A clothing store can be a great business,
and running a successful clothing store
can be a great opportunity.
But the challenge is that while it's
relatively easy to open your
own store, making it successful
is an altogether different challenge.
I can tell you that as a wholesaler
I have seen many clothing stores come
and go. As a matter of fact, one of the
ways that I purchase merchandise is
from clothing shops that have gone
out of business. On the other
hand I have customers who have
clothes stores who have been
buying wholesale fashion from me
So clearly there are factors that
can determine if a shop will
make it or not.
Unfortunately some of those factors
are out of our control, such as the
general state of the economy, or
a natural disaster that affects the
neighborhood where the business is located.
But as with everything in life, while
we can try to prepare for these types
of factors, what we need to be actively
focused on are the factors that we can control.
Those are factors such as our marketing, inventory
selection, and customer retention.
I would like to share with you
10 strategies for running a successful
Clothing Store Strategy #1
Happy employees. Your employees
are the front line of your business.
They are the first people customers
will interact with, and will form
an impression of your store
partially based on how well
they are treated by your employees.
You need to train your employees
and ensure that they are happy.
You should immediately address
any issues that your customers have
raised with you regarding an employee
with that employee. You should also
focus on ensuring that your workers
are satisfied so that they happily
help your shoppers. If necessary you
can produce materials
that your employees can read or
watch that can help them
serve customers the right way.
You should always remind your
employees that without customers
there is no business, so it's
important to be kind and patient
with every shopper.
Clothing Store Strategy #2
Keep your clothing store organized
and neat. Remember, you can have the
perfect Nine West office dress that a
shopper is looking for, but if they can't
find it, or it looks creased, they won't
buy it. I would recommend that throughout
the day, you, or your employees, organize
and straighten out your clothing inventory.
You might feel that all your work is in vain
when the next customer comes in and
disorganizes a neatly piled of shirts, but
that is okay. You just need to make that the
pile of shirts looks really nice so that the
next customer will be enticed into purchasing
Clothing Store Strategy #3
Develop a theme for your store. If you
are looking to attract corporate female workers
into your store, you might want to replicate the
look of a fancy office or bank in your store.
If you are selling designer beachwear then
you might want to make your store look
like a beach shop. You will want to use props,
furniture, music, and pictures, to convey
the theme that you are aiming for.
If you want to see great examples of
this strategy being implemented I would
recommend that you go to your nearest
shopping mall. Visit the corporate
owned clothing chains and you will
see how the stores expertly convey a feeling
that matches the merchandise that they are
selling. You might find to visit
vintage shops and search on eBay
for unique props that will help
you give your store the look that you
are aiming for.
Clothing Store Strategy #4
Use mannequins that have a similar
body type to your customers. I realize
that every person has their own body type
but the idea is to use mannequins that are
actually similar to your shoppers, and not
based on unrealistic dimensions that
put pressure on women to look a
certain way. I do realize that mannequins
can be expensive, so you should look
for used mannequins by calling retail fixture
distributors and attending going out of
Clothing Store Strategy #5
Frequently rotate your merchandise.
If you have 1,000 designer dresses in stock
you don't want to put them all out at once.
First of all, people want to see new dresses
so if they see the same dresses
every time they visit they will stop visiting.
They can also get overwhelmed if there
is too much clothing on display, especially
if your shop is relatively small.
You would be better off putting out a few hundred
dresses, keeping the rest in storage, and then
rotating the dresses periodically. It's also
important to change the location of your
merchandise periodically. You want to do
this because shoppers might not
be visiting one specific spot in your store.
There could be many reasons why they will
overlook one spot of your store, so the merchandise
that is there will sell a lot slower than if it was
in a better spot in your store. So periodically
you will want to move the merchandise around
so that every piece of clothing can be
placed in a better selling spot in your shop.
Clothing Store Strategy #6
Introduce new merchandise into your shop.
Shoppers like visiting shops that have new
merchandise on a frequent basis. Even if
a person plans on buying a specific item,
such as an R&M dress, they still will be more
excited about going to a dress boutique
that always has a new selection of brand name
dress wear. And I can understand why. Although
they are planning on purchasing a specific item
they want to go to a business where they can possibly
find another fashionable apparel piece that they might like to buy.
You can find new merchandise by reaching out to your
current suppliers, or by calling other brands and designers,
and asking them for any new clothes that you
can introduce into your store.
You don't need to purchase a very large quantity
of dresses, or any other type
of clothes for that matter, but just enough
so that people will see that you have
a new inventory of fashionable wears.
On the other hand, if you do see an offer
for wholesale clothes that you believe
your customers will love, then you should
take advantage of it.
Clothing Store Strategy #7
Look for closeouts that will allow you
to retail brand name fashions at below
wholesale prices. You can find closeout
merchandise by purchasing excess merchandise
from brands, samples from designers, overstock
from department stores, shelf pulls from national
retailers, and clearance sale merchandise
from retailers. Every clothing store needs
a way to distinguish itself from its competition,
and having brand name clothes at deeply
discounted prices is definitely an effective
way to do it. You are welcome to
visit my closeout warehouse in
Brooklyn and I will show you plenty
of designer apparel at below
Clothing Store Strategy #8
Have fun and entertaining events at your
store. You want people to be excited to come
to your business. Once they are at your
business and are having a great time they will
be inclined to take a look at what you
are selling. Barnes and Noble is an expert
at this strategy. They will invite a well known
author to talk about his book, and then passively
make sales of the author's books to the people
who came to listen to him or her speak.
I have also seen businesses organize free
carnivals to attract prospective shoppers to
their premises. If you know a singer with a
great voice you can offer a free concert
in your store.
Clothing Store Strategy #9
Move out slow selling merchandise quickly.
Look it happens to all of us. We will
from time to time accumulate merchandise
that just isn't selling. We can either try to
repeatedly sell it until customers just
ignore our marketing efforts, or we can get rid
of the merchandise, recoup some of our costs,
and then use those proceeds to buy new
merchandise that we have a better chance of
selling. You can liquidate your slow moving
wholesale merchandise by offering it to
wholesalers, by taking it to a garage sale,
by listing in on an auction site like eBay
or Liquidation.com, or by simply giving it
away as a bonus to your customers.
However you do it, the bottom line is that you
cannot have merchandise that is not popular taking
up space in your store. Your space is too
valuable for it be used as storage. All of the space
in a clothing shop should be devoted to selling.
Clothing Store Strategy #10
Personalize your interaction with your customers.
You want to know your customers. You want to
understand why they are buying what they do,
and what it is that they are having a challenging time
finding. The only way that you will know that your
customers are looking for Jones New York suits
is by asking them what they are looking for.
You can have a form which customers
can use to provide you with feedback.
This way they will feel more comfortable
giving you positive feedback.
The better you can serve your customers, the
better of a business relationship you will have with them,
which in turn will turn into increased and sustained sales
for your clothing store.