Why You Should Look at Your Collection Like a Retail Store

When you first read the subject of this blog post you might just be a bit confused. 

Wait whaaa? I need to think of my collection that I’m selling wholesale to buyers like an actual and physical store? I dunno know about that...

That’s what you're probably thinking, am I right? 

Well, bear with me here as I try to explain this concept. 

Think of when you first walk into a new retail store for the first time. 

Within the first few minutes, you know instantly whether or not the store is for you. 

why you should look at your collection like a retail store

Sure there may be a few items here and there that you might consider buying, but the store’s overall look and feel is what initially grabs your attention. 

These small details that your brain is unconsciously absorbing are things like: 
Color story, design aspects, displays, and styling. 

The color story is such a strong part of visual merchandising and believe it or not is just as important when it comes to building your collection. 

As a consumer, you may at one point or another had this type of experience happen to you: 

  • You walk into a store. 
  • You’re immediately drawn to a certain print or pop of color that is eye catching, vibrant, or just a unique type of style. 
  • You peruse the rack and decide to try that eye-catching style on. 
  • You notice it also comes in black so you decide to try it on as well. 
  • You try both on and as much as you looove the printed version, you opt for the black version because it’s more wearable, you’ll get much more out of it and can dress it up or down. It’s just an all around better or safer purchase. ;)

    Am I right? Is this you? Well, if it’s not you, then bravo for your bold fashion choices. 

But my point is that this is probably 90% of consumers. 

They’re immediately drawn to something that is eye catching, but they ultimately choose what they know will be more of a safer option. 

The same exact reasoning is the way buyers think. 

Buyers may at first be completely drawn to your collection by a specific style, but ultimately they’re going to buy what they know for SURE will sell for them (aka the safer choice). 

They will, in fact, buy those eye-catching pieces, however, they will be buying a much more conservative amount than say a black option. 

Although this is somewhat of a sad approach when it comes to being creative with your collection, but it’s something that absolutely cannot be ignored. 

You have to think about what is going to draw the buyer into your “store”, but you have to be able to offer them something that they know for a fact is a super seller for them. 

The same thing stands true for not only the color story, but for things like design elements, quality, and styling. 

These factors are obviously important when it comes to selling your collection, but what about the way the actual displays in a store influence our purchasing habits? 

Well, you can think of displays in a store as the same way you’re actually presenting your collection to a buyer. Meaning, your branding elements.

Are you using expensive or stylish looking hangers when presenting your collection - especially if it’s a higher priced collection?

Let’s all remember that fashion is a visual and judgmental industry. No one wants to buy an expensive item that’s hanging on a plastic or wire hanger. Period. 

Also, elements like your logo, lookbook, hangtags, and even business card are all parts of the visual merchandising that are similar to the way items are displayed in stores. 

EVERY aspect of what goes into your entire presentation has to be cohesive across the board. 

So in order to fully think of your collection like a retail store make sure you’re on top of the following: 

What are your eye-catching pieces? 
These are the styles that are drawing the customers (aka buyers) into your store (aka appointment with the buyer). 

Do you have BEST SELLER options? 
These are the styles that are going to be no-brainers when it comes to the buyer ordering multiple quantities. 
These are your core, staple, safe items that both buyers and consumers don’t even think twice about when purchasing. 

Do you have multiple price offerings? 
Do you have an entry level pricing tier? 
Think of this as your basic offering. If you’re a luxury or higher priced point collection, this is something you could offer to stores who don’t quite hit the luxury status but they might want something from your brand to elevate their own store.     

For example:
The brand Vince offers a range of mostly elevated knits. They offer a range of t-shirts both long sleeve and short sleeve, different cuts, necklines, materials etc. They have both cotton t-shirts for $65 and tencel/linen for $120.

Make sense?

I’m not saying you need to offer thirty different styles, but the bottom line is to offer different price points if you want to appeal to different customers (buyers) 

Make sure every aspect of your collection is cohesive. From your logo, lookbook, hangtags, hangers, to your business cards. 

Every part of your business reflects your branding and visual appeal to a buyer. The same exact way you judge a store based on how it looks when you walk in, the buyer is judging your collection based on these details as well. 

In conclusion, your collection should be merchandised appropriately to reflect the type of buyer you want to attract.

The same way a store will use bright colors, crazy styling, and loud music to attract a younger demographic, you need to figure out who your target customer is and what will attract them to your “store”.