There's been talk about Ready-to-Wear brands not actually having products customers can order today and receive tomorrow. While it's easy for customers to complain about that situation, it's very important to understand that the one major reason RTW brands don't stock products is business survival. Stocking of products can tie up capital and choke up operational costs that may ultimately cripple a business in the long run.
For example, I know a RTW brand with merchandise of over 3 million naira that hasn’t sold for 24 months because, according to the owner, “after the first week of ‘new collection' people want something new!!”
It's also important to respect that every RTW brand exclusively has a right to run their brand as they see fit for the survival of their business because the same people complaining about instant availability may not buy more than 3 items from a brand yearly which is not worth risking stocking products that cost millions for.
That being said, I believe clever and consistent content marketing is a potentially effective solution that Ready To Wear brands can explore when it comes to moving existing products over time.
Here are 6 ways that ready-to-wear brands can stock products, get them sold and stop losing money:
One key thing to note is that in general, the more people know about an existing product or service, the higher the chance of them buying that product/service or another one related to it when there is a need. This is why the biggest brands in the world like CocaCola, Toyota, Asos, LG, Apple, Nike and so on continue to advertise, advertise and advertise. They are essentially remarketing the same product or service to us over and over again.
Another thing to note is that it is very easy to say the things above, profess them as solutions and walk away. I will be the first to admit that it's all easier said than done and effectively executing content marketing strategies is big and deep work.
However, I believe content marketing along the lines of the above can be a game changer for a Ready To Wear brand looking to stock products and move them along over time. So, let's dive in.
1) Re-release Existing Products
One reason customers want new stock is because they keep being offered new stock which in itself is a business strategy. However, it can adversely affect sales of existing products when the focus is always on the trendy collection.
As a brand, you can guide your customers through clever content marketing to buy old stock. Clever content marketing here might mean re-releasing existing stock either as a standalone collection or as a special collection tied to one or two reasons like the Wedding Season edit, the Easter edit, or the Rich Aunty Vibes edit.
Rebranding products can generate new interest or even reignite old interest in existing stock. It is what customers know as available that they will consider buying so show them what's available.
2) Use Periodic Discount Deals To Bring Attention To Existing Stock
Depending on the overall strategy of a brand, discount deals are always a valid way to generate sales. Every existing and potential customer loves the idea of getting more value for their money.
In this case, discount deals have to be carefully worded and structured to avoid showing desperation to offload old stock as that can be a red flag for customers. Keeping old products fashionable is very key to discount deals in fashion. The discount deals can also be tied to a new collection to ensure it reaches and grabs the attention of more people. This will ensure increased desirability in customers.
It is important to tie discount deals to a time frame because it gives customers a sense of urgency and fosters FOMO (the fear of missing out) which urges customers to take immediate action. So, keep discount sales limited to time frames like 24 hours only, 48 hours only, 1 week only and so on.
3) Use Seasonal Deals To Promote Existing Stock Again
Seasonal deals are always a good way to move existing products faster. Fashion brands are also probably the easiest after food brands to re-adapt their products for every season. Clothes, shoes and accessories are always good gifts for Christmas, New Year, Valentine, Easter, Birthdays, Life Achievements and so on.
Preparing deals for each season with your existing collection items is a surefire way to put those items in front of more people and keep them desirable while doing so.
Again, a mix of existing and new collection items can work well in this situation as a means of keeping desirability.
4) Use Influencer Marketing To Promote Existing StockThere is no industry that influencer marketing is more effective than the fashion & beauty industry. It works like magic and requires the least effort to convert. Using influencers to push attention towards your existing stock can help drive some more sales towards it.
In the case of Ready-to-Wear fashion, influencers are even more effective when they play a more central and documented role in selecting, preparing and processing of products they will share on their platforms.
The more organic an influencer's content about your brand feels, the more that influencer's audience connects with your brand. Authenticity is key.
5) Use Combo Deals To Push Existing Stock Along New Stock
A combo offer is a collection of different offers blended together into a single attractive sale offer. It is a marketing strategy that draws in new customers and equally retains the existing consumer base because deals appeal to both segments.
A combo offer can help your ready-to-wear brand improve product, and overall store, visibility, move dead stock and boost sales. You can create combo packs that offer a better overall price than buying individually or combo packs that have new and old products together. This way you manage to sell two items and your client feels that he has taken advantage of the occasion.
Combo deals can also be done in collaboration with brands that offer complementary products to your ready-to-wear products eg a dress and a bag, a stop and a shoe and so on.
Examples of combo deals include
Buy 1 get 1 free
Buy multiple products at a lower cost
Buy something to get something free
Buy worth a specified amount to receive a discount on future buys
6) Re-market Existing Products Directly Without Referencing Their Creation DateEverything mentioned above are different ways to remarket existing stock in new ways. As a fashion brand, just downright remarketing of existing products is totally allowed and permissible as a brand strategy. The downside is it may seem boring if not done properly.
Direct remarketing typically involves no extra storytelling or content creation. It's just taking existing stock and putting it front and center of the brand for a period of time.