Future Proof Your Clothing Brand’s Success
In this post, we are going to cover tips, strategies, and pivoting ideas to keep growing your brand and making more sales even in uncertain times.
What does the fashion industry look like in the near future? Nobody knows…
What we do know is that the consumers have changed. During lockdowns and quarantine and the fact that we haven’t been able to travel and go about our “normal” lives has affected the way we shop and use our existing products.
So how has the pandemic changed us?
- There’s uncertainty. How long is this “thing” going to last? How long can you keep running your brand?
- We’ve got unemployment. Because many businesses have been shut, millions of people have lost their jobs. This of course affects their spending habits.
- Will there be a recession after this? What does this mean for your brand and business and what does this mean for your customers?
- Customers have new behaviors. During lockdown and quarantine, people are working from home, they spend all their time in the house. They haven’t been able to go to work, go shopping, travel. People have also spent more time online than before.
- New shopping habits. Since people have been stuck at home, online shopping has increased. That has been the only way to shop for things. People have new perspectives. Being at home, people have realized what matters and what doesn’t. They have seen what product they use. Customers have also seen the negative side of the pandemic with brands treating manufacturers badly, not paying for goods made, and leaving workers without a salary.
- People have new needs. Hanging around the house required comfy wear. Working out at home has meant that people have bought more activewear to do their workouts in the house or in nature.
With this new way of living, we’ve seen areas where you as a brand can tap in, or pivot towards, to keep connected to your customers and to keep selling your products and bringing in revenue to your business.
Now let’s dive in! We are going to present the tips/strategies in a somewhat bullet form so you can see what areas matter the most for your business and what are some “low-hanging fruit” that you can implement right away.
Sustainability will be imperative!
The crisis has had consumers be very aware of the impact fashion has on the planet and the workers. Especially the younger generations are looking for brands that share the same strong conscious values. The future is around natural, durable, and biodegradable materials and circular products.
Your mission is your north star
Emphasize your company’s mission. People look for purpose, community, and belonging.
Be authentic! Stay true to who you are and make that message even more clear so everybody can hear and jump onboard.
Leverage other brands’ customer groups. The perfect way to attract more customers, sell more products, and tap into new markets. Also, collaborate with your partners – manufacturers, suppliers, logistics partners, etc.
Don’t just go for discounts.
Create ways of selling your products in different seasons to get rid of inventory. Remake those products – think upcycling. What can you do to them and how can you repurpose them to create something “new”?
Create interesting bundles
Use the power of matching outfits to sell more products.
Emphasize the value and quality
Be overly explicit about the value and quality of your products.
Bring forward the Unique Selling Points for that product.
Talk about the manufacturing process, the choice of materials, the features, the colors, the thought behind the product and the concept. Make it obvious how much thought & work you have put into it and what a great qualitative product they will get.
Go full-on digital
Optimize everything digital!
That’s where people are and that’s how people can shop for your products. Online shopping is going to increase even more in the near future and you want to be part of the action. Increase your online presence and online marketing (organic and paid). In physical stores, there’s a new time and opportunity for digitalization. The consumer can read about products, get informed, and check reviews online and this needs to be “met” and used cleverly in the stores to grow the customer relationship and to sell more products.
Lives are not big only for marketing and connecting purposes, you can use Live streaming to SELL your products. Think QVC – but now for your brand, in your “house”, with full control.
Check out platforms like:
Officewear and workwear is going to look different
The pandemic and the time spent at home have the customers rethink what workwear and office wear looks like.
Reimagine what the new office wear is going to be, taking into consideration that comfort has become “the norm”. Reimagine and adjust your offering based on the new world situation and customer behaviors.
It’s a keeper
Customers have already changed the way they use and appreciate products already existing in their wardrobe.
There’s an inclination towards:
- Cleaner aesthetics – not so much logomania
- Classic shapes – trendy cuts can be harder to push as a brand
- Timeless pieces – a smooth integration in their already existing wardrobe.
- Tonal and “safe” colors – Customers choose tonal and safer colors rather than follow trends
- Value for money – customers are looking for quality products at affordable prices
Narrow your focus
Narrow down your SKUs – tighter color offering and smaller size spread. Offer fewer, better, selling products so you don’t have to create sales to get rid of inventory. Can you introduce unisex products? Optimize your core product offering in price and material usage for a good profit and smooth product development.
Tap into the power of your core products – expand those areas. Less inventory!
Diversify your sales channels
Additional sales channels are a great way of growing your customer base. If you’re only DTC it might be good to try additional sales channels. Wholesale for example where you now can do virtual sales presentations on Zoom.
You can also try marketplaces like Amazon with a few products.
Think big and act small
Due to the current world situation customers want to support and shop SMALL & LOCAL. Being small is a good thing and an advantage. Use it in your marketing! How can you collaborate with artisans or local craftsmen to make it even more powerful and use that in your marketing?
Customers want to feel special in the oceans of brands. Brands need to find ways to make the customer feel unique, seen, heard, and taken extra great care of. One idea is for customers to co-create products with brands, for example personalized colors, prints, name tags, styles.
Put the money where it matters and makes a difference. Make sure to use your materials like leftover to not have tied capital just sitting there. The areas that matter the most right now are:
- Customer Experience – in all business areas
- Visibility – Traffic
- Sales – Conversion
- Customer Service – Happy Customers
This is where you should have your focus.
Optimize your supply chain
Consolidate: Manufacturers and Suppliers – use your materials wisely.
Here’s where you can consolidate:
Products – Narrow down your product range to the products that are selling the best.
Volumes – use fewer materials in more products
Also, look at your production. Should you do domestic or local production on parts of your collection to have more control and not put all your eggs in one basket?
Compete with the dragons
Brands need to be able to compete with big guys like Amazon when it comes to quick deliveries, a seamless experience, and perhaps free deliveries and returns. You need to price your products to afford services like these and find ways to do this without it jeopardizing your profit.
Become your own media house
To get your message out straight to your customers you need to have direct communication and control of your voice and brand messaging. Create content that gets customers to understand what the brand is about and does. Brands of the future are more than just clothes! They are a movement. They stand for something.
Do your own thing!
This is a great opportunity for you to think differently, to be creative, and use this situation to create something truly unique. There are no longer any “norms”! Be flexible and see the opportunities. What do you want to do? What do you want the industry to look like next?
We covered a lot of tips and points, and of course, you can’t implement all of them at the same time so pick the ones that make the most sense to your brand right now.
And lastly some KEY TAKEAWAYS
- Dare to PIVOT and test new things!
- Digital and everything online is where it’s at! Optimize your business for it.
- Build REAL relationships with your customers
- Create an amazing experience for your customers
- Yes, the world has changed, and yes it’s never gonna go back to “normal” but you can see this as your opportunity to grow and to make your own mark on this industry.
- This is what strong brands do right – they adapt, evolve, and push the boundaries.