Nowadays we check the weather online, we transfer money to friends and we even pay our taxes online – it is time that we use the internet to improve our business relationships in the fashion market as well. And it does not take much to make your fashion sales process more efficient, with access to a computer, a smartphone and an internet access you are good to go.
Beginning in the lead generation phase and going on to reach out to your customers, there are many ways in which technology can make you more efficient and improve your selling.
Gather information about your customers beforehand
Be in the know even before the conversation starts. There is nothing worse than calling someone without being thoroughly informed.
Use big data
Use all data that is available to you to understand your overall sales but also your individual customers better. Look at what you are selling every month or every season to each customer and make up a history of their sales, you can then sort by category, by items, by seasons..and add the sources to it. Did you make the sale through a call, through a referral, on a tradeshow? Take a closer look at the reorders to make conclusions about sell-through and success in store. With a closer relationship to your retailers you might also be able to be transparent about this data and ask for their input.
Keep track of your contacts
Use an intelligent CRM – customer relationship management tool – to keep track of your contacts and maybe even to tap into their social accounts to see what they are currently thinking about or working on. A tool like this will also enable to you to have an overview of past buying behavior and past conversations. You will see the last items your customer has bought and all he told you about their success in store.
Connect with your retailer in the most convenient way. Some prefer emails, others prefer calls, and even others might be happiest if you just send out a quick message. Through seeing their communicative behavior, you will know the most efficient and pleasant way to be connected with your customer. In addition to traditional email and phone, you could consider a chat service that feeds right into your CRM tool and can be used even on the go with a mobile app.
Present your brand
When you go in to introduce your brand, have a presentation ready. Instead of a standard powerpoint presentation, nowadays you can find many creative ways of showcasing your brand and your products. On fashionTrade we combine display with shopping – On your profile page you will be able to display your collection, lookbooks and single items which at the same time are shoppable by the customers that you accept. In this way you can cut right to the chase.
Stay in touch
Don’t lose touch once you have left your retailer’s office or store. Connect on professional networks like Linkedin or Xing for the German speaking market, be sure to treasure the business card, keep track of the upcoming events to show your face or set your retailer up with a mobile application to communicate directly.
By now you have surely generated a lot of interest for your brand, it is time to harness it and turn interest into a tangible sale. Not too many years ago the process of buying or selling fashion looked a lot like printed catalogues that were handed out and scribbled in, orders that were taken out of these catalogue notes handwritten and then placed with the designated sales representative who most likely had another form to fill out by hand.
Take the order
Order taking can be done online. After all these conversations with your retailer you already know what he or she plans to order, so why not send out a link with a prepared basket that the retailer simply can accept and pay in your e-Commerce store. In case you prefer it mobile, at FashionTrade.com we have prepared a mobile application for you where you can select items and send out a promotion to your retailers. They will receive the individual promotion in turn on their mobile app and can open it, view it and even place the order – all from their mobile devices.
Most modern e-Commerce solutions will connect with your ERP system so that there is no longer the need for writing an order and then manually entering in your own system.
Inform on status
The order is placed, the timeline is agreed on and you are busy producing. But don’t forget about your customers just yet! Remember to give them updates now and then so they can be sure that everything is going according to plan. You can use automated tools like email applications, your selected Customer Relationship Management tool or even mobile app notifications to send out status updates on your production and shipments. Your customers will thank you later and no surprise should occur!
Deliver on time and at the right place
Here the process ends. You have delivered your items, your customer receives them. In case not all merchandise is destined to end up in one place or end up in the store right away you can make your customer’s life easier by tagging the boxes beforehand or directly shipping them to different destination. Intelligent e-commerce solutions like fashionTrade will let your customer chose right from the cart where to deliver to (multiple addresses accepted), how to distribute the order in case it is destined to arrive in different places and even to delay delivery in time so that not all has to be stocked in the tiny warehouse.
From lead generation, to brand presentation to final sale and delivery, technology is an asset not to be underestimated. With intelligent data, a visually rich presentation and an easy order process you will most likely be more efficient in your selling process and most certainly appear more professional. On FashionTrade you will find most of the features mentioned throughout the text.
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