Boutique Denim Sales Thrive with Smart Retailing
By Laura Raines
“Women came late to the jeans market, but now they are driving its explosion and innovation—new technologies, processes and fibers,” says Kathy Moca, co-founder and owner of Beija-Flor Jeans. “Denim is here to stay.” If you’ve been avoiding selling denim, it’s time to jump in.
Here are some expert tips:
Know your customer
“You need to know ages, lifestyles, demographics and what they value,” says Marlo Williams, sales director at Level 99. Are they interested in cutting-edge trends, comfort, fit, durability, price, eco-friendly products?
Deliver a premium shopping experience
“Denim is about individuality and finding that perfect style and fit. To survive, a retailer has to make a connection with the customer and establish a rapport,” says Moca. “Be prepared to educate them on the product’s uniqueness and how it is made.” Make it easy, fun and satisfying to shop for jeans to beat the online competition. “It’s important to be knowledgeable,” says Linda Del Percio, marketing director, French Dressing Jeans. “Trained fit specialist staff can save a shopper a lot of time by suggesting the silhouettes and styles that complement her body type.”
Research companies before you go to market
There are many options in every price point. You might try several price points to see what sells. Compare manufacturing technologies, range of styles and sizes, your initial investment and the level of customer service. What support will you get from a brand’s in-store collateral materials (posters, tags, signage), advertising and use of social media?
Buy the basics and manufacturers’ top sellers that work for your customers. “We make dark denim, black and white without a lot of destruction and bling year round, because those are wardrobe staples,” says Moca. “You can make mistakes with colors. Play it safe to start.”
Inventory often and reorder
Jeans are a replenishment item. Make sure you have all sizes in stock.
“Hanging and storing in cubbies is denim suicide,” says John Williams. “Place jeans half-folded on a table, so that shoppers can touch and respond to how great it feels.”
Images courtesy of Beija-Flor Jeans and French Dressing Jeans.