Has business ever been slow for you? Maybe you’re even at the point where you may not have enough money to pay the bills next month. Many entrepreneurs have been there, including me. The worst thing to do is stress out and panic. Instead, assess the situation and take quick calculated action on the things that can bring sales back into the company. Some of the tactics I’ll be sharing with you can lead to sales right away. Others are actually foundation-building strategies that require some time to take effect. But once they do, they’ll have the power to create steady ongoing sales that you’ll love! So, here it is, 25 things you can do when business is slow.
These are the people who have ever bought anything from you. Call them, email them, send them a hand-written note. Let them know you’re still around and that you’ve got awesome stuff for them to see. If you know what they like, you can even suggest a few items for them to check out.
When you have product that isn’t selling, the best thing to do is get rid of it and replace it with fresh new merchandise.
This is perfect if you have a brick and mortar store because it’s a great way to get people there. Offer a special discount or gift for people who attend. Don’t forget to take down everyone’s emails so that you can communicate with them in the future.
If you have a lot of product to move, then hold a sale to encourage customers to buy. Offer up a discount that is big enough to attract people but is also enough to yield you a healthy profit.
Online giveaways do 3 things. 1, it gets your brand name out there because of the buzz that it creates. 2, it allows you to collect people’s emails which is super valuable and useful for future marketing communication. 3, it gets your product out to people who want it.
Part of the problem may be the way your product is displayed. Experiment with a new window display, restyle your mannequins, re-do the layout of the store.
Company morale affects your bottom line. The more inspired, energized, and incentivize they are, the more productive they get. Come up with ways to incentivize them to sell more merchandise. Maybe it’s added commission, tickets to a concert, or a free outfit.
It’s a great way to get traffic to your website. Why do you think companies Burberry and Nasty Gal all have blogs? All you have to do is focus on creating content that’s relevant to your brand, what you’re selling, and is valuable to your audience.
Do this regularly so that you can continue to be on your customers’ radar. Tell them about new merchandise, sales, events, and cool new blog posts that can value to their lives. Remember, it’s your job to remind them that you’ve got what they want.
If you have brick and mortar store, then you’ve got a community of people to market to that are in your store’s vicinity. Create some promotional flyers and distribute them to the businesses and residences in your area. Include a special offer that will really drive them to walk through your doors.
Bloggers and youtubers are the digital age’s celebrities. Their viewers trust what they say and what they promote. So, why not partner with an influencer and have him/her promote your products. This act is called influencer marketing. Here’s a post I created that talks about how to work with influencers.
There’s a reason why big fashion brands pay PR firms thousands of dollars a month. Set a side time to dedicate to acquiring press, whether that means a feature in a local newspaper or in an online publication. The goal is to be relevant in the current media. The more you’re mentioned in press, the more people find out about your business. And the more people find out about your business, the higher your chances of getting new customers.
Do you know how much you make a month. Do you know what your top and worst sellers are? Do neutrals sell more than brights? What are the most popular sizes? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, how will you know the right product to sell or create for your customers? No wonder sales are a dismal because you may not be offering the right merchandise. Look at and analyze your sales data.
Do you know how many visitors your webstore gets in a month? How are people finding your site? What’s your sales conversion? What’s your bounce rate? If you’ve got a deer in the headlights look then it’s no wonder your online sales are suffering.
Crack open the part of your business plan that details your strategy for sales. Is the plan and forecast still realistic? You many want to update that based on how business is currently going. That way, your execution going forward is more reflective on the current status of the company. If you’re reading this going, “I don’t know what the heck she’s talking about”, then create a plan stat. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. A business plan is just a guide to help you make your company profitable and grow. Imagine going on a road trip without a map or directions. That’s how you’re going about your business without a plan.
This should map out all the different marketing activities and tactics that you’ll do to acquire sales and appeal to your customers. There are many forms of marketing – events, digital (social media, content, influencer), PR, advertising, radio, TV, and more. Figure out what’s best for your business and that depends on your brand message, merchandise, target market, sales goal, and budget. After you’ve got your plan, execute it!
Just like stores update their window displays, your website also needs a fresh look on a regular basis. Change up the homepage image, experiment with different layouts, liven up your copy. In fact, here’s a link to my e-book on The Definitive Guide To Building A Fashion Website That Converts.
If you really want to know why customers aren’t shopping your brand, why not just ask them? You can do this by sending out electronic surveys (surveymonkey is an easy free way to do this), phone interviews, and even while they’re at your store.
Comp shopping is a very common practice amongst buyers from huge department stores. This is when they go to their competitors’ stores and observe what’s being sold and how it’s being sold. You can do the same thing. This will give you so many new ideas on the kind of products to add to your assortment, new trends, merchandising techniques, and more. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get most out of your comp shopping experience.
Current pictures are so important for a fashion business. After all, fashion is all about image. Make sure that the pictures on your online site and store visual materials are beautiful, accurate, and current.
Marketing materials are things like flyers and images that you use for promotional purposes. Therefore, it’s important for all your materials to have a consistent look. That way, people will eventually start to recognize your brand’s image. In your style guide, establish your brand’s logo, fonts, colors, and layout for a blog
One of the most powerful ways to get continuous sales is through word of mouth. Incentivize your customers to tell others about your store. But, don’t forget to continually build new connections with people who can potentially help put your business on the map. Connect with editors, writers, influencers, and other fashion entrepreneurs who you can work with to help spread the word about your brand. In fact, here are some tips on the art of networking.
You may not know it, but you actually could have set yourself up for failure from the get go. One of the best things about owning your business is that you get to create it yourself. So why not structure it based on the lifestyle you want to live and the values you stand for. If you’re a night owl, then create a schedule that allows you to do your work at night. If you need work flexibility, then build that into your business structure. If you hate how wasteful fashion can be, then build sustainability into your business model. If your current company goes against your values + lifestyle, then it’s no wonder things aren’t working out. You’re basically working against yourself. What you need to do is create a business that will allow you to thrive and feel fulfilled. It’s not impossible. Many companies are already doing this. Look at Toms and their culture of giving. Look at Cuyana and their concept of less is more. And look at how Reformation has created a manufacturing process that continually aims to reduce fabric waste, as well as water and energy consumption.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t have the answer. What you need to do now is talk to a professional who can give you clear advice and potential solutions for your problems. That’s what my clients come to me for – to help them assess their business and to work with them on key actions to take. Yes, this does cost additional money. But think about how much more money it will cost you to have 1, 2, or even 6 more months of dismal sales. Here’s how you can work with me.
Business is always changing, trends are always coming, and challenges will never cease. That’s why it helps to be aware of what’s happening in the fashion market, the economy, and technology. Read books, follow industry leaders on social media, listen to podcasts, watch informative interviews. In fact, here’s a list of must-read business books for fashion entrepreneurs.
The funny thing is, you don’t have to wait until your business is slow to execute any of on these action points. In fact, if you treat these at proactive practices instead of reactive ones, your business will be better off. And the best part is, you don’t have to do it alone! Enrico and I built FAB Counsel so that fashion entrepreneurs like you, don’t have to take this long, hard, and worthwhile journey all by yourselves.
So as this post comes to a close, I hope we at FAB Counsel were able to provide you with some insights onto your fashion business journey. We look forward to becoming your partner, cheerleader, and mentor as you build a company that isn’t only profitable, but is also a fulfilling endeavor that inspires you day in and day out.
Sending you much love and continued success,
FAB Counsel Team