Why Merchandising is so Important in Running a Successful Fashion Business
June | 13 , 2017.
What exactly is merchandising anyway?
We’ve all heard of merchandising before, but most of us associate it with visual merchandising and the ways items are physically displayed in stores.
However, there is a whole other side of merchandising that falls within the wholesale side of the fashion industry.
What if for example your brand doesn’t have a physical location?
What if you only sell your collection to other retailers or boutiques?
Does this mean that merchandising isn’t as important?
If anything, it’s even more important and more difficult because you have to create a story without fancy fixtures and space.
There are basically 3 Key Elements associated with merchandising.
Let’s take a look into each of these three areas to see how you can start applying some of these ideas into your business.
#1 Your Product Assortment
When it comes to deciding what to put into your collection, there are many things that you need to consider in order to create a cohesive and saleable collection such as:
* Are these designs in line with my core/target consumer?
* Are my styles priced appropriately and do I have a variety of styles to offer different stores?
* Do I offer enough styles that will meet my financial targets.
Your product assortment is something that should be carefully thought out and executed.
You cannot just decide to put something into a collection because “you like it”.
In order to create profitable assortments, there needs to be careful consideration of items that get rejected from the line based on design aesthetic, pricing, or both. Try to think with a less is more mentality.
#2 What’s Actually Selling
Let’s face it. Knowing your numbers is a huge part of your business. It’s not the most fun or exciting part, but it’s probably one of the most important aspects.
In order to full gage how your business is doing, you need to make sure you are monitoring what is working and what’s not working.
This should be a combination of what’s actually selling into the stores and what’s actually selling through.
It’s pretty pointless if buyers are buying styles that aren’t selling through to the final customer.
So in order to analyze your business you should focus on these three things:
Figure out what styles are your top performing and analyze why that could be.
Did you use a special fabric?
Was the price point perfect for that particular garment?
Was the piece on trend?
Same goes for the opposite of whether something did not work.
Research with the buyer how the style performed on the sales floor.
Did they buy too shallow/deep in their selection?
Did they not buy the right sizing?
What was the customer’s overall feedback if any?
#3 Inventory Management
Most likely you’re the one who’s managing your inventory at this stage in your business. Using merchandising strategies will ultimately help you to make better decisions in what you choose to buy.
For example, once you really understand what is working for your collection not only from a price point and design perspective, but also from a selling at the retail level, will you be able to get a better grasp at managing your inventory.
Let’s say that black dresses did really well for you. In your collection however you offered more printed dresses that didn’t sell as well.
You ended up purchasing more printed dresses (only because you had more in your collection),and therefore you didn’t have enough money to buy more black dresses.
Next time around you might re-think what you need to buy in order to cover your basis.
Another reason inventory management is highly revolved around merchandising is because being a good merchandiser means that you not only have an eye for putting together a collection, know what’s going to sell, but also be on the pulse of what’s hot and necessary to get a buyer excited.
So hopefully those three elements help sum up a little basic intro as to why merchandising is so important in running a successful fashion business whether you sell exclusively online, have your own store or sell wholesale.
Once you’ve gone through a few seasons and are starting to see some real sales, you’ll begin to learn why merchandising is such a key part of running a successful wholesale business.
By Lauren Tanaka from The Sales Concept
Traceena & Lauren from The Sales Concept teach designers, fashion brand owners, sales reps and anyone looking to grow their wholesale business. We give you all the tools and strategies you need to successfully sell your collection into retail stores.
To learn more about us, click here and sign up for our free email newsletter where we’ll send you free tips & strategies to grow your fashion business.