I decided to write this story because I’ve been amazed with the amount of online opportunities for a new designer. We’ve covered various types of online retailers such as Boutine, Up & Wear, The Cools and many others. These sites have their own point-of-difference and niche, which make it easier for a designer to get online. For some designers, being online is their first introduction to the market as getting into boutiques may be a little harder. With that being said, it’s also important to take your business offline to understand both sales channels. When you’re starting out, you need to be comfortable in front of consumers and also learn to sell your line, especially before you let others do it (and take a cut for doing so).
Here are four benefits to selling offline.
1. This is your opportunity to actually sell. You’ll get a chance to tell your brand story over and over again. This type of practice will help boost your confidence too. As you begin to sell your products, you’ll be able to figure out the most compelling features and benefits of each product. As you get in front of more consumers, you’ll see how there’s an art to defending your products when someone says that your product is too expensive or tries to haggle with you about getting a lower price.
2. You’ll understand the importance of logistics – you’ll be forced to think about all of the logistics that go into making a sale. This includes payment options, displays, bags, tissue paper, a mirror, working internet, and collateral materials. Having to go through the rigor of preparing all these materials will make your ready for the next opportunity. Trust me, the first time is always a scramble to get everything done right and on time, but it can only get easier!
3. You’ll get consumer insight and feedback – When your selling, no matter what the venue, you’ll get consumers that will touch, try on and ask questions about your product. From here you can get insight on what’s working, what’s not and start to understand what you can optimize for the future. You’ll also learn more about your target and if he or she is in fact the one interested in the brand.
4. You can develop new relationships – I always enjoy meeting the designer and I think others do too. It makes the shopping experience special and the story they share compelling. You’d be surprised at how consumers want to become your fan, support you and even take photos to tweet, add to Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to get their contact information to follow up and connect with online.
There are so many ways to start selling your brand offline. There are traditional brick-and-mortar stores that will host trunk shows, pop-in shops, and may even let you sell on the floor. There are also designer markets, pop-ups and designer collectives that will give you a chance to perfect your sell.