5 Ways to Make Fashion Buyers Your Best Customers

5 Ways to Make Fashion Buyers Your Best Customers | MakersValley Blog
Jessica Morales

Jessica Morales

Retail clothing buyers work on behalf of department stores and fashion boutiques to purchase the apparel, shoe, and accessories products featured in stores. While typical buyers interface directly with wholesalers and clothing manufacturers, the increase in private label fashion and influencer marketing has shown that independent fashion designers also have the opportunity to turn fashion merchandise buyers into a customer niche.

The best way to do this: meet fashion buyers on their own ground, and resolve their pain points for them. Fashion buyers make their living by keeping the clothing retail stores that employ them competitive. It’s an aggressive business, and moves (if possible) even quicker than the pace of fashion itself. As a result, some of their most common pain points involve the getting an edge over competing stores' buyers. Here are five major pain points that clothing store buyers lament, and what you can do to help resolve them:

1. Time Lag Between Clothing Product Orders and In-Store Fulfillment

Keep fashion buyer customers happy with firm product delivery timelines. | MakersValley BlogYou can address this by setting some guarantees on your end.

Typical production time for a Made in Italy product is 6 weeks. That means if you go to market or to a buyer with a completed product sample that’s already been graded, you can turn around a Made in Italy production order in less than 60 days, eliminating guesswork on when the order will arrive at their store, and making it easy to predict the timeline of any reorders.

2. Will Your Brand's Clothing Retail Well?

Retail customer preference, company marketing goals, supplier availability, and more all matter to every purchase a fashion buyer makes. And a lot of that is totally out of your control as well as theirs.

When you're preparing to pitch a specific fashion buyer, be ready to assure them about your brand's future sales in their store and make their job easier by doing your homework on the stores they represent before meeting with them. Only pitch them the products that are most likely to succeed. This will help you not only earn sales from them, but set the stage for a profitable, ongoing buyer-brand relationship.

If you’re going to market and encountering several buyers at once, have a few meetings set up in advance or target a few buyers in your product category specifically with a marketing effort that’s smart, direct, and creative (no awkward, out-of-the-blue phone calls!).

3. Will Your Products Give Their Store an Exclusive Edge?clothing mannequins

If a buyer purchases your product, it’s wise to offer them some sort of exclusivity guarantee that you will not turn around and sell the same products you’ve sold to them direct-to-customer, at a lower cost. Fashion designers hate when clothing wholesalers do this to them, and fashion buyers feel the same way.

4. Like Fashion Customers, Fashion Buyers Prefer Clothing Brands with Good Reputations

If you’re already marketing your brand and creating a great reputation for your products, that’s something retailers want to piggyback off of. Fashion buyers have no shortage of product lines options to fill their stores. To stand out in the right way, have a set brand identity, and customers who have already proven that it and your products will turn a profit. Plus, there’s bonus points for designers who can offer retail partners cross-marketing options and appeal.

5. Fashion Buyers Deal in Trend Forecasting Fashion buyers must predict the future of trends. Here's how fashion designers can help them make safe product buys. | MakersValley Blog

Predicting the future is hard. Fashion buyers know because it’s their business. When pitching your products to buyers, make sure you’ve done your trend research. Go to trade shows to stay current. Know what’s trending in materials, products, and fashion marketing. If possible, show sales data from your brand that demonstrates your ability to get in front of, react quickly to, or pioneer completely novel trends that play well to customers. 

Buyers are decisive, so if you present your products to them in the right way, it’s likely that the transaction will be quick, efficient, and if delivery matches up with the sale, result in repeat business. Do your homework, be professional, and always remember that fashion buyers are your customers and need to be treated with the same care and courtesy as any B2C customer who might reach your checkout.

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