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

for years.

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 business.

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

a shirt.

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

business sales.

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 

wholesale prices.

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.