So, you want to open your own local clothing store? It may be the realization of a longtime goal or passion, plus the fact that you have a strong interest in the clothing business, plenty of business sense, and some cash in the bank.
No matter your reasons, there are more than a few things to keep an mind – both in marketing and presentation – as you begin this challenging undertaking. What follows below are suggestions that can help get your business off on the right foot.
First, you need to get customers in the door. By creating a consistent, wide-reaching marketing plan you’ll not only attract people to your store, but also keep them abreast of changing inventory. And there’s no better place to start than online.
Experts suggest that you establish a strong online presence which will enable customers to find your business by name or type. Use phrases that will be search optimal for potential customers; list your city name and niche clothing items you provide (such as “plus size” or “sports apparel.”)
Also make sure that your company is listed on local search engines. And if you want to strengthen your brand, create a blog devoted to your store and contribute to it regularly.
You should also use social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach your customers on a less formal level. Post something every few days, using a mix of your own marketing posts and links to articles about fashion that will interest your customers. You can post pictures of new inventory, and even offer discounts to social media friends.
It may seem obvious, but make sure you understand your market. If you’re a smaller store, focus on the local community and provide consistent, excellent service and an interesting collection of clothes. Remember, if customers have a limited time to shop, good service – which can separate your store from the larger chains – will often be what the client remembers most.
How your store looks will keep customers coming back while attracting new ones. Understanding the art and technique of visual merchandising will help set your store apart from others. And appealing to as many senses as possible is an important part of the process.
Visually, there are many things to consider, from your window displays, to signs and to the actual layout of your store. Be mindful of what colors you use, and to if your layout directs the customer to the displays you want. If your store has an outside area or large entrance make sure that it is welcoming as well. This includes keeping the pigeons and pests away.
If you play music in your store, be mindful of your target audience. Mellow music can cause customers to browse longer, but if your audience is younger, more upbeat, currently popular music could be the better choice.
Studies have also demonstrated the importance of using smell as a way to attract customers. Smell can appeal to parts of the brain that controls both emotion and memory, which are key factors in the decision-making process.
And don’t forget touch. Customers want to be able touch and feel what you’re trying to sell – as well as the experience to try it out (or try it on).