Sell it! – To your target customer / shop
Once you have your salesman samples and your story ready, it’s time to sell. Either you sell it yourself or you get a salesman onboard to do it for you. Selling goes hand in hand with marketing, and as we mentioned in our previous post it should be integrated in everything you do. What we will talk about now, are the orders from your customers. Let’s take a look at the most common ways of selling your product.
This is the traditional way of selling your garments where you get the help from a retailer with an already established customer base. They will take a big chunk of your margins, but they can probably reach a larger audience quicker than you can. Hopefully you have checked out some stores where you really want to have your brand and where your target customer is a shopper. A good way to meet potential retailers is to exhibit at targeted fairs. You get to merchandise your garments in your own space, which helps to tell your story. The trick is to be proactive. Contact retailers well in advance of the fair and invite them to your booth. Make sure to book as many appointments with them as possible. And by the way, don’t forget to bring a mirror. People will want to have a look when trying on your samples.
When you are not showing at fairs, you should pack your product samples in garment bags and invite yourself to the retailers. Hustle your brand into the busy buyers’s schedules and give them a private presentation.
Maybe you have a show room. Then it is just to lure the buyers over, to see your amazing collection.
Agent and distributors
It can be time consuming and hard work to sell your products to retailers. Especially if you are small or if you are trying to expand into new markets. You then have the option to take help of agents or distributors. Agents know the market and help you find retailers. They help you sell the products and take a commission for that. They are not involved in delivery or after service. Distributors on the other hand buy the products directly from you and distribute them into the market. They also take care of after sales service.
Consignment is a bit tricky. The only time I would sell my stuff on commission is if I had products in stock and I needed to move it out of the warehouse. The shop is not really responsible for your products, the shop does’t buy the products, and what doesn’t gets sold, is shipped back to you. In a way, you just rent the shop floor and pay a commission. What’s good though is that it’s an easy way of testing the product.
Online – Direct To Customer
I don’t think anyone has missed that selling online is increasingly popular. It is understandable that companies are finding new ways of reaching the end customers. Selling direct to customer has some advantages. As mentioned in my post about the price, the retailer takes the larger piece of the profit cake. So by selling without them you have a bigger margin, that you can invest in your products. You can afford to use better materials and higher quality production. Another advantage is the direct contact with the customers. No one knows your brand better than you do and no one can answer question about your products better than you can. You can get feedback at once and quicker feel the pulse of your business. To sell online, you need to succeed in one or more of the following three ways;
Through PR and marketing you make sure the customers know your brand and find your e-commerce store directly.
You work on search engine optimization. When online searches related to your products are made, customers find your e-com site.
You buy ads online to reach your target customer. It is immensely popular to buy ads with Google, so when people search for let’s say a t-shirt, they see your t-shirt ad at the top, or on the side of the search results. Typically you pay for every time someone clicks on your ad.
Heads up! Only take orders you can produce and deliver. If someone really really likes your stuff and wants to place a big order, make sure you know what you say ok to. Bring your head out of the cloud and be realistic.
Selling is a lot of fun! You have the overall idea of the brand and the products so make sure the story gets told. Of course people will look at the materials, and how many pockets the product has, and the weight etc but what will have a buyer hooked, is a cool, authentic brand/product story.