Improving Retail Store Traffic : How Many Browsers & Customers?

When it comes to finding out how effective your fashion advertising is (and even the advertising of the shopping centre management – if this applies to you) in bringing people into your store, you’ll need to have a system to measure STORE TRAFFIC.

Even if you don’t advertise – you’ll need to understand which days of the week and which months are your quiet times and which are your busy times.

Simply looking at your retail store sales figures only tells you half the story – how many people made purchases, not how many people came in.

The best way to find out how many people came in is to install a store traffic counter across the entry (or entries to your store). Armed with this information, you can create a more effective marketing calendar and fashion business strategy.

Here’s a small list of some of the benefits of having an automated store traffic counter…

  • Be able to monitor how effective your advertising and marketing promotions are.
  • To be able determine your sales conversion.
  • Know whether you are generating enough store traffic to ensure target sales revenue.
  • Ensure you have enough staff during peak times and be able to reduce staff at quiet times.

Fashion retail traffic counter example

Closely monitoring your store traffic will allow you to refine your marketing and even reduce money wasted on ineffective marketing campaigns!

IMPLEMENTATION : You can get electronic store counters from ‘Total Count’ in Melbourne. This is their web site address :
www.totalcount.com.au

They have inexpensive counters and all the way up to advanced models. And before you ask. No, I don’t get a commission by recommending them. Our clients have been using the counters from Total Count and they have been reliable.

THE KEY POINT : You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Automated systems work best because they don’t rely on humans – if you don’t have a store traffic counter – now is a great time to get one!

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 : How To Get People To Visit Your Fashion Store Website

People visiting your website (or traffic as it’s called in the internet world) can be a source of new customers for your fashion retail store.

Fashion retail store online advertising

In my last post, I talked about the advantages of having a website for your retail store. The next step is to discuss ‘traffic’.

Just like in your physical brick’n’morter store, the more people that visit your website, the more new customers and sales you will generate. Before we can look at ways to increase traffic to your retail store website using advertising, let’s examine the ways people usually search for, or come across a website…

Method 1 – SEARCH) They search for an existing brand using a search engine. e.g. They search for "Nike".

Method 2 – SEARCH) They search for an existing product using a search engine. e.g. They search for "Nike SB".

Method 3 – NEWS / PUBLICITY) They skim the news topics in online, or in traditional media, find an interesting fashion article, read it, and then visit your web site.

Method 4 – ONLINE ADVERTISING) They see a product they like advertised on a portal / directory / web site they visit frequently.

Method 5 – OFFLINE ADVERTISING) They see a product they like advertised in traditional media like newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc. Then they type the URL of your web site into their web browser, or search online for your store name.

Method 6 – ONLINE LIST ADVERTISING) The product / brand / label is promoted via email to a list of people who have subscribed to receive an e-newsletter. The link in the e-newsletter takes them to your website.

Method 7 – DIRECT) The prospect / customer visits the retail store and at some point visits your fashion web site by typing the URL into their web browser.

These are the main methods of bringing traffic to your retail web site. Most retailers will need to look at utilising several of these marketing methods, not just one. My recommendation is to take some time to sit down to think about and create an online marketing plan and how that plan ties in with your current website design and sales strategy.

For example, are you using your fashion store website to get people to visit your store, or to make a purchase online, or to subscribe to your online newsletter?

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!

Should You Let Your Accountant Run Your Fashion Store?

I usually have several conversations a day with fashion retailers… existing clients and people enquiring about our marketing services. One such conversation with a prospect business (not a client) last week (early March 2010) was with an owner of a small fashion store who also managed an accounting firm with his wife. One of first things he said (I won’t mention his real name – but let’s call him Peter) … was "The store isn’t doing well". Peter’s comments weren’t anything new… I’ve been hearing about slow retail sales from mid-January this year (2010).

Fashion Store Accountant

 

When Peter said "The store isn’t doing well", to be honest, I was a little annoyed. Peter and his wife had contacted me in January I had given them one particular strategy to increase sales. Guess what? That’s right, Peter didn’t implement it at all. Two months later he calls to tell me how lousy sales are.

Now this particular strategy had zero cost – yep … zero cost!

Peter’s reason for not implementing the strategy was…. drum roll … "…we were too busy...". Yes, too busy losing money.

Don’t get me wrong, I have good friends who are accountants, but an accountant’s mindset about running a business … is 1) Financial management, and 2) Cost cutting.

Accountants don’t know much about marketing and sales – they foolishly see it as an expense rather than an investment. That’s why big businesses have an accounting department separate to the marketing and sales department. You and I, as entrepreneurs, value accountants for 1) Minimising tax, 2) Preparing accounting statements and keeping the ATO happy, 3) Giving advice about gearing and balance sheets – that’s it – don’t ask an accountant if you should spend more money on marketing!

If you, or anyone else in fashion retailing, is hurting (financially) make fashion marketing and sales your top priority.

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.

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!

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!

Clothing Manufacturer & Retailer Grows After Being ‘Stuck’ For Over 5 Years!

clothing manufacturing marketing

Elana Geldenhuys
Director, Geldens Pty Ltd, Leederville WA.

"We signed up for Kinetic Media & Marketing services at a time when we had been in business for 20 years. We felt that we were no longer growing and had in fact become quite stagnant.

Mark Fregnan from Kinetic, has guided and assisted us through several business decisions that have resulted in changes to strategy, and has provided us with the tools to grow.

We have implemented clear policies and documented these. This has improved our selling technique and saved time as finally we are organized! We have graded our customers (A,B,C) and are setting up a proper customer base that will be an added asset to the business.

We have changed our approach to marketing and advertising, and Mark advised us on our brochure information and layout, which has definitely resulted in improved sales.

We have established a good relationship with Kinetic Media & Marketing, and will continue to use their services as consultants in marketing and advertising and in any way that will continue to improve our business.

This has been an investment (not an expense), and I would recommend other businesses to join the programme."

We Can Now Respond Quickly To Slow Months!

Shoe store marketing

Gill & Kim
Directors, Retail business, Midland, WA.

(Full names withheld due to privacy reasons)

"We began working with Mark Fregnan from Kinetic Media and Marketing in December 2008."

"At Mark’s recommendation we installed a traffic counter from Total Count in Melbourne in our store from the 1st January 2009. This will enable us to know exactly how much traffic our store produces each month."

"There are two benefits of using this system – one, we can monitor all of our marketing to make sure that our store traffic volume doesn’t fall below our specific targets, and two, so we can better plan promotions to avoid the slow periods."

11 February 2009

Why did I create this site for fashion retailers?

Fashion retail advertising marketing and sales for business

 

Hello, my name is Mark Fregnan. I work with fashion retailers everyday. So, why did I create this web site?

Simply due to the frustration I hear from clothing, footwear and jewellery retail shop owners. I’m sure you can relate to some of these challenges:

  • Flat out or dead quiet. You have some good days, but can’t figure out how to bring in more store traffic when you need it.
  • Having hundreds of thousands of dollars of capital tied up in stock.
  • Not moving forward. Annual sales which have reached a plateau or even declining.
  • Expensive advertising which is ineffective.
  • Increases in rent
  • Rising expenses
  • Staff problems
  • The economy

The list goes on…

But, generally most of those problems can be solved by INCREASING SALES of your fashion products whilst MAINTAINING GOOD MARGINS.

So What Are Successful FASHION RETAILERS Doing Now?

You see after many years of studying SUCCESSFUL FASHION RETAILERS and conducting intensive research and marketing analysis I discovered literally dozens of simple, yet powerful strategies TO INCREASE FASHION RETAIL SALES and PROFITS.

This information has been collated and edited into a very special mini-course called ‘Marketing Secrets of Top Fashion Retailers’. Here’s what you’ll learn…

  • Discover The Promotion That Brought In Additional Sales Of $53,858 To A Retail Store In 4 Hours!
  • How To Increase The Value Of Your Fashion Retail Business By At Least $45,000 In The Next Four Weeks! This Is So Easy – Every Retailer Should Be Doing It!
  • 3 Simple Steps That Were Taken By A Fashion Retailer That Increased Annual Sales By 126%!
  • How A 430% Increase In Advertising Response Was Achieved By A Local Business!
  • How To Add At Least $8,500 To Your Bottom Line In Your Fashion Retail Business By Avoiding This One Big Mistake!
  • The Quick & Easy Way To Ensure A Good Consistent Volume Of Sales Each & Every Month. Never, Ever Have A Bad Sales Month Again!
  • Revealed! How To Overcome Price Shoppers And Actually Enjoy 20% To 50% Higher Gross Margins Than Your Competitors!
  • Plus many more fashion marketing tips & tactics!

Excited? Well, you should be. It wasn’t easy creating such a valuable resource. All of the fashion marketing information in the ‘Marketing Secrets of Top Fashion Retailers’ mini-course has been tested in actual real-life businesses – no theory here.

So, how much is it?

We understand that many fashion retailers are experiencing 20% (or more) reduction in sales due to the current economic climate, so we have decided to hand you a ‘gift’. This mini-course sells for $167.00, but for a limited time, we have decided to make it FREE.

FREE – For a limited time… Request your Fashion Marketing mini-course now!

 FASHION RETAIL MARKETING INFORMATION…
shadow

Marketing Secrets Of Top Fashion Retailers!

 

Free Mini-Course
FREE MINI-COURSE (Valued at $167)
   
Find out how to…
   
tick box Bring In More Customers To Your Fashion Retail Store!
tick box Increase Sales!
tick box Improve Customer Loyalty!

To receive your Fashion Marketing Mini-Course simply complete the form below and click the ‘FREE Instant Access’ button.

FREE Mini-Course request form :    
Full name:   *** IMPORTANT : The report will be emailed to you, so please ensure you have correctly entered your email address.
Email Address:  
 

27 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Fashion Retail Business

I met the husband and wife owners of a small retail shop recently. The business was running at a $65,000 (approx) annual loss. They had purchased the business over 12 months ago and had been steadily losing money. I looked briefly at their books and realised they had paid too much for the business. On top of that, both of them had no retail business experience and they had decided to cut out all of the advertising that the previous business owner had been running – due to cost reasons only.

I asked them how much research and due diligence had they conducted before buying the business. I was shocked by their response…

Don't sign to purchase a fashion retail store without doing your homework

"We asked the solicitor who was performing the business settlement service if the business was a good buy."

In otherwords, they asked after the sale… Talk about throwing money away. Needless to say, they no longer have any available capital to invest in marketing or anything else. The outcome will be to close up shop and accept the loss, and the lesson.

 

This is real important…

I’ve spoken to and met with many business owners who have paid too much for their business (and not just fashion retailers – all types of businesses). It’s like paying $100,000 extra for a house. The problem is that usually the extra capital has been borrowed which puts a strain on the business cashflow. Often it’s very difficult to recover from this situation.

To gain $100,000 in net profit in a fashion retail store may require at least an additional $800,000 in sales revenue (i.e. on a 12.5% net profit margin).

$800k in ‘additional’ (over and above existing) sales revenue which isn’t a very easy thing to achieve in a short-time frame, i.e. 12 months.

So how do you actually avoid this type of business disaster?

Do your homework – Ask yourself these questions…

1. What do I want from being in business?

  • Freedom to do ‘my’ thing?
  • Be an entrepreneur?
  • To make more money than being an employee?
  • Work fewer than 30 hours a week?

2. Why am I going into a fashion retail business?

  • For lifestyle (to work fewer than 40 hours per week, with the freedom to go on holidays whenever you choose)
  • To make a profit by building the business up (increasing sales) and then selling it.
  • To generate more cash-flow than than a 9-to-5 job.

If your reasons are not listed above (lifestyle or profit) – don’t buy the business. If you want to be involved in retailing out of interest and passion for fashion – honestly it’s much safer to be an employee.

3. What will be my exit strategy to get out of the business?

  • Sell the business for a profit
  • Sell the business to a major shareholder(s) and become a silent partner
  • Pass the business down to a family member
  • Franchise

4. What skills do I have that will make me successful in this business?

Please don’t think that all that is required to ‘improve’ the business is cosmetic – by changing fashion labels or re-designing the store interior. Unless the store has poor stock and an ugly showroom – these ‘improvements’ won’t double sales.

Only very good marketing, a good sales team and good systems will increase sales significantly. Sorry, I’ve seen many business owners take over an existing fashion retail store – changing labels and interior perhaps at best has increased sales by 30% initially and then nothing after that.

5. What skills will I have to “hire in”?

  • Sales staff/assistants
  • Bookkeeper
  • Fashion buyer/consultant
  • Sales trainer
  • Outsource marketing?

6. What monthly cash-flow do I need?

  • To pay myself a decent wage
  • To cover all the retail business expenses
  • To cover the repayments if I borrow to purchase the business
  • Additional business profit

7. How much working capital do I have access to?

Can I get an overdraft to cover seasonal buying?

8. Will this business suit me i.e. hours, type of operation?

To ask the vendor who is selling the business…

9. How long has the business been operating?

10. How long has the current owner had the business?

11. Why is the current owner selling?

  • Worn out from working long hours for little money?
  • Couldn’t make the business work (perhaps in it’s current location)?
  • Actual legitimate reasons such as retiring, moving to another state or country, or looking for another challenge in another business?

If it’s retiring – also be aware that may business owners in their 50/60s hang on to a unprofitable business (maybe paying themselves a very basic wage) because it was too difficult for them to have sold earlier and got a job.

12. What is the Cash flow and Profit (Gross and Net) for the business?

13. What is the business owner paying him/herself?

14. What do the last 3 years of financial accounts show?

15. How has the business been valued?

16. Who are the key customers, suppliers, staff?

17. What are the terms and length of any leases?

18. Will the current owner stay on and assist for a period of time?

Ask them to put this period in WRITING!

19. What areas of the fashion retail business are systemised?

For example:

  • Point-of-sale (POS)
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing / customer marketing systems
  • Website / social media (e.g. Facebook)
  • E-commerce website

20. Is there a business plan?

21. How many hours a week does the current owner work in the business?

22. When was the last time the current owner took a holiday?

23. What is the marketing systems like? Do they make money for the business?

Review all advertising material, the customer database, the POS systems, any loyalty programs, special promotional material, etc.

24. What facts support the "story" of the business?

25. How secure is future income i.e. contracts with customers and suppliers?

26. How dependent is the business on the current owner?

27. What will it take to grow the business so I can sell it for a profit?

Fashion stock

Often this is the BIG ONE – many fashion retailers overcapitalise in stock in relation to the store sales annual turnover. Ask your accountant is there is too much capital tied up in stock on the balance sheet. If there is – don’t buy the business!!! Tell the vendor. You can either wait until they sell down the surplus stock at regular prices, or they can offload it at cost. Don’t let their past buying decisions become your problem!

Before you make an offer

1. Get your accountant to check the financial accounts

Obtain actual lodged tax returns with the government, not the business owner’s printout or handwritten bookkeeping summary.

Your accountant will ensure that the business has cashflow and is not over-capalised.

2. Hire a solicitor who is experienced in buying fashion retail businesses like the one you are looking at.

Your solicitor will ensure that the contracts with suppliers, the landlord, etc don’t have any surprises.

3. If you are spending over $250,000 on the business, or even if you want to be extra careful, pay for a business valuation.

Pay a licenced valuer to come in and audit the business. Even if you have to spend $7,000 for the valuation, it’s still much better than paying $50,000, $100,000 or more than you should have to buy the business.

You may even be able to ‘use’ the valuation to negotiate a better price.

The lesson

Homework always pays off in business. Sure, there is a lot of questions (above) – but, like with real-estate, the profit often is made when you buy the business, not when you sell. Taking shortcuts and buying a business on emotion often lead to regrets. Don’t let this happen to you.

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