The fashion industry has tremendously evolved over the years, creating an ever-increasing demand for clothing stores. This means that there’s a tough competition out there for a new store to establish itself in the retail market, which raises the question of how to open a successful clothing store. If you’re thinking of opening a clothing store, there are several factors that you need to consider before you set up shop.
The following are some proven tips that will help you make your way in the tough fashion industry.
Define your target market
Who will you be selling to? Is it men, women, or both? Will you sell clothes for special occasions, or will you specialize in sportswear, special-occasion attire, casual apparel, or beachwear? Will you also be selling belts, purses, wallets, and other accessories? These are questions that you have to have clear-cut answers to before you start a clothes shop. Only after you define your target market will you know the exact niche of the store you wish to open.
Create a solid mission statement
Whether you decide to specialize in high-end fashion or casual clothing, you should never lose sight of what sets you apart from your competitors and creating a solid mission statement that you can continue to look back on as your business grows can help you stay on the right track. And even though earning a profit is one of the strongest motivators behind any new business, your mission needs to reflect something personal, something that speaks to your true essence. In addition to enabling you to provide your own unique customer experience, it will also serve as a reliable reference and a constant reminder that will help you keep your initial entrepreneurial mindset and maintain your original vision as you make your way in the competitive clothing retail field.
Find the right location
The right location for your store is one that attracts traffic. Before you choose a location, spend some time in the area and observe the foot traffic and the working hours of neighboring businesses. This way, you’ll get a good feel for how the people in that area react to their surroundings; real estate advisors at CXRE Commercial Property claim that you should understand how your store’s location is key to opening a successful business. The usual shopping streets or malls in your region would probably be perfect, but if you’re unable to land a spot there, you can choose another location that sees a lot of traffic throughout the day.
A place where people like to hang out is ideal for clothing stores because, as we said, the more traffic, the better. And although renting a place that’s close to an anchor business can be more expensive, the extra revenue will likely outweigh the rental costs in the long run. The maintenance of the commercial building in which your store is located is another important factor to consider. Closely inspect the building’s external appearance and pay attention to the upkeep of the surrounding sidewalks, parking spaces, surveillance systems, and utilities because all these factors work together to reflect a brand image that will either attract or deter your customers.
Establish your marketing strategy
You can’t just assume that you’ll pick the right location, and customers will automatically start coming in. This is where your marketing strategy comes into play. A strong marketing strategy equals strong brand awareness and establishing a strategy that meets your business needs and generates buzz around your store is all about getting creative in deciding how to attract your target customers. To create a strong and effective marketing campaign you can use digital signage, establish a website, leverage social media, distribute promotional flyers, or use a combination of all that. In addition to convincing potential customers that you have more to offer than your competitors, your marketing strategy should also reflect a strong and unique brand identity so, whichever medium you choose, make sure that your advertising campaign is distinctive and consistent with your store’s image. A successful marketing strategy is one that’s simple, straightforward, eye-catching, and informative. If you want to establish a strong campaign, make sure it covers these fundamental characteristics.
Prepare a financial plan
Last but certainly not least, before you open a clothing store, you need to prepare a business plan that includes a detailed forecast of your financial situation. The financial report should explain how much money you need to fund your new business and how you plan to offset the initial costs and expenses and start generating profit. It might take several months before your customers put their confidence in your business, which means that after making the initial investment, you’re unlikely to earn a good amount of money right away. And since you’ll need money for your business expenses during the period after you open your store and until the time you start generating revenue, you must keep track of your finances to maintain good cash flow. If you’re unsure of how much money you need to open your new clothing store, you should start by determining how much it takes to support yourself for at least 6 months and then add that to your start-up expenses and regular operating costs. This way, you can guarantee that you’ll stay financially covered until you start acquiring a steady flow of customers. Once that happens, as a basic rule to measure whether or not your business is off to a good start, you should make sure that your rent stays between 5-6% of your total annual sales.
Opening a new clothing store is a serious business; there are tons of things to keep track of, which can be stressful and overwhelming. However, with these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to tackle your new venture and ensure that your clothing store is off to a good start. Take the time to plan and go through all the proper steps, and you’ll be well-prepared to combine your business skills with your interest in fashion and remember that your dedication, perseverance, and hard work will go a long way.