It’s Wednesday night at the Castle, the room’s rammed and with the recession still in full swing, tonight’s sticky subject for the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Salon speakers is Sales. Unfortunately one speaker’s a no show and Cowcross Street’s had a power cut.  Not a good start, however, with an audience of fashion’s brightest young things, sat, chomping at the bit, all red lipstick, coiffed hair and notebooks at the ready, the show must go on.

‘I love a recession. It sharpens up the competition and everyone has to try much harder to make it work’

- Mark Bage (pictured), Managing Director of leading online fashion store Coggles.com.

Mark knows how tough a global financial crisis can be on a fledgling design label, however tonight he’s out to prove that all is not lost, and with low costs and a minimal team it can serve as a great opportunity for emerging designers to focus on the customer, and how best to sell to them.  If you missed the event, are in the dark and need inspiring, here are Mark’s brilliant words of wisdom for sure fire sales success.

The Mentality of the Online Shopper

With online shopping, the fundamental obstacle is that the customer cannot touch, feel and immediately try on the garment.  However, online customers making pricey purchases will be very clued up, interested in the product, have done price comparisons, and will have researched the colour, cut and fit already.

Utilise Bloggers

In the next 5 years, blogs will have all the power; they have quickly transformed from an outlet for the eccentric few, to a tool for the mass media. You need to make blogs work for you – they can feature your product and take a commission on any sales.  This is a great way to get your product seen by a massive, international audience.

 

Margins and Pricing

It is a myth that online stores have lower margins than a bricks and mortar shop, Google acts as a virtual landlord and can be just as expensive as a real shop.

Customers assume a more expensive product is superior to a cheaper one – if you have the right product you can charge any amount of money.  Alter your prices as you become better known, either start low and introduce a premium line or start high and bring in a diffusion line.

 

Getting Your Designs Seen By Third Party Websites

Persistence is key, network and don’t focus on being too slick – often, a handwritten letter is more attractive than a hyper polished pitch.  It creates a sense of individuality, creativity and of being decidedly non-corporate.

Maintaining Control

You don’t need to have 100 accounts to make a good profit, less is more – you will appear more in demand and your product is more desirable to larger companies.

Never get so many accounts that you lose control or awareness of how your product is selling at the grass roots.  Understanding your customer is vital to any business success.

Coming soon!  Watch this space for even more sales grilling as we interview Dylan Wilde Hershman, creative director of the seasonal sales showroom, Eastern Block, who specialise in working with emerging designers.

Posted by Fiona Anderson

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