Telling your third customer in a row that you are sold out of popular item is more than frustrating for a shop manager. Losing a sale not only effects your numbers, but it means that you might lose a customer, or their loyalty which can be worse.
When you lose a sale to a first time customer, they will most likely move on and look somewhere else. If you lose a sale to a loyal customer, they might look somewhere else as well, and that ‘somewhere else‘ will most likely be at one of your competitors. Each time they come up empty handed, you lose a little bit more of their loyalty. If this happens too much you can lose them altogether. If that happens often, you will not be an business for very much longer.
The golden rule of thumb when it comes to business is that is much easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new one.
Successful brands do not survive of off one-time-customers, they survive off of a loyal fan base. They spend time to build tribe of influencers and advocates that remain true to a brand and a style. Vintage stores are no exception. Anyone that has experience in retail management understands that the bulk of the sales come from the same set of customers. That number will vary depending upon the size of the your market and brand, but the result is always the same.
Most loyal customers stop by every 5- 15 days, let’s say 10 days on average. That means that not only should your displays be rotating every ten days, but you stock should be rotating as well. This will give your core-customer base something new to see each time they come in, as well as new products to sift through.
With nearly twenty years experience in the Vintage Clothing industry, and having worked with 100’s of buyers, we are confident when we say that this simple formula is a major factor between successful Vintage Stores, and ones that barely get by.
Now I am not trying to pretend that having a good sales team and leadership are not key factors as well, these are just tools that make the whole package complete. This is similar to retail across the board, be it a huge chain brand or a favorite skate shop down the street. If they are not keeping their product fresh and rotating, they are missing out on a majority of their sales. This can be difficult for a vintage shop buyer because one of the main obstacles that sets them apart is their access to desired products when they are in demand.
Let’s face it, most retailers that are not sourcing products 6-9 months out can call a product manufacturer and get a new supply of whatever product they want, in whatever color and size run they need. This is just not so for the vintage buyer. More often than not, the items that are in the most demand, are also the most rare, and therefore the most difficult to source.
That means that vintage buyers not only have to trend forecast months in advance, but they have to lock down a supplier to source their products , which may or may not be available. When it comes to keeping their customer base loyal and returning on a regular basis, vintage shop managers are faced with a much more difficult task than contemporary boutiques.
If you take into consideration the influence that social media has on today’s society, it is easy to see how your loyal customers are also your shops advocates.
Vintage shops are faced with the task to remain relevant in their customers buying habits. In an attempt to level out the playing field and make sustainable fashion something that is not only desirable, but obtainable, Dust Factory devised a way to give buyers the freedom of ordering vintage products like new products, with a breakdown in style and size ranges. The days of sifting through thrift stores and estate sales are over, now vintage stores can keep their loyal customers returning, and purchasing on a regular basis.
If you would like to find out how Dust Factory can help you build a loyal customer base and keep your store stocked with the premium vintage items, CONTACT us today. Or you can follow VINTAGE NEWS for up to the date information on style forecasting and sales trends.
IMAGE COURTESY GYORGY BAKOS