8 Tips on what to do to open a clothing store
According to the FIESP, the fashion market in Brazil is expected to grow 3.1% per year until 2021. Before that, the IEMI Market Intelligence had already forecast a 4% growth in sales volume and 6.3% in clothing retail sales for 2018, compared to 2017.
With such a positive scenario, opening a clothing store seems to be the right choice to successfully undertake. So, if you want to enter this market, check out our 8 tips and start off on the right foot!
1. Ask the four essential questions
There are four essential questions that must be answered by anyone who has an entrepreneurial initiative. Start by reflecting on the answers you would give to each:
- why do you want to open a clothing store?
- Who do you want to sell to?
- what do you want to sell
- how are you going to sell
You will notice that these questions are also behind the other tips in this article.
2. Define the ideal customer profile
What is the ideal customer you envision walking into your clothing store? Take into account factors such as age group, gender, financial condition, style preferences and even details such as body structure. This will help you make strategic decisions more confidently, such as choosing products for your store that are really suitable for customer demand.
For example, if you want to cater for plus-size women, it doesn’t make sense to bring size 38 items into the store. If you want to serve successful executives in their 30s to 50s, it doesn’t make sense to bring baggy pants and ripped jeans.
3. Search competitors
While fashion retail has great potential, it also has heavy competition, which includes large chains as well as small and medium-sized establishments. If you want to conquer a space in this segment, you need to research and understand who the competitors are.
This research can demonstrate where there is an unfilled niche that your business will be able to fill without direct competition; or, it can demonstrate what your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are, which you can use to gain competitive advantage.
4. Create your product mix
We’ve already talked a little about the product mix, which should take into account the customer’s profile. This is not the only point that influences the definition of the products that will reach the shelves of your clothing store; among the other questions to consider, it’s worth asking whether you’re just selling clothes or diversifying into shoes, bags, accessories, makeup.
On the one hand, diversification can deface your brand identity. On the other hand, it can generate more business, as people who come in to buy a piece of clothing will be tempted to buy a complementary item: a belt that matches the pants, for example.
Keep in mind that there is an association in consumer mindsets between the breadth of the product mix and the level of the store. Generally speaking, the more extensive the mix, the more popular the store is considered. Just remember that designer stores like Dolce&Gabbana have a few and select items for sale, while stores like Riachuelo and Renner offer hundreds or even thousands of items.
5. Find out about trends
The fashion world lives on trends. Before opening a clothing store, then, you need to find out about the current trends, as they are responsible for defining what your customers are looking for.
The bottom line is that a successful clothing store is the first to bring new trending items to the shelves; and this requires that you know how to recognize strong trends for yourself, while they have not yet become common sense. Therefore, it is a good idea to learn about the functioning of the fashion industry and always be aware of events that move this industry, such as the Fashion Weeks.
6. Choose between virtual store or physical store
One of the segments in which it is easier to open a virtual store is in clothing retail. This is because, in general, clothes do not require special storage or specific care during transport. And, since online stores are cheaper, they can be a good option for maximizing profits.
The big hitch to an online clothing store’s success, on the other hand, is that customers are afraid that the clothing will not fit well when it reaches them.
Dafiti, one of the largest women’s fashion e-commerces in the country, solved a similar problem by offering customers special free exchange policies; thus, if the item received does not fit the buyer well, he can try again. You can be inspired by this creative solution to eliminate the barriers that some consumers still impose to the purchase of clothes online.
7. Plan an outreach strategy
The advertising strategy is a very important element for the success of your clothing store and can even serve to differentiate you from the competition. That’s because the way your campaigns are designed helps to form the image of your establishment, making the customer identify with them.
Young people’s attention is directed to stores that are active on social media, use casual language, bring memes. On the other hand, pregnant women will prefer to shop at stores that feature campaigns exploring emotion, maternal love, the role of the mother in the home, themes with which she identifies.
Your target audience certainly has its own language and is interested in specific topics. You must bring these elements into your outreach strategy if you want to attract them to your store.
8. Take a test
The final tip is that before opening a complete clothing store, you should give it a try. Try to buy some clothes and try to sell them, at home or on social networks. Consider this your chance to find out if you really want to do business in this segment and, even more, collect valuable customer profile data.
If you conclude that you are really on the right path, it is worth investing in the seminar Empretec. It is a Sebrae seminar for the development of characteristics of entrepreneurial behavior. You will have the opportunity to build traits that will be very useful to overcome common obstacles for those who are starting their own business, such as taking calculated risks and how to practice persuasion to build a network of contacts, for example.
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