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".

Using The Mailbox Flyer Fashion Marketing Strategy Successfully

"Fashion Retailer Brings In An Extra 51 People In One Week!" – but, first a little background information…

Shoe store fashion marketing logo

Often fashion retailers approach me and say they don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising. If their fashion shop is in a residential area, or in a suburban shopping centre, I often recommend the mailbox flyer marketing strategy.

A mailbox flyer is a one page pamphlet stuffed into residential mailboxes (letter boxes).

Many retailers may have tried flyers in the past, but stopped because they didn’t get a good result. However, John’s Shoe Store brought in an additional 51 people in one week last month (they tracked them) using the flyer from our Customer Marketing Sales Kit.

Getting a good result from a flyer design 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. Sure, you can achieve a similar result from Community Newspaper advertising, but occasionally I like to ‘mix-up’ the marketing to reach local, surrounding homes for stronger store recognition and branding.

Oh yeah, a tip: I prefer the A5 size (1/2 A4) as it doesn’t require folding (as you would need to do for the A4 size), you get double the amount of flyers when printing, and the A5 size is easy for someone to put in letter boxes.

Fashion marketing with mailbox flyers

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

Getting Good Results From Your Fashion Advertising

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

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

Message branding advertising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s a good result from fashion advertising!

About the author: I’m Mark Fregnan, founder of Smart Fashion Marketing (Kinetic Media & Marketing) – an Australian consulting business that assists fashion retailers to increase sales and improve business value. Because we have a passion for marketing, our retail business clients enjoy better store and label brand exposure, greater cash-flow and more time off to enjoy the finer things in life!

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.