Stores closing, stocks falling – it feels like the retail world is in trouble. But fear not! There are some keys to weathering the fashion storm and coming out a winner. Here are some important questions to ask yourself as a retailer ahead of a troubling climate:
Do you know your customer? Who really is shopping your product? If you know who is shopping, buying, and wearing then you have a better idea of how to get her to return season after season. A loyal customer base is the key to stability and predictability – you’re welcome Anthropologie.
Are you priced correctly? Your customer base is millennial but you’re maintaining luxury prices? Come on now, we have student loan bills to pay! Maintain your margins but also price yourself competitively and relevantly. Pricing for the wrong market and wrong customer base will lead to inevitable markdowns – which could cheapen your brand over time.
Are you timing promotions correctly and are they attractive enough? We have said it before, but promotions are a tricky science. Being on sale all the time is not always the best move for your business. Keeping promotions attractive while preserving a sense of urgency is key to cutting through the clutter.
Are you looking at trends through the correct lens? Trends don’t just relate to design – they relate to a customer’s entire lifestyle. Wonder why athleisure has gained so much traction? Because health and fitness have become just as important to her as the latest denim trends.
Are you consistent across shopping channels? Strong brick-and-mortar showing but weak mobile presence? A successful retailer is one who reaches the store customer and the digital customer. Being easy to shop in the store, on iPad, and on mobile is just important as the products themselves.
Is your branding clear? Be the authority on what you have to offer and do it best. Keep your product assortment focused and your brand stories clear. You may not be the cheapest, but with the right branding you can strike a chord with customers and be the first they come to in times of need.
Are you staying fresh? Short attention spans and quick trend turnover means you need to stay on your toes to keep the customer engaged. Tailor your message and assortment to keep customers coming back again and again.
You’ve got the tools - now hold on tight, friends, we have a rough one ahead!