Monthly Archives: June 2015

Jun 30

Does Your Website Homepage Grab a Users Attention?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

 

Does your homepage grab your users attention?  Fashion brands are using the web and mobile to generate business sales in increasing numbers.  In fact the biggest increases in sales is coming from these platforms.  While many companies have deep pockets and can have sites built with all the bells and whistles, most small brands cannot.  Many smaller brands must use shopping sites such as Shopify to create their websites.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful and effective website.  In fact many of the templates are quite nice.  I do however come across many brands who’s sites are outdated and difficult to understand.  You can tell if your website is not doing the job by looking at google analytics and seeing your bounce rate and time spent on your site.   Of course the final arbiter is sales.

First impressions on your site are critical . Customers attention span is short so engaging them quickly is key. There are many aspects to a company’s homepage that impact whether or not a user has a great first experience.

These elements can be broken down into three simple elements:

Content
Tech
Design

The homepage is your company’s virtual receptionist, and, in many cases, gets the most traffic of any of your website’s pages.  Ideally, your homepage design needs to:

Attract traffic
Educate your visitors
Convert browsers into buyers

Remember fashion is a visual business so a home page should be attractive.  Do not skimp on good photography.  You want your product to look amazing on your page.  Typography according to dictionary.com is  the general character or appearance of printed matter.  Typography can be quite influential on visitors to your site, and can have a positive effect when done correctly. The first thing that typography does is draw people in and express a general feeling about the content that a user is about to read.

A good website clearly answers “Who I am,” “What I do,” and/or “What can you (the visitor) do here.”  It should also be easy to understand and navigate.  Many websites are so confusing that a customer loses patience and moves on.

Conscientious design can help your company make a splash with your website’s viewers, and lead them down the path towards becoming loyal followers of your brand and buyers of your product.  So make sure it grabs your audiences attention.

 

 

Jun 26

10 Tips From Some of The Worlds Top Salespeople

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

I love quotes!  Nuggets of information that are very inspiring.  Here are 10 tips from some of the worlds top salespeople.  Some of whom you already know.

  1. I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.
    Zig Ziglar
  2. No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.
    Mary Kay Ash
  3. The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.
    Dale Carnegie
  4. I didn’t get where I am by thinking about it or dreaming it. I got there by doing it.
    Estee Lauder
  5. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.
    Jack Welch
  6. You can make a positive out of the most negative if you work at it hard enough.
    Sam Walton
  7. An immediate reward for lack of discipline is a fun day at the beach. A future reward of discipline is owning the beach. Unfortunately, most of us would choose today’s pleasure over tomorrow’s fortune.
    Jim Rohn
  8. “To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.”
    Patricia Fripp
  9. Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!
    Og Mandino
  10. “The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.”                                  Brian Tracy
Jun 24

The Pursuit of Excellence In Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Perfectionists strive for impossible goals. Pursuers of excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach.  Should we strive for excellence in our businesses?  Of course but with this caveat.  There is a saying that I totally agree with — ready, fire, aim!  Many entrepreneurs in their pursuit of excellence fail to pull the trigger when it comes to their businesses.  They are so busy refining their product it sometimes takes years before they actually bring it to market to sell.  At some point they have to say it is good enough and start selling.  They can then through the results of their sales learn how to improve their product.  This is an ongoing process.  You should never stop trying to make your product even better.

Perfectionists can be devastated by failure; pursuers of excellence learn from it. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Today Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy.  In the pursuit of excellence the efforts should be on continuous improvement of your product and services.

Most times the changes can be subtle.  But, overtime continuous improvement will build on itself till the growth of your company is significant.  A historic example of this was the achievement of Sir Dave Brailsford, director of British cycling and a former team coach. In 2009 he delivered a plan to the British government that he could build their first-ever Tour de France winner in four years using a plan using “aggregate marginal gains”. He broke down the individual elements of a world-class cycling team and focused on improving each component piece by 1%, noting more, nothing less. It worked in only three years. In 2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France…and the gold at the London Olympics.

Pursuing excellence in your business should be part of your companies culture.  According to Arun Hariharanin, Author of Continuous Permanent Improvement-“a business, clearly, profitability and market-share are key measures of success. A culture of excellence is an important enabler to achieve financial results — in any event — to achieve them in a sustained way. A culture of excellence will ensure that the organization is proactive and does not miss any improvement opportunity. It can be said that financial results are the end and a culture of excellence is an important means of achieving this end — that’s how they work together”.

 

Jun 22

10 Traits of a Top Fashion Industry Salesperson

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

 

I find that people still believe that being a top salesperson means you need to be cut-throat or at the very least super aggressive.  In fact many think that to be a salesperson you also have to be a bit slimy. Fortunately that is not true.  In fact the best sales people I know are kind, soft spoken, and ethical people.  So if you are looking for a good salesperson here are some of the top traits you should look for.

  1. Optimistic – Salespeople see the glass as half full.  They need the positivity to over objections that they experience through the sales process.  In fact it has been proven to be true. One of the best case studies comes from the work of psychologist Martin Seligman. He was hired by the CEO of Metropolitan Life in New York to help with their sales turnover challenge. Dr. Seligman persuaded Met Life to give him access to their new sales candidates and administer their usual testing measures, as well as a new test he developed which measured optimism. He followed the progress of the new sales hires for one year and found that salespeople who scored high in optimism sold 33 percent more insurance than those who scored low. After two years, the optimistic salespeople were thriving in their positions. Met Life experienced increased retention, decreased turnover, and increased sales.
  2. Confidence – “Confidence can get you where you want to go, and getting there is a daily process. It’s so much easier when you feel good about yourself, your abilities and talents,” – Donald Trump.  Exuding confidence will he
    gain a salesperson credibility with a customer.
  3. Knowledgeable – A good salesperson will endeavor to know everything possible about their product.
  4. Good Follow Through –   I have seen many orders fall apart because the salesperson did not make sure to follow through.  I have also seen customers stop doing business with a company because the salesperson was not responsive to their needs.
  5. Good Listener – A salesperson listens to their customers to find out what their needs are and where the opportunities exist.
  6. Perseverance –  Selling is an effort to beat the odds of rejection. Even top performers don’t close every sale. But they don’t take the rejection personally either.
  7. Passionate – Passion is infectious.  It is more vital than what you realize.  Successful salespeople have the ability to maintain their interest and passion and communicate that to their customers.
  8. Disciplined –  Top salespeople make sure that their days are productive with things that make sales and not just busy work.
  9. Looks for a win win – A good salesperson makes sure that the sale is a benefit to his customer as well as the company he represents.
  10. Creative – Creativity is the cornerstone of selling. Top salespeople find possibilities where other people quit.
Jun 19

5 Tips For Selling Your Fashion Brand To Retailers

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

 

I know, I know, selling is scary.  Will the customer like your product?  Will you seem too pushy?  Will you not push enough?  What if they reject you?  How do you even start?  These are many of the questions my clients ask me.  The truth is selling is not as hard as you think.  Just like anything you do there is a process.  Following the process will help take the fear out of selling.  The more you do it the easier it becomes and the better you get at it.  As entrepreneurs we need to get over our fear because without sales there is no business.  Even if you hire great salespeople, business owners who involve themselves in sales have better results.  Buyers love when the owner cares enough about their business to interact with them.  Here are my 5 tips to selling your brand to store

Have a brand story

“The best brands are built on great stories.“—Ian Rowden, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group

Your Brand Story is the narrative that, in the telling, portrays the heart and soul of your brand and emotionally connects your brand with the consumer.  Calling an account and telling them you have contemporary dresses does not have the same impact as telling the story behind your contemporary dresses.  We used to call it romancing the brand.

Create a target list of stores

“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets”                          —Nido Qubein, President, High Point University

One of the mistakes that I see salespeople make is trying to sell their product to everyone.  If you think about it, you realize there is a certain kind of store that gets your ideal customer.  Those are the retailers you want to sell to.  They not only will be more interested in your collection but chances are will be more successful with your line.

Identify the decision maker

“Selling to lower or mid-level employees is a multi-step process. If they’re not a decision maker, then that person then must persuade their manager or executive to make the ultimate purchasing decision most-likely losing much of your intended message.” — Stuart Leung, SEO, Manager, Salesforce

It’s all well and good to speak to salespeople or gatekeepers at a store in order to get a lay of the land.  But don’t count on them to sell your product to the buyer.  No one knows your product like you do and the best way to communicate it’s greatness is to talk to the decision maker yourself.

Come up with a strategy

“The chief strategist of an organization has to be the leader – the CEO.” – Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor

Planning your approach is key.  Are you doing an email campaign, a phone campaign, direct mail , or all of the above.  A specific strategy consistently applied bears the best results.  As the owner you are the one who needs to set it up.

 

Ask for the sale

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” —Nora Roberts, Author

I still can’t believe how many sales people never ask  their prospect or customer for a buying decision!  You need to actually ask.  It is not enough to just make a great presentation and expect that to close the sale.  Salespeople sometimes think if the customer wanted it they would have bought it.  But the truth is some buyers need a nudge.  Besides if you don’t ask than if there are customer objections you won’t be able to counter them. Once I was trying to sell a store chain.  I kept calling the buyer for the order. When I finally got her on the phone she explained that the reason she hadn’t placed the order yet was she was trying to place her basics first and she needed to find a company that made them.  I ended up offering her the basics which I made especially for her and she placed a half of a million dollar order.  Not bad!

Jun 18

How To Find Customers and Increase Sales

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

Selling is one of the most important skills an Entrepreneur will ever develop.  Even though selling is a critical skill most entrepreneurs avoid it like the plague.  They find any reason to not do it.

Reasons fashion brand owners don’t want to sell:

  • They believe they won’t be good at it.
  • They believe to be a good salesperson you have to have the gift of gab.
  • They believe that salespeople use manipulation, high pressure, and even lying to make the sale.
  • They believe you cannot have integrity and be a good sales person.
  • They don’t know the first thing about how to do it.
  • They think they are too busy to do it (trust me if you don’t do it you won’t be busy for long).
  • They fear rejection.

What if you could learn how to do the process of cultivating strong sales and loyal customers?  What if you found a system that was very doable and even you can do it.  And maybe even like doing it?

Vibe Consulting offers a group coaching program that will teach you just that system.

Click on this link and learn more

Jun 15

Why Google Analytics Is Important For Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

I have many clients and they all rely on their website to bring in business and get their message out.  However when I first speak to a new client I find that they don’t always have google analytics set up.  And if they do they rarely look at it.  So why is google analytics important to have and why should you look at it everyday?

  • Analytics show you how many people are coming to your site a day
  • It shows how many pages they look at and how much time they spend on your site.
  • It also shows your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page)
  • You can see which of your blogs get the most views.
  • You can find out where your visitors are coming from by country and state.

Of course there is a lot more information but this just highlights some of the most important ones.

The optimization of marketing campaigns is an ongoing process and by seeing how your site is trending helps with that.  For example: If you are running an ad campaign you can see if there was a jump in visitors in the days after the ad ran and what their bounce rate is.  Then you can also see what percentage of visitors bought product by knowing how many came to the site. You can see what works and what doesn’t in order to invest your time in activities that bring in good results.

By understanding the results of the Google Analytics reports you can get a handle on how effective your site and your outreach programs are.  By seeing how much traffic you are getting and if it is increasing and also by seeing if your website engages your customer by how much time they are spending on it.

Jun 11

How Some Fashion Designers Have Created Buzz

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

Have you ever noticed how fashion designers use unique ads and promotions to create buzz?  You sometimes even think they are a bit odd, but the fashion press eats it up.  Everyone kind of does the same things to get their name out.  They have a look book, a press party,  maybe a fashion show if they can afford it.  But, when someone does something out of the box people notice it.  This is what sells news.  There are a few that stand out in my mind.

KARL LAGERFELD STAGES CHICEST SUPERMARKET EVER AT CHANEL

chanel-supermarket_paris_fashion_week_chanel_shopping_center_karl_lagerfeld_2_collabcubed

Last year Karl Lagerfeld created a faux supermarket and sent his Chanel dressed models in to pretend they were shopping.  That was how he presented his fall collection.  The audience ate it up.  It was tongue in cheek and just plain fun.  The articles abounded and everyone was talking about Chanel.

“The supermarket concept was brilliant as it put fashion into real life,” French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, previously the face of Chanel’s Coco perfume and lipstick, told Reuters after the show.

What was really brilliant was how Lagerfeld used an unconventional idea to create buzz!

 

ADIDAS CUSTOMERS SHOP IN A GIANT SHOEBOX

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This pop up store was opened for three days in January 2014 in London.  It was designed to celebrate the launch of the company’s Stan Smith collection, the store included “an interactive floor, a digital ‘Stan Yourself’ station, and a 3D printing post.”  Considering that they have sold more than 40 million pairs of this brand I would say that this concept created lots of buzz.

GILLY HICK’S ADS CREATES CONTROVERSY

Gilly Hicks

 

This ad ran last year.  Not only was it featured in the ads they paid for, but they received additional placements in editorials where writers spoke about it.  Talking about getting “a lot of bang for you buck”.

Consider doing something creative to create buzz around your brand.  With everything looking the same standing out should be the goal.

 

Jun 10

Advantages of Having a Niche Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

I spoke with a client today who was questioning whether it was preferable to go after a niche fashion business or should she have a broader product assortment. My belief is that new companies should have a narrowly  focused brand and develop that till it is very strong before adding additional products.

According to marketing expert Philip Kotler, a niche market is a group with a more narrow (that market segment) definition. Usually it’s a small market whose needs are not being well served.

Niche players share a common set of traits. These include a deep understanding of their customers and their customers’ needs and the ability to stay engaged with those customers. Ideal niche market companies should consistently produce quality and innovative products.  Serving a niche allows companies to focus on meeting the needs of a smaller group of customers.  Their product is very specific and the company continually stays true to their brand.

Entrepreneurs who see a direct correlation between the size of a target market and the probability of success miss the opportunity to serve healthy niche markets. Niche marketing not only provides startups with an opportunity to launch the business successfully, but can also help them grow into major players in a larger market. Healthy, profitable businesses such as Spanx and LuluLemon serve thriving niches.

“Companies that try to be ‘all things to all people’ have significantly higher costs, never really establish a strong customer base from which to grow, and often disappear before achieving profitable growth. If your like most people, though, it’s really hard to walk away from any potential business. Yet closing the door on some opportunities truly opens far more doors for you in others.” – Crossing the Chasm by  Geoffrey A.Moore

Benefits of Concentrating On a Niche Market:

1. Increased Profits

By focusing on your core business you are able to husband your resources and not spread yourself too thin.  You don’t waste time and money on things that do not bring significant returns.

 

2. Reduced Marketing Costs

Once you can identify exactly who your target customer is  you can create a marketing and sales strategy targeted specifically for them. Knowing your “buyer persona”  is the critical first step in creating highly relevant content that sparks prospects’ interests.
3. Greater Trust and Credibility

As you gain experience in your specific marketing niche, you start to develop a reputation as an expert in the field. People will trust your opinion and consider you a thought leader in the industry.  This is a great way to establish an emotional connection with your customer which is key in building brand equity.
4. Reduced Competition

Once you are seen as an expert in your field, it’s easier to get more of the same types of customers. You have a clear sales advantage.  Later on if you want to add brand extensions you have a customer base already in place to market to.

 

Niche businesses are not immune to competition, especially from larger market players with substantial resources and economies of scale. So in the face of competition, how should you respond? Successful niche businesses will respond with innovation and higher-quality products, rather than cost-cutting measures. They also do not try to sell commodity products that directly compete with big companies assortments.

The bottom line is that despite some difficulties–securing funding and managing growth–many entrepreneurs who are focused on niche markets find it incredibly profitable and fulfilling. The keys to success are to stay in touch with your customers, understand their needs, keeping a laser-sharp focus on serving those needs with a commitment to continuous innovation and staying consistent in the look and concept of your brand.

Jun 08

5 Ways To Improve Your Online Visual Fashion Merchandising

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

Online merchandising is about how you present your products, both individually and collectively. It’s also about how you promote products and other offers. Some aspects of merchandising are about the products themselves. Much of merchandising is about how products are presented. Considering that fashion is a very visual experience, making sure the look of your website is appealing is very important.

So what are 5 things you should consider.

1. Make sure your home page is compelling.  Your home page should have photos or a photo that tell the customer what you are about, but also inspires them to look further.  Make sure there is clarity and the consumer understands what they are looking at and where to go next.

2. Use high resolution photographs.  Your product photos are your no 1 asset. Make them clear, uncluttered, and high-res. The item should be enhanced by the photo so that you can see details and texture.

3. Have your photos professionally shot by a fashion photographer.  A fashion photographer understands how to make a product look great.  They understand trends, and have experience working with models and stylists.   They know how to use lighting to enhance an image.  A fashion photographer will also properly stage an item so that it looks its best.

4. Use models whenever possible.  Showing a garment on the body enhances its look and makes it more interesting to the shopper.  Use experienced models that know how to move in a way that makes a piece look fabulous.

5. Show different angles of your product.  When buying a handbag don’t you want to know how many pockets it has on the inside?  Isn’t it helpful to see the back of a jacket?  When spending money on a site the more information a customer has about the style the easier it will be to close the sale.  So show as many angles as possible of the piece.