How To Win Direct-To-Consumer Fashion Sales
If I started my business today, would I open wholesale?
She started in 2006 and hit $50 million sales in 2017. Close to 60% of her sales come through direct retail. Her strategy for the future focuses on increasing direct retail and reducing wholesale as much as possible.
She is not the only one.
According to the Business of Fashion, many wholesale-dependent brands are eager to shift their sales strategies towards direct-to-consumer retail. And Nike, Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors are shifting to direct retail, too.
Direct retail offers far better margins than wholesale, but also an opportunity to own and hone the relationship with the customer, capturing their feedback, both quantitative and qualitative, to make better business decisions. It also mitigates the risk of working with traditional multi-brand retailers, many of which are finding it increasingly difficult to grow as consumer choice multiplies.”Lauren Sherman
But how to champion direct-retail when you are a brand new and unknown fashion designer?
Today, it’s within reach, with a few tips to do it right from the beginning.
Get to know your new customers
And offer them the right products.
Everyone talks about Millenials. But Gen X and Gen Y are still fashion customers, too.
And they also have a bigger shopping budget.
Baby boomers have been largely absent from advertising, especially in high-fashion, despite driving 42 percent of spending in the US, versus 13 percent for millennial and Gen-Z consumers, according to a 2017 report from Moody’s.”Victoria Berezhna
Now, this is important…
Those 3 different generations have a lot in common as fashion customers:
- They use their fashion choices to express their own style, self-image, and values
- They want fashion businesses with a purpose
Obviously, the product has to be A-plus but it’s also really what you stand for and what you believe in.”Tory Burch
- They demand more unconventional and signature items, products of higher quality, better prices, exclusivity, and authenticity as well as engaging stories
In the end, what you deliver is not only the product but the story about the product.”Sydney Toledano
That’s not all…
Yes, over the years the customer has changed. Before, it used to be the department stores which were in charge; now the customer is charge because technology has really given the customer access to so much information. So they’re really determining what is relevant. They have high expectations with customer service. They have high expectations with the product. They have high expectations with cost and they can go on an app and compare pricing, globally, instantaneously.”Tory Burch
Forget about local and grow your business
Today’s world gives you, as a fashion designer, the opportunity to find your fashion-loving customers across the globe, connect with them and get to know them.
And on top of that…
Social media, peer reviews and influencer marketing impact buying decisions, even offline ones, on a global scale. The power of fashion editors and magazines is shrinking.
Show reviews were once scrutinized by wholesale buyers who curated clothing for consumers. But do the opinions of critics or buyers really matter when brands can connect directly with consumers online and via their own stores?… When it comes to both “the product” and “the story about the product,” it’s increasingly a direct-to-consumer world and the gap between shoppers and traditional intermediaries like critics and buyers is only sure to widen.”The Business of Fashion
You see my point, right?
We live in a global world. Today, you cannot expect to grow if you stay local.
You are not a fashion designer in New York, Paris, London, Milan… anymore.
You may work from there. But you are a fashion designer working for fashion-loving customers worldwide.
Piggyback on the success of online platforms
Selling on a marketplace means that you can sell to the world without getting out of your studio. This is how your label can grow.
Fashion online platforms feel like direct retail. Even though the platform works as an intermediate, it offers more benefits to new fashion designers.
- No product censorship from fashion buyers
- Higher profit margin
- Lower cost
- Bigger traffic
- Direct contact with the customer
- Customer experience from A to Z
- Choice of scale: main activity, side job, hobby
- No minimums or maximums of products
- Exposure to the fashion industry
- Peer community
Think about Amazon for fashion.
Follow business trends, not fashion trends
Consumers will increasingly look to online platforms as the first point of search, attracted by their convenience, relevance, and breadth of offering. The growth of online platforms is a testament to their success in winning over the consumer.”The State of Fashion 2018
Wholesalers and department stores used to get the foot traffic.
That time is over. Now the traffic is online.
Starting your fashion business has never been easier, faster and cheaper. Because you can start online, right now, with no investment.
So, which first fashion product will you pick to sell in a marketplace?
Welcome aboard to win the heart of fashion-loving customers.
(Photos from Unsplash: Crew, Rawpixel, Charisse Kenion, Lauren Roberts, Liana Mikah, Jeff Sheldon, Stuart Guest Smith, Warren Wrong, Simone Busatto).
P.S. FashionTalents is an open marketplace where you create your fashion business in minutes.
Or contact us to get a demo.
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Fanny is the CEO + Co-founder of Fashion Talents, and a passionate and tireless promoter of new fashion designers. She’s on a mission to open fashion business to all talents around the world and drive shoppers, sales, and success to them.