How-To: Boosting Sales in a Clothing Store

How-To: Boosting Sales in a Clothing Store

Running an apparel store seems like quite a promising business. People need to buy clothes, and they do it all the time, no matter what season it is. Yes, online shopping keeps gaining popularity and making competition tougher. Yet many people still prefer the old-school way. They like to try on clothes to see how they fit and look. But to they need your store? Probably not. So it is your job to create demand and make people feel this is the best place to get good quality items at reasonable prices. Our team at smcfashion.com has some tips for you that can help increase sales.

  1. Critically review the store design and ergonomics. Use labels and signs to aid with navigating through the store. Everything should be easy-to-find, so organize those sections well. For example, do not put men’s shirts right next to items for kids.
  2. “Employ” some mannequins. Dress them in the clothes you want your customers to focus on. If, say, you want to push outerwear from the new collection, a properly placed well-dressed mannequin will draw people’s attention.
  3. Organize a sale. They not only attract people but also encourage them to buy. You can go beyond the common 10 percent off and offer a deal that’s even more tempting.
  4. Provide high quality customer service. Design and implement customer-centered policies that create a friendly environment and make people want to return to your store.
  5. Let people know about your shop. Launch a marketing campaign. Use various advertising means such as fliers, banners and business cards. Improve your online presence, go social.
  6. Make sure the prices are affordable. Study your competitors then assess and adjust your prices. Consider alternative suppliers and explore ways to optimize supply chains.

We hope these tips are useful. Best of luck with your business!

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

Ami’s ‘Menswear for Women’


(Photo taken from https://www.vitkac.com/ch/men/designer/ami-alexandre-mattiussi)

Ami will be launching a line for women inspired by menswear at its Autumn/Winter 2018 show. The line will include some 70-80 pieces.

“I created Ami with this idea of designing clothes for my friends, who are both male and female, so I’ve really always pictured my pieces on both,” says Alexandre Mattiussi, founder of Ami. He previously worked at Dior Homme, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy focusing on menswear design. In 2011 he architected Ami. This new line – “a natural evolution of the Ami story” – is his way of including women in his creative work.

Since the brand’s debut collection in 2014, female models in smaller-sized menswear joined male ones. Amy managed to attract quite a number of loyal female followers. Its famous clientele includes model Caroline de Maigret, singer Héloïse Letissier and actress Charlotte le Bon.

Ami recently launched its first capsule collection for women – inspired by menswear styles – via 24 Sèvres e-commerce platform. Although the brand remains focused on menswear, some steps are made towards a firmer womenswear presence. “Ami is a brand for men, not unisex or for women,” says Nicolas Santi-Weil, Ami’s chief executive, “But from very early on, we started to see women coming to the store and starting to buy the brand.”

Ami’s turnover keeps increasing. Last year, women accounted for 35-40% of all sales (nearly 50% in Korea). Currently, Ami has 6 boutiques in Paris, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong plus over 300 points of sale across the globe. The “menswear for women” line, however, will be available exclusively in its Rue de Grenelle boutique. This is a deliberate distribution strategy that will help understand how clients respond to the product. “It’s just the beginning,” says Mattiussi.

 

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

#MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain: How Trump Affects The Fashion Industry

On June 2, Donald Trump declared his intention to drop out of the Paris climate agreement aimed at reduction of carbon emissions. This decision was shock for those who fight for the environment as the United States is the global 1st pollutant of the atmosphere with CO2. And if this is left uncontrolled, sea levels and temperature will rise and result in irreversible effects.

US leading businessmen in every industry, from Robert Iger to Elon Musk, have impressed their negative position to the Trump's decision.

Is this decision important for the fashion industry? Of course, it is. Fashion's CO2 emissions are one of the biggest; according to recent reports, they will have increased to 2.8 billion tons per year by 2030. And, apparently, with no government support of the fight against climate change, there will be less drive for companies to continue switching to non-polluting technologies and no punishment for those which fail to achieve the sustainability in their production.

Nevertheless, there are still towards many factors that make American brands to establish sustainable production. For example, big corporations have no other way than complying with other countries' standards. Moreover, governments at state and municipal levels claim to promote climate legislation. One more fact is that modern shoppers tend to support fashion brands that takes care about environment.
Many companies see Trump's decision as a call to go further with their climate strategies and stay committed to sustainable future.
Gap's representative said the company would work on reducing in their greenhouses gas emissions and cooperation with suppliers to adopt more sustainable production process.

Nike is going to proceed with the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge and the American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge in order to achieve 100% renewable energy in all its facilities by 2025. The company is sure that the climate issue is the global problem that shouldn't be neglected, and if the world wants to prosper, it has to take challenges to build a low-carbon economy.

Despite the fact that without government support it would be harder to the industry to succeed in its will to make a contribution to reduce the climate changes, it's time for industries and companies to act together and help the planet.

With Trump or without him, the global community will continue to promote the sustainable development. And if a company wants to succeed in 10 years, it has to put its efforts to the environment protection now.

Wal-Mart's Online Sales Boost

Wal-Mart's Online Sales Boost

The competition between Wal-Mart and Amazon has come to its peak, with the fastest rate of Wal-Mart's e-sales growth over the last five years.

According to Wal-Mart, the rise in their online sales counted for 69% in the first quarter. Total income increased for 1.4% to 117.5 billion USD.

This is the effect of the recent online expansion strategy of Wal-Mart, with the acquisition of Jet.com Inc. last year.

Suddenly, Wal-Mart became the first Amazon's competitor.

The shares gained as much as 1.2 percent to $76 in early trading after the results were released. The shares raised 1.2% to $76 in early trading.

Growth at traditional Wal-Mart stores was more moderate, but still exceeded the forecasts. Single-store sales increased 1.4% against 1.3% prognosis. This was the 11th in a row period of the company's US sales.

Share earnings made up $1 a share, while analysts forecasted only 96 cents.

Wal-Mart's CEO Doug McMillon is inspired with the figures and expexcts even better results in the second quarter.

Talking about the online presence, McMillon explains Jet's acquisition as a booster of the online growth. After the purchase of the company he assigned co-founder Marc Lore responsible for US e-commerce. Then Wal-Mart bought out Moosejaw and ModCloth retailers.

Now, there are negotiations regarding buying a clothing startup Bonobos for nearly $300 million.

The bargains, of course, have provoked Wal-Mart's online business, but the most part of the growth is associated with the retailer's own web-site.

However, this growth was rather expensive for Wal-Mart, the company's expenses for promotion of its e-commerce rose faster than sales, but the CEO has promised to change this situation during the year.

At the same time, Wal-Mart doesn’t forget about its brick-and-mortar stores – the retailer always strive for improving customer experience by fast service, wide range of products and great deals.

The retailer has replaced the old handheld bar-code readers, launched trainings for its employees and released store managers from unnecessary stuff in order to give them more time to spend it on the sales floor.

Despite this online bustle, the retailer knows that in-store experience still means a lot for the customer.  

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

Shopping As a Lifestyle

What could you invent for your clients to combine shopping with entertainment and make them to come back to the store again and again? Let's consider some interesting options of the shopping experience of international stores.

Sport ground

Parisian store Plein Sport presents sporty chic from Philippe Plain: gymnastic rings with genuine leather belts, barbells with plates made of precious marble, punch bags, boxing gloves made of snake skin and basketball baskets with grids from gilded chains. Of course, it's not possible to train here, but for all adepts of the active lifestyle there is an interactive pullup bar here. The screens that broadcast sports videos and motivational statements like "Train as a fighter" or "The home of power" energize you. And you can try on the sneakers you liked on the basketball court in the middle of the boutique. By the way, the idea of ​​the pullup bar has already been implemented with less pathos and greater convenience at several Adidas stores – just come and chin up.

Shopping As a Lifestyle

Educational center

Fast Retailing Group, which manages the Uniqlo brand, has been teaching children to count money at its stores for several years. The project is aimed at the improvement of life skills of orphans and children from poor families, who have no opportunity to go shopping. At Uniqlo they get a certificate for a certain amount (usually about $40-100) and learn how to choose clothes and manage the budget. From 20 to 80 children participate in each action. The ability to do shopping independently helps them to gain confidence and learn to interact with other people. In each country the program adapts to meet specific local needs. To encourage more stores and employees to participate in the program, Uniqlo has developed a special training manual for the sellers. Money for the certificates is partially collected from donations of ordinary customers.

Shopping As a Lifestyle 2


Store-restaurant

Healthy lifestyle is good, but a small piece of pizza will not hurt either. In 2015, Urban Outfitters bought Vetri pizzeria, which was a part of the plan of launching the stores that turn shopping into a pleasant event. Food & fashion is among the most popular concepts of the shopping experience.

One more example is a culinary school that was opened at New York beachwear store Tommy Bahama. Here you can learn, say, tuna dressing. This is just the most personalized experience buyers and retailers strive for. Tommy Bahama network has more than 110 outlets of which only 13 work in "restaurant-shop" concept and they bring 2.5 times more revenue per square foot than all other stores. The main drawback is the strong dependence on location; it is a bit difficult to make such place popular in a shopping center where you will have to compete with the local food court. Still, the future of the concept depends on managers who are good both in fashion purchases goods and entertainment event management.

Lifestyle center

American Wingtip Lifestyle Center is focused on business class customers whose main value is time saving. Therefore, it combined personal offices, open work space for 24 tables, jazz and classical music center, cigar room, wine cellar, wine storage cases for 6, 12, 24 bottles (for rent), hunting accessories store, men's beauty salon, and even golf simulator. The buyer gets everything for the soul and body and solves work issues at the same time. This is not even a store, but a concierge service. For all members of the club, Wingtip offers 10% discount for fashion goods. Registration costs $3,000 and membership $200 monthly.

Shopping As a Lifestyle 3


Fitness-club

The most impressive example of sport shopping experience is offered by Nike at its London store: treadmills where you can try the Fuelband tracker and Nike shoes, LED screens that are sensitive to moves and encourage customers to demonstrate their activity. With the NikeFuel system, the visitor sees on the screen his/her color silhouette: red color means sluggishness, green one means energy potential. Moreover, the new technologies display the client's movements on the walls. Visitors can share these images in social networks. Smart mirrors not only reflect the reality, but also complement it - when the client comes closer, they show videos about trainings of famous athletes, Nike's ambassadors. The store was opened at the temporary shopping center Boxpark and hasn't become a working model yet. At the same time, Nike Running Store format got mass distribution – it gives an opportunity to analyze your motor activity without interactive technology, but with a good specialist. One more innovation, NIKEiD studio where a client can create own design of sneakers, is presented at some outlets.

Shopping As a Lifestyle 4

Reebok FitHub has chosen the similar way. It supports local fitness communities by offering free tests, master classes with dietitians and sports psychologists, classes with qualified trainers, as well as fitness challenges. A flagship Adidas store develops a similar Flagship Stadium Concept - here you can do workout, eat healthy food, and get advice on personal schedule of workouts and workload. Of course, in this case the retailer needs salesmen with knowledge in mobile commerce and healthy lifestyle. And the expensive technological "stuffing" requires additional service specialists. But if you want to bring more customers to the store, then you have to be ready to do everything to achieve this goal, and how you will do it – by a heart-to-heart talk, punching bag, carrot juice or taking care of children - is up to you.

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

Chinese E-commerce Social App Transforming Retail World

Chinese E-commerce Social App Transforming Retail World

Colin Huang is a one of a rare group of China's entrepreneurs who started their careers in Silicon Valley and then came back to home to launch successful tech enterprises. Huang, who was engaged in search algorithms in e-commerce in Google, started his fourth and most promising company.

Pinduoduo (PDD) is a type of Facebook-Groupon blend that according to its creator can transform the e-commerce world. PDD has already raised over $100 million and passed $1.5 billion value line just two years after its creation.

PDD's idea is quite simple: usually, buyers know what they want to buy beforehand. A person goes to Amazon or Walmart, enters a keyword and choices the thing after scrolling several offers and reviews. Huang decided to give shoppers an opportunity to make purchases with friends not even leaving home. You can share ideas with friends, get their feedback, and make purchases together while getting discount for this.

Huang works on PDD wisely – he integrated it into a popular Chinese messenger called WeChat that is used in China for everything – from chatting with friends to make different electronic payments. Using his previous experience with game apps, Huang made PDD a fun app that is interesting to use.

And he seems to succeed in this. Demand for PDD has burst. Today PDD is the biggest private e-commerce company in China, sales volume of which is close to Vipshop Holdings Ltd., the third largest e-commerce after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc.

The idea of PDD came to Huang when he was scrolling though the websites of China’s two successful e-companies – Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., the popular games company and WeChat owner. These companies are both successful and popular, but neither of them thought of cooperation.

But Huang Did. Having experience in e-commerce and games, he was sure in a great perspective of bringing these two worlds together. He raised $8 million from investors in May 2015 and launched the company.

The most users use PDD app within WeChat. You just open WeChat and click on PDD icon in it. PDD's home screen has tabs for different categories of goods, such as clothes, food, etc. You can select a category and see a list of goods you can scroll through.

Chinese E-commerce Social App Transforming Retail World 2

When you use the app you feel like playing a game – all bargains are bright and accompanied with images. You see the discounted prices under the images. If you buy, say a dress, alone, you pay $25.3 and if you buy 2 these dresses with a friend, you can save up a significant percent of the price. And since you are already on WeChat, you can invite your friends to join you right away.

PDD raised around $100 mln in 2016, the total amount of goods sold increased 40 times for this year.

PDD's founder sees it as a chance to make the retail experience richer and more interesting for both buyers and sellers. Customers learn what products they friends choose, they can create groups by interests. And producers can make their supply more customized by learning customers' behavior. 

Despite PDD's success Huang is not planning to stop on it – he always wants to try new things. Huang says he has two idols: Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Singapore, and Benjamin Franklin. He is delighted with Lee for his intrinsic work in transforming a poor state into a modern highly-developed country. As for Franklin, he is amazed with the number of different things he made in his life – from business to science and politics. That is which Huang think to be a "genuine life".

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

Why Chinese Customers Are the Most Income Producing Clients

Why Chinese Customers Are the Most Income Producing Clients

If you ask almost any fashion or luxury shops in New York, Paris or Rome who their top customers are, the answer likely won't be Americans, Frenchmen or Italians. You may be surprised, but the most part of purchases are made by Chinese tourists.

Chinese buyers are one of the most significant sources of income of many of international fashion and luxury brands. Nowadays, they make up almost 1/3 of all global spending on luxury and fashion products, and during the past years they've made most of these purchases outside of China.

One of the reasons they want to get a pair of brand shoes or a Versace dress on vacation is that they are much more expensive at their home.  Shopping in America and Europe is so cheap that many Chinese call them as "the world’s largest in-season outlets".

A recent research made by Exane BNP Paribas showed that prices for luxury goods in China 21% more than the global average prices. In US they are 14% less than in China.

This inequality in the prices is caused mostly by Chinese taxes and duties, currency exchange rates and distribution expenses of the brands in China.

Today, many stores in Europe count on Chinese and foreign consumers. As it was noted by several research companies, foreign purchases make up to 70% of luxury sales in Italy and France, and more than 50% in the UK and Switzerland.

This can also be attributed with the growth of daigou business. This Chinese term means making purchases abroad, especially in Europe and the US, on behalf of customers in China.

However, last year the increase in buying of luxuries grew more in China than abroad. The Chinese authorities has been cracking down on daigou and working on promotion of local spending. Moreover, terror attacks have also had a negative impact on tourism.

All these measure may foster local purchases in long-term perspective, but in the meantime, the best deals still require a plane ticket.

Travel Retail: A Fast Route to Sales

Travel Retail: A Fast Route to Sales

The everlasting competition between airports and train stations is an additional reminder of the growth of the travel retail market. And today we decided to remind you of one more attractive sales channel.

Travel retail used to be understood very simple: airports have always been an area for luxury retailers and train stations – for coffee shops and small souvenir stores.

But, with the continuous growth of passengers and popularization of travelling, travel retail is becoming a lucrative market. Multimillion-investments at international travel hubs worldwide present new opportunities for brands and retailers.

People have also changed their perception of airports and train stations. Now they use them not only to grab a cup of coffee or buy a perfume. A British retailer Network Rail has noticed that over the past few years, passengers are not the only one who spends money for shopping at stations and airports, those who live nearby also tend to spend money making purchases there.

Travel retail has become an essential part of sales strategies of many fashion brands: today you can find almost every fashion brand store at any airport. Global marketing managers of well-known brands aim to open more and more stores in every city with high travelers' traffic.

Travel retail is a growing business, which is very important and yet underestimated by many sellers. Airport stores are open twice the number of hours a normal store, that makes them a more productive space for potential profit. Moreover, you can also predict what kind of people will be coming through at any particular time.

Exploring new markets overseas allows fashion retailers to interact with international customers more deeply, to study their needs and expand the brand awareness.

Nowadays travelling becomes more and more popular: last year, there were registered 7 billion air journeys and this number is predicted to reach 9 billion in the next years. The unstable situation in the world and persistent terrorist attacks made the biggest world cities suffer, but Charles de Gaulle, JFK, Heathrow, etc. remain highly-used international hubs.

At the same time, attractiveness of the travel market has the specific drawbacks. A lot of fashion retailers still cannot find their place in the travel market: logistical difficulties, limited space and a huge number of checks for the staff make the travel fashion retail a complicated business.

High street and fast fashion retailers seek to a lower rent and bigger floor spaces, while airports can't offer them. It's quite a hard work to operate own airport store with its 365-day-a-year operation, longer work hours and a separate logistics team. So, you should weigh all pluses and minuses before making the decision of expanding your chain.

Millions of consumers and significant investments in adjusting the spaces make railway stations and airports a tempting prospect for fashion retailers. However, retailers need to consider how they can condense their products to work within the limited space. So, you should weigh all pluses and minuses before making the decision of expanding your chain.

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

H&M's Sustainable Strategy

Swedish brand H&M will have switched to 100% use of the recycled and organic materials in production of all its products by 2030. This is stated in the report of the company on work on sustainable development 2016.

H&M has plans to switch to a completely closed production cycle. The company is the largest consumer of organic cotton, recycled polyester and tencel and lyocell.

H&M's Sustainable Strategy 4

Today, H&M's share of processed materials is 26% of the total production, the share of organic cotton in total cotton consumption is 43%. The volume of recycled polyester used by H&M in 2016 is equal to 180 million plastic bottles. In 2016, the company collected 16 thousand tons of old clothes for recycling, in total H&M stores have collected 39 thousand tons of textiles since the beginning of the Garment Collecting initiative in 2013. H&M has set the goal to collect 25 thousand tons of textiles annually by 2020. The Swedish manufacturer closely cooperates with various scientific organizations. Together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Stockholm Resilience Center, a research project on studying the closed production cycle and use of textiles has been launched at the Stockholm University, which will have reduced the use of scarce natural resources. As part of the program for development of innovations in the closed production cycle, H&M produces H&M Conscious Exclusive fashion collection that is created from organic and recycled materials. The soft polyester Bionic is made wholly of the plastic recycled from the shoreline waste. This year, men and children clothes, as well as organic perfumed oils, were presented in the collection for the first time.

H&M's Sustainable Strategy 3

Natalia Vodianova became the face of the collection. "We want to use our scale and resources to continue to implement the principles of sustainable development in the fashion industry; it will make our company even more honest and fair. We developed a new strategy for moving our work in sustainable development to a new level - Anna Gedda, an expert in sustainable development at H&M, says - We want to set an example, to pave the way and try new strategies, both in ecological and social aspects, in order to make eventually the fashion conscious and conscious consumption fashionable. Our strategy on the fashion industry's positive impact on climate is one of the projects within the new strategy."

H&M's Sustainable Strategy 2

It is planned that in 2040 the entire company's production chain will make a positive impact on the climate: carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced (in 2016, H&M reduced them to 47% in comparison with 2015), the use of energy resources will be optimized, the company will use 100%-renewable energy in all its operations (in 2016, the share of renewable energy made 96% compared to 78% in 2015).

H&M's Sustainable Strategy 1

In addition, the H&M Foundation annually conducts the innovative Global Change Award which defines the best ideas for improving the clothing production process. As we mentioned in our previous posts, the finalists of this year's ceremony became such original developments as a digital thread that facilitates the processing of clothes, nylon made of carbon fiber, vegetable leather made of the waste products of wine production, old denim fabric that can be used for painting new denim products, and a unique project for production of biodegradable fabric from bovine manure.

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion

Global Change Award: What if We Could Reinvent Fashion

Global Change Award: What if We Could Reinvent Fashion 1

H&M Foundation has named the winners of the annual innovation Global Change Award which determines best ideas for improving the process of clothing production. The most promising innovations were chosen by an international expert group whose members have extensive knowledge in the field of innovations, entrepreneurship, sustainable development and fashion.

Among the finalist of the competition were such original innovative products as digital thread that facilitates processing of clothing, carbon fiber nylon, plant-derived leather made from the waste of wine production, old denim fabric that can be used to color new denim products, and a unique project of production of biodegradable fabric from the bovine manure.

The amount of the award for the winners will be chosen by voting that will be held from March 27 to April 2 on the globalchangeaward.com. The participant who will take the first place in the rating will receive 300 thousand Euros, the second - 250 thousand Euros and the remaining finalists - 150 thousand Euros.

The total amount of the award is 1 million Euros. The results of the voting will be announced on April 5 at the Grand Award Ceremony in the City Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to the money award, all five winners of the Global Change Award will get support of the H&M Foundation in collaboration with Accenture and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

"The second time, the Global Change Award gathered 2,883 innovative ideas from 130 countries, that is even more than the last year," Karl-Johan Persson, the board member of the H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M, says. – "Global issues require an appropriate approach. I am convinced that by integration of people from different industries with different experiences and views we will be able to make the significant progress in moving to the closed production cycle in the fashion industry," Persson says.

The winners of the Global Change Award 2016:

Global Change Award: What if We Could Reinvent Fashion 2

Biodegradable fabric – Production of fabric from the bovine manure

Biodegradable fabric is produced through extracting and using the valuable cellulose that is contained in the bovine manure. An additional advantage is a significant reduction in emissions of methane and substances that pollute soil, water and air.

Denim painted with denim – Coloring of a new denim fabric with used denim

Old denim clothes are processed into small particles and transformed into a coloring powder that can be used for coloring of a new denim fabric or for producing of prints for other textile products. This method reduces the cost of water and energy needed for the production, as well as allows reuse of the old denim instead of throwing it away.

Solar textile - Use of solar energy for the manufacture of fashionable fabrics

A possibility to use only water, plant waste and solar energy instead of oil for production of decomposable nylon is good news for the planet. In addition, nylon adsorbs greenhouse gases into the fabric thereby preventing their release into the atmosphere.

Information thread - Digital thread that let us know what we wear

Woven thin RFID thread with a digitized "list of ingredients" of a product let you know what exactly your clothes made of. With this technology, the processing process can become much more efficient and significantly cost-saving.

Leather from grapes - Use of winemaking residues in production of totally vegetable leather

Wine debris gives life to a new fabric – vegetable leather. This is the perfect solution that helps to protect animals and eliminates the need for oil in production of synthetic leather.

August 24, 2018 by SMC Fashion