Ready to Restart with FashionGo
Guest post by: FashionGo
It’s been just over a month that major fashion hubs like California and New York have been locked down under government issued Stay at Home orders. During our month indoors, the fashion industry as a whole has really exemplified the spirit of human resilience. As a leader in the wholesale fashion industry, providing an online marketplace since 2002 for thousands of vendors and retailers to sell and buy, FashionGo has taken the initiative in responding to Safer at Home measures by providing resources to buyers, business owners, and families so we can be ready to restart business anytime, anywhere.
FashionGo, as an online marketplace, strategically partnered with the offline based organization Informa-- which hosts fashion trade shows like MAGIC-- to provide an omnichannel experience for retailers, proving that nurturing your partnerships can lead to fruitful business endeavors.
“...Put yourself in the position so that when business restarts, you can restart…[that means] calling your vendors, and calling everyone that is your business partner. Now is the time to be a partner.” -- Tom Nastos, Chief Commercial Officer, Informa
We also spoke with a popular fashion boutique franchise called Apricot Lane Boutiques. Apricot Lane Boutiques consists of a network of entrepreneurs, providing unique boutique style apparel all under the Apricot Lane name. These franchisees also receive help and guidance from Apricot Lane headquarters on trends & best business practices.
“You likely have several very smart actions that you took several days ago that someone else...would be grateful to hear about; while they took other actions that you had not considered. There is strength in sharing your best practices.” -- Patrick Steward, CEO, Apricot Lane
We also touched base with Commentsold, a social selling platform. Retailers are beginning to shift their focus to online selling, but that means more than just posting a product and slashing prices. A huge part of social selling is the social aspect of it!
“In the times we are in [now], more people are craving personal...social interactions...For consumers, [buying on social channels] is a fun, easy way to interact and buy from their favorite retailers and...share that experience with their friends, thus creating social validation for the retailer...allowing the retailer to expand their customer base.” -- Brian Gramer, VP Sales & Strategic Partnerships, Commentsold
Last, but not least, we talked to Scaling Retail, a retail consulting agency that launches and grows retail businesses globally. Their advice reminded us that retailers & vendors should stay true to their brands and focus on things that work, to set their businesses apart in a time of market saturation.
“...consumers are going to be looking for a mix of convenience, necessity, style and quality when deciding what to buy and who to buy from...I’d be careful to not overhaul your product strategy simply to support PPE or to jump onboard immediate trends…Don't start grasping at new marketing channels or products if you haven’t already leveraged what you have...” -- Syama Meagher, CEO & Founder, Scaling Retail
While getting insight from key players in our industry gives us a great higher level approach to managing your business, we also wanted to talk to our boutique coaches, who are also some of FashionGo’s best customers. They have built their multi-million dollar boutiques from the ground up through pure grit and perseverance. Here’s what they had to say:
“Work on perfecting all key components of your business. I spent my first week in quarantine overwhelmed and anxious. I had to let that go and dive deep into the places I’ve neglected in my business. You know the places you hardly look at because they aren’t very fun.” -- Gia Monae
“It’s a great time to humanize your brand; positioning your boutique as a business that truly cares about their audience. Share your thoughts about what’s occurring in the world and allow them to engage with you.” -- Brazen Boutique
“When it comes to your products, you must pivot your messaging to meet your customers where they're at right now. Always give value and continue to share your passion. The world needs your small business.” -- Janelle Langford
Just over the past week, polls have shown that consumers are beginning to purchase “non-essential items” such as apparel, and we’ve seen online retailers’ sales increase. This is a direct reflection of brands not just responding to business disruption, but also being proactive, especially in the way they communicate with their customers. Take a page from our book, and make sure you’re doing all of the following things to manage your business:
Take control of your finances. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure timely cash flow. Talk to your business partners, your vendors, and even your landlord to see if they can be flexible with deferred payments and possible payment terms. Take advantage of everything your state has to offer you as a SMB owner. You should be demanding your government to provide you with immediate financial assistance.
Start social selling & engage online. Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook have seen a huge uptick in views as well as engagement. Concentrate on posting higher quality content, to increase engagement rates. Additionally, digitally savvy brands have been diverting their limited budgets towards ad spend for SEO, and have seen higher than average ROI in terms of cost per click.
Nurture relationships with your partners. Have transparent conversations with your vendors; what are their shipping delays looking like? Communicate with your vendors especially on FashionGo, to make sure of timely delivery and relay these messages to your customers. The more honest you are with them, the more they’ll trust you, and will share their positive experiences with their friends.
With projected Stay at Home orders being well into the spring season, it’s time for us to adapt to our current reality, which doesn’t mean that we should resign ourselves to our current state. Far from it in fact, we are a rag tag group of go getters who don’t know the meaning of quit. Let’s get to work.
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