BASICS ABOUT OPENING OF A CLOTHING STORE
Many people have thought of opening a clothing store. The idea seems promising, because people of all genders, ages and occupations need to replenish and renovate their wardrobes. However, the idea generates a lot of questions: where to start, what trade format to select, how to choose the range, what are peculiarities of selling products intended for different seasons and customers? There’s a lot to think about. But experienced ones advise to start from finding a reliable and convenient supplier, because this is a success factor of any business. But first things first.
CREATION OF A CLOTHING STORE FROM SCRATCH. THE VERY BASICS
How to select a product niche? These can be women’s and men’s collections, lines for babies, schoolchildren or teenagers, festive wear, sports and leisure wear. To choose sides, think of which products groups are more in demand in your region and attract you. The first point is clear. The second works as follows: seller’s knowledge of the marketed products and personal interest make a good impression on customers, thus positively affecting the sales.
Where to get money? If you don’t have enough money of your own, you can get it from people you know or borrow it from a credit company. When contacting a bank, keep in mind that there are purpose and non-purpose business loans to individuals. Interest rate, collateral, repayment method and other conditions depend on the loan type.
Where to sell? You can sell online or at a store (a leased module at a shopping center). The amount of investment is comparable in both cases. The cost structure consists of renting or buying commercial space, purchase of furniture, hangers and mirrors, and salary of employees. That won’t be necessary if you’re planning to sell online. But there are some subtleties: you have to invest in contextual advertising, creation and promotion of a website or a social media channel.
Where to buy? A supplier can be considered good if it is able to provide its customers with high-quality products on time and at a low price. Important aspects are its loyalty to beginners and guarantees of on-time delivery. There are many criteria, hence doubts about the existence of such companies. In fact, they do exist, but they are not found immediately. Often, test purchases are made from several suppliers in order to choose the best one. It is important not to be afraid and to try, because a good supplier is not just a partner but a reliable friend.
How to be ahead of competitors? It’s a topical question, because competition in this area is very high. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject, but the whole point is to have a detailed analysis of competitors’ work. It is especially useful to study their weaknesses, because they can become your advantages with a good approach. Introduction of discounts, promotions, improvement in service, convenient catalogues, and automation also helps.
CREATION OF AN ONLINE STORE
You can make a trading site using any content management system. Bitrix, OpenCart, WordPress are commonly used. Each platform has its pros and cons, and choices are based on specific tasks. It is possible to use only a social media group at the beginning, but the content has to be transferred to a separate website.
In general, it is better to hire professionals to create and maintain an online store. Even if a businessman understands web development well, knows how to make good texts and take high-quality photos, he can simply have no time left for such activities.
SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL OFFLINE STORE
As a starting-point, a module at a well-known shopping mall located in crowded places works well. Its size depends on volume and composition of the offer: a small module up to 25 sqm is enough for underwear and sleepwear, a larger module is better for outerwear.
It is important to take into account psychological factors when thinking about layout and design, since profit from the store 20% depends on them. Marketing professionals recommend placing shelf stands with faster-moving items in the center; banners, cash registers, display panels and mannequins in the corners and near the entrance.
Interior of a commercial space should complement the range but not dominate over it. A dressing room should have good lighting, a small table, several mirrors and hooks.
Outdoor advertising, distribution of leaflets and holding of promotional actions are the most effective activities in promotion of a retail offline store. When you open a new store, flyers and mailings work well. Developed businesses can afford expensive advertisements in local media and on radio to increase outreach.
SEARCH FOR SUPPLIERS
Finding counterparty is a complex task. First, there are many of them. It takes a lot of time to sift through information and find a particular one. Second, there are some difficulties in checking a potential partner. Of course, there are reviews. But how trustworthy can they be, given the frequent occurrence of fake reviews? Third, even well-functioning cooperation may suddenly end because of changing conditions, staff problems or other factors. So let’s look at all the options and try to consider all pro and contra.
Buying wholesale at markets
At first glance, it is an ideal solution: come to the market, see clothing with your own eyes, touch to test quality of fabrics, negotiate prices and communicate with sellers. There are only two downsides herein, but they are critical:
A waste of time. You have to come in during the day, and you have traffic jams and other road problems. The situation is even worse if the market is in another city and you have small children.
Competition. Simplicity and convenience are popular, so all the same designs are displayed at all shops throughout your city, and there is no comparison with competitors.
Buying wholesale from clothing manufacturers
You can buy clothing in bulk from clothing manufacturers with maximum benefit and be confident in its quality. However, since clothing factories are not interested in small-scale wholesale, businessmen have to find a warehouse to store purchases and develop a sales scheme for virtually the same products. What’s more, not all manufacturers have a delivery option, so businessmen have to manage transportation of products themselves.
In essence, they are aggregators by which registered buyers and suppliers find each other. Some of them work free of charge, make money off advertising. Others are paid, often as commissions from transactions.
Clothing is very well represented on such platforms. This product group is most in demand on the Internet. Therefore, the range is large and there are many sellers. Hence the main drawback is the time spent on price comparisons and partner studies. You can’t see clothing with your own eyes using such platforms, but this is a common e-commerce problem.
The use is simple: enter a query in the search box and see the result. There are millions of them, but you don’t have to look at everything. Search algorithms are configured so that the first page contains links to the resources of reliable suppliers.
Clarify the query to narrow the search area. For example, in response to the phrase “buying clothing wholesale” Google will offer 24 million links. And if you add “from Turkey” in the request, the number immediately decreases to 22 million.
SELECTION OF SUPPLIERS
So, you’ve collected a personal database of potential contractors. To select a worthy counterpart, study the following thoroughly:
Duration, legal status and other information about the company;
Initial purchase amount and minimum order amount;
Duration, conditions and cost of delivery;
External feedback on cooperation;
Additional information (pages in messengers and social media, phones, location maps, etc.).
Feel free to call for more information; customer-centric companies readily answer all questions.
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