising media in future posts on this web site, but for the moment let’s look at one obvious one, which is Print – magazines. To see which particular publication or publications match your target market, look at the readership demographics and psychographics information. Here are some of the ways to do this…

  1. Pop down to your local newsagency and purchase a half dozen magazines based on your understanding of the market for each publication. Read through each magazine to get a feel for the target audience. Which ones are suitable for your fashion advert?
  2. Borrow a copy of the Margaret Gee’s Australian Media Guide (you can usually find one at your state library).

Fashion advertising media guide

The Media Guide is a comprehensive listing of all newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations in Australia together with key journalists’ contact details for each.

  • Contact details (address, phone, fax, email) for both individuals and outlets
  • The advertising rates and deadlines for each publication
  • A concise summary of the audience of various media outlets
  • Precise details regarding subscription, circulation and cover price of each publication

Now we’ve covered fashion advertising style, target audience and have chosen suitable magazine media. Go to it!

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!

All About Fashion Advert Placement

Planning your fashion advertising campaign

Once you have decided what style of fashion advert you want – branding, benefit, sale/offer or event; you need to then think about your target audience before choosing a media to advertise in.

(If you’re not sure which style of fashion advert to use – click here to see our previous post on fashion advertising examples).

Target market questions… What are the demographics and the psychographics of your customers? Are you targeting females from the age of 18 to 30? Are you trying to reach older women with higher disposable incomes? To find out, take this short questionnaire.

Fashion advertising target market

  1. Sex? Male or female or both.
  2. Age bracket?
  3. Price bracket?
  4. Style?
  5. Use? Day wear, evening wear, club wear, casual, formal, bridal, cocktail, etc.
  6. Emotional appeal? To look sexy, to look younger, to look older, to look professional, to look wealthy and successful, to look powerful and in control (i.e. business women and men), to look desirable, fun loving, thrill seeking, etc.

Fashion advertising example - urban wear

The next step is to find a photographer, models and items of fashion (clothing, footwear and jewellery) that communicate that message in one visual image. If you’ve advertised to brand your fashion business and labels before you’ll know all about it.

What’s our take on fashion advertising? Simply, almost all fashion businesses and retailers prefer to focus entirely on expensive advertising to generate new customers with little or no effort taken to retain customers using good internal branding or marketing systems. Such systems maximise customer retention which in turn creates more word-of-mouth advertising and referrals – much cheaper!

For more information about how to achieve this in your fashion business, request a copy of our ‘Marketing Secrets Of Top Fashion Retailers!‘ – click here to download your copy.

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 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!

Fashion Advertising Basics For Retailers

Most fashion retailers at some time will invest money into fashion advertising. As with all fashion marketing there must be a purpose or objective. Generally this purpose is to lift the awareness of the ‘label’ or ‘store’ through image advertising, or, to drive more potential customers into a particular store or chain of stores.

Fashion advertisements typically contain the product being promoted (i.e. footwear, jewellery, clothing or fashion accessories) on their own or with models wearing the fashion product. Often, fashion advertising is heavily linked with sexuality, glamour, beauty and youth.

Fashion advertising usually falls into one of four main categories :

  1. Branding. Model or models wearing the item with just the name of the label or store (with logo)
  2. Benefit. A fashion advertisement containing words describing the benefits of the product.
  3. Sale / Offer. Using an offer such as % (percentage) OFF or $ (dollar) OFF to bring in customers during a sale or as an enticement for a certain period of time.
  4. Event. To promote an event such as a store opening, fashion parade, celebrity visit, etc.

Here are some examples :

Fashion advertising brand awareness example

Fashion advertising brand example

 

Fashion advertising benefit example

Fashion advertising benefit example

 

Fashion advertising sale / offer example

Fashion advertising offer example

 

Fashion advertising event example – Summer Fashion Parade

Fashion advertising parade example

 

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!