27 Mar

The Fashion Buyer’s Guide: Style Selection

The Fashion Buyer's Guide

There are many factors that go into buying inventory for your boutique or online shop. Now that you’ve read our blog post on Buying 101, here’s the next step in narrowing down your target customer and piling your shelves and racks with pieces they’ll gobble up. We’re sure you’ve heard “variety is the spice of life,” and it applies here too. But before you fill your shopping cart at your favorite online clothing wholesaler, here are 5 tips you should keep in mind when shopping for a variety of ages and body types.

Take inventory.

Checking out what you’ve currently got in stock will tell you what you’ve sold most of in terms of style and size. The garments that are left collecting dust on your shelves (well, only metaphorically) are simply not the favorites of your boutique customers. But before you put them in the stockroom aka the clothing graveyard, make sure they’re simply not out of season or trend. Are you trying to sell swimwear when it’s still chilly outside? Are you stocking your front racks with styles from last spring?

Cater to all shapes and sizes.

Petite, tall, curvy, boxy, straight, oh my! Just remember: “I” is for inclusionary. While maybe you don’t sell out of your extra smalls and extra larges, it’s always a service to your customers to offer a wide range of sizes—not to mention it’s inclusionary. If part of your brand’s image involves embracing customers of all shapes, sizes and fit needs, you’re only going to keep the customers you love and gain new fans.

Stick to your vision.

If you only want to be a store that caters to women’s fashion, go for it! And if you want to carry styles for the whole family, good on ya! It’s important to establish and stick to a demographic and your brand personality—and not start to sway by sprinkling in other styles. This may confuse your common customers and push them away from a boutique they thought they knew. With that being said, if your vision changes, that’s okay too. Use social media to communicate this change-up to your customer in order to notify them as well as get their opinions on your new garments.

Do your research.

Yes, you can start buying all willy-nilly, but it’s always a wise move to start your buying with a solid plan in mind. Cue: a research session. There are a few ways to attack this, and we recommend conducting a market survey. Ideally, your survey would pinpoint the gender, age, sizing and maybe even style preferences of your frequent customers. Preface this tool with an explanation that you simply want to fill your store with the styles your customers desire. Post your survey on your Facebook page, Instagram, hand out physical copies at the register, and offer a promotional discount for any customer who participates so that they feel incentivized.

Another way to informally research is simply to observe, whether that be in your location or your competitors’ stores and online shops. Who comes into your shop most? What’s their estimated age? What sizes are they trying on? What are they buying? All of these answers will help you narrow down your target audience.

Offer a Mix of Styles

When it comes to catering to different ages of women, for example, you want to mingle never-fail basics with trendier pieces and the accessories that can pair with the two. For essentials, think tees of different sleeve lengths and necklines, no-frills denim, solid-hued cardigans and outerwear that seems to be in each season. For hipper pieces, you want to shop your wholesale clothing store for eye- catching prints, military-inspired styles and other trends you’ll see in 2018.

How do you cater to your target demographic? What’s a style you have difficulties selling? Share in the comments below!

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