The success of a clothing business is dependent on numerous outside factors. Seasonal changes, location, current trends in clothing, pricing and consumer interest are all major factors in whether a clothing business will succeed. In order to help a clothing business grow, certain steps must be taken by a small business owner. It may take years to gain a firm foothold in your local marketplace, but with time and patience, it is possible to grow and expand a clothing business, even in a small market.
- Know your customers and what they want. Pay attention not only to current clothing trends in the fashion industry, but also what your customers wear on a daily basis. You may love the latest trends, but if they don’t mesh with what your customers want, you’ll be stuck with a lot of inventory you can’t move. Talk to your customers, observe what they wear and ask them questions about what they would like to see you carry.
- Add in other related items to your store. In order to increase the average sale, adding in accessories and related clothing items may be necessary. Stock a full line of accessories, belts, shoes, purses and jewelry, and encourage your customers to create outfits instead of just buying a single item. The more you have available for your customers to use, the more likely they are to leave your store with more than they intended to buy.
- Avoid falling into the sale price trap. If your clothing is priced high and you typically only mark items down a few times a year, your customers are going to notice this and only come in when they can save money. On the flip side, if your items are constantly going on and off sale, customers will wait until the last minute because they know if they do, they will get it cheaper. Aim for a consistent pricing strategy that matches what your local economy can afford, and offer regular but not overly frequent sales.
- Market your clothing online as well as in your retail store. If your clothing business doesn’t have a website, create one. Even local shoppers may appreciate the ability to shop in the comfort of their own homes. Utilize auction sites to sell excess inventory items and hold special online sales to draw attention to your store’s online presence.
- Open a store in a nearby town. If your business is doing well, the next step to further grow it is to open a new location in a different town, or you can move your current location to a more desirable area. If you’re making a profit and you can afford to expand, take action rather than wait.