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!

Loss Of Store Traffic – Don’t Let This Happen To Your Fashion Business!

I’ve been saying it for years… when it comes to fashion business marketing (and any other retail store for that matter) – you can’t simply rely on local walk-by or drive-by traffic. You are putting yourself at the mercy of the local conditions – car park changes, local council works, nearby building works, etc.

Here’s proof… have a read of this article in The West Australian newspaper this week…. One retailer has lost his franchise business, others are running at a loss and all had to lay off staff and reduce hours. We certainly feel for these business owners… not a nice thing to happen… but it does unfortuntely.

Retailing requires smarter thinking – that’s why you have to look at other ways (strategies) to market and deliver your products to consumers.

Fashion business and other retail stores lost walk-by traffic

Fashion business and other retailers lose store traffic

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!

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 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!

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!

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