All businesses will reach a saturation point with their existing customer base, so in order to keep making sales and profits, it is necessary to take steps to increase the number of people buying your products. Just how do you grow a customer base in a fashion market?
Generating new business
Generating new business is one of the most common problems experienced by businesses. The trick is to reach out and interest a new target audience, perhaps with different types of products, while still keeping hold of the existing customer base.
The most vital element in expanding your customer base is to truly understand the nature of your existing and potential customers. You have to learn and appreciate what it is your customers want your products to deliver.
The emphasis here is on a personalized service. This does not necessarily mean offering a service whereby you embroider individuals’ names onto clothing, but rather evolving the way your company operates and the goods it sells to fit in with your customers’ lifestyles.
In terms of clothing, this means understanding what benefits your customers need your clothing to provide. For example, if you were to take a look at http://www.tommiecopper.com/, you will see a range of clothing that has been designed to facilitate wellbeing, and which many people can say they saw on an infomercial, which has thereby acted as an educational tool, explaining the benefits of the clothing. This clothing range is therefore targeting customers who are interested in remaining active but want to relieve any pains they may feel while doing so.
However, it is just as important to retain your existing customers as it is to gain new ones. Ignore one group and you will likely lose them. You need to work hard at customer service.
This means offering plenty of ways for your customers to contact you, responding quickly to queries and complaints, and being generous when you are at fault; for example, giving money back or sending a free gift. Such gestures will help to ensure loyalty if your customers feel they are being treated well.
Your customers will act as advertising billboards when they wear your clothing in public. Other people will notice what they are wearing and may ask them where they acquired their skirts, pants, or shirts, etc., but your business associates will also be instrumental in spreading word of mouth about your fashion business, so networking is important.
Make offers to your network contacts and partner up with them if they have a business that bears a relation to yours. Every contact that you make provides an avenue to new customers.
Engagement with your customers is vital, and to do this, you should make use of social media. Social media is the primary way that many businesses communicate with their customers, sharing information, promoting goods, and simply engaging in conversation.
It can be very difficult to maintain a social media presence across every available network, so you will need to work out which platform works best for you, whether that be in terms of maintenance or it being the platform where your target market mostly hangs out.
Business growth usually needs capital, which may mean that you should consider whether a financial partner is a good move for you to make. You may need to move to larger premises, for example, but lack the means to do so, or you may want to use new, more expensive fabrics in your designs, which you cannot afford at present.
An investor will be able to provide the finance to make these changes, and may even be able to act as a mentor, educating you in terms of resources and tools that can help to grow your business much faster.
You may also have to take a few chances when attempting to grow your business. For example, you may want to try a completely new range of clothing that may be too outlandish for your existing customers, but which may intrigue a new market.
Venture into this carefully, producing small collections, and then test how they do. If they do not bring in new custom, then you can easily drop the idea and move on to something else.
To grow your fashion business, always keep your customers’ needs at the forefront of your mind, but do not be afraid to challenge them with new ideas and designs to keep your brand fresh and inviting.