Approaching any business without truly knowing the customer first is akin to business-suicide. In other words, it’s practically impossible to sell to those you know nothing about. One of the most understood basic tenets of business is the need to understand who your customer is, what they need and why they buy what they buy. This is particularly true in the apparel industry. As one of the world’s largest industries, global apparel sales topped $1.7 trillion US in 2012 alone and employs more than 75 million people. Knowing why, when and where people choose the clothing they do is imperative to those with even the smallest retail clothing boutique. As a business owner, there are several factors that must be understood about your potential customer. As a leading clothing liquidator, we at Eagle Trade Worldwide Clothing have seen the results when a client who doesn’t know what propels their own customers to buy tries to open a clothing store: it’s soon closed. At the very least, every business owner needs to absolutely understand the following about his/her customers:
- Who are they? Know your customer’s gender, age, occupations and marital status. These basics will give you a basic idea of what will work for your clothing business.
- What do they like to do? Knowing your customer’s interests, occupations and hobbies can help you determine just what type of clothing or footwear you should offer.
- Why do they buy? What propels them to purchase is vital information as you can more easily match your goods to their needs.
- When do they buy? Your local audience has a set of spending habits and incentives that propel them to buy during certain times. Find out when those times occur and you’ll find a higher level of success.
- How much do they spend? On the average, American women spend approximately $1,600 a year on apparel and footwear. Find out what the average is in your local area to avoid offering goods they can’t afford or won’t purchase.
- What do they want? Every area has a lack of service or goods of one sort or another. For example, if the demographics show that a good portion of your local population likes to engage in outdoor activities like hiking or bicycling, but have to travel to the next larger city to get the clothing to do so, maybe filling that need for inexpensive active and outdoor clothing is smarter than opening yet another children’s clothing boutique.
- What do they think about your competitors? Again, if the outdoor lifestyle store is too far, is seen as exclusive or expensive, or lacks in customer service then focusing on being the solution to the problem can spell success for your own clothing business.