Photographer Bill Cunningham said, “Fashion is the armour to survive everyday life.” With this in mind, there has never been a better time to clothe people enduring tough times. So how can you grow your clothing retail store and serve people with what they need? This is an important question and one that store owners are heavily invested in, now more than ever. Sometimes this means taking bold steps forward, while other times it can mean making small tweaks and shrewd thinking. So here are our top tips for how to grow your clothing retail store:
1. Make sure you have a great website
Your website is an important brand statement. This is because shoppers engage both on and offline so your website user experience automatically integrates with your customer’s overall experience of your brand. Consumers often check out retailers online before going in store so it is essential that you make a good impression. Also with a growing trend towards online shopping, all clothing retailers need to ensure that their websites are slick, professional and easy to navigate
2. Offer different body sizing
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and retailers are beginning to acknowledge this. The plus-size market has been overlooked for many years and if you look to the US for example, this market accounts for an estimated $17.5 billion, alone. Meaning it is well worth conducting research in your own market to consider if adding new size curves for other body types could speak to your existing customer base, or open you up to new markets.
3. Get authentic and engaging on social media
Social media as a marketing tool is by no means new. Making it is absolutely essential to be present and active online. That said, the way you do this will make all the difference. Users are savvy and can sniff out insincerity in a second. This means that your social media shouldn’t necessarily only be about selling. Rather it should be about story-telling, accessibility and value-add. So ask yourself what your brand can offer your customer base that will make their lives better, fuller and more enjoyable. Then develop this experience on social media and invest in relationships with your online customer base.
4. Increase channels for distribution
Social media now offers the option of online shopping via Instagram or Facebook groups. This is a brilliant way to get fresh distribution channels which will expand your business. Also consider adding online shopping to your website. If you are able to integrate this into your operations, this is another brilliant way to extend your business. This of course comes with many adjacent commercial decisions but it is well worth investigating.
5. Find clever ways to up your basket size.
Look at your existing customer base and consider what else they may need. For example if you have a grocery store, people may like to buy a coffee as they shop. All you need to do is get a barrister, coffee stand and add cup holders to your trolleys and you have a new (and on-trend) revenue stream.
6. Pop-up in new places
If you don’t have the budget (or confidence) to open up in a new location, then consider a pop-up store. A pop-up shop otherwise known as ‘flash retailing’, is a temporary retail space that takes up short-term occupancy in order to market brands and sell products in a fresh way. In the US, Pop-ups are estimated to be a $50 billion industry. Making this a huge incentive for South African retailers who are now eager to pop-up themselves and create a new kind of success for their retail businesses. The great thing about these is that they’re a smart way to test new locations, markets, move stock or generate marketing.
The bottom line
Clothing is always going to be needed, not only for practical reasons, but emotional ones too. But in this saturated market, clothing retailers really need to stay on top of their game. These steps to growth may be small and quick, or may require more time and investment. For more information on how to fund the growth of your clothing retail store, get in touch with Merchant Capital today.