Most fashion designers and boutique owners participate in both print and online marketing strategies. It’s commonplace for those in the fashion industry to have websites where they can list their product lines and advertise discounts and sales, but marketing strategies within the fashion industry can be a lot more creative. The marketing specialists at Unique Business Strategies note that the general public choose to “spend their disposable income on healthcare, electronics, education, and travel and leisure” and not on clothing. Online marketing campaigns and sales signs placed in boutique windows are not enough to engage the 21st century shopper.
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Sponsors and partnerships
Fashion designers and boutique designers can benefit greatly from developing sponsorship deals with other brands/organisations. At the last London Fashion Week, Vodafone sponsored the up-and-coming designer Mary Katrantzou. Through the sponsorship, Vodafone customers were given exclusive access to the designer’s catwalk shows and clothing designs. DHL was another popular face during the last London Fashion Week. By sponsoring some of the most talked-about designers on the program list, DHL was able to remind potential customers of its ability to provide an essential service as a facilitator of trade. The designers benefits from sponsors because of the financial investment and because of the extra marketing which comes from being associated with high-profile brands in other industries.
Fashion designers and boutique owners should consider managing a fashion blog. Blogs are not only a great way of marketing designs, but they attract a lot of interest and they’re an easy, free way of networking and generating potentially invaluable contacts. Some of the very best fashion bloggers manage to turn their sites into lucrative businesses and influential sources of information. The Telegraph reports that some bloggers can earn anything up £10,000 a month in advertising. Susanna Lau began her online fashion diary at www.stylebubble.co.uk in March 2006 and gets 300,000 unique users per month. Isabelle O'Carroll has been writing her fashion blog www.isabelleoc.co.uk since 2010. Her musings document her favourite designers and her love of UK charity shops.She receives approximately 15,000 unique users every month.
The fashion industry is incredibly visual, making it important for designers and boutique owners to get their lines seen by investors, other designers and potential clients. Fashion is also a high-end industry. All special events organised should focus on sophistication and luxury. Boutique owners can arrange special parties for openings or for the start of new season lines. Designers can work directly with theatre directors and have their designs feature in popular productions. Boutiques can also try advertising the “rental” of some of the items they have in stock. Not only can the rental of fashion items be a profitable business strategy, but it also gets new product lines off of the shelves and into the public eye.
Fashion retailer Zara demonstrates one unconventional marketing strategy. Zara doesn’t wait for the next season to release new lines. Instead, it works on a 2 - 2 ½ month supply chain response schedule. This means that eager fashion lovers are waiting for the new lines to come out “next week.” Other fashion labels don’t operate in this way and this interesting difference gives Zara a serious edge over its competitors. Zara’s new lines are shipped in one week and are gone the next, which encourages customers to visit the store every week and make snap purchases because they know the products won’t be available for the taking the following week. The average global Zara client visits the store 17 times per year, whereas Zara’s competitors only manage to encourage their clients to visit 3 times a year.
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