How to decide what platform to launch your fashion brand on.

When deciding which market to launch in, you need to consider:

  • The market perception vs your brand’s. Does the market value quality or price?
  • Is there a demand and need for your product?
  • What is the fashionability of that market? Individuals or followers (trends).
  • Is the market digitally mature or not? & which markets are up and coming? Ones to invest in now.

Also, ask yourself:

  • What are your shipping capabilities?
  • Where did you envisage launching your brand? Your dreams & business goals.

To note this is applicable for both a brand and collection launch. 

Which sales channels best for your brand?

Initially, your focus should only be on which market; country or countries, you want to launch in.

  • To decide which markets to target, start wide with your search and then narrow your focus.
  • A continent may not be the right approach, so break it down country by country.

You could then choose to look at:

  • You could look at penetration.
  • You could look at compound annual growth rate.

Now you’ve chosen your market, you now need to consider which sales channel is right for your brand.

Firstly, it is really important that you understand the language used in fashion, as operating models can be called by numerous different names, but could have similar meanings!

With a greater understanding, you can make informed decisions. Also when engaging in new business it is important that you understand what the other person is talking about to ensure you make the best commercial decision!

Read on to understand which sales channel is right for your brand.

B2B.

  • Stands for business to business, it means a business selling their product/services to another business.
  • The most common version in fashion is wholesale.
  • B2B transactions can also be made at trade fairs as well as on eCommerce platforms.
  • This term isn’t frequently used in fashion, but it is in eCommerce.

"Before expanding internationally, it’s crucial to understand your potential target markets, including how digitally mature and how business-friendly they are."

Unzipped

Wholesale.

  • Wholesale means that a business buys goods in large quantities directly from manufacturers or distributors, warehouses them and resells them to other businesses.
  • In fashion, eCommerce platforms (for example ASOS), buys the fashion brands’ stock then sells directly to the customer through their platform.
  • Most deals are sale no return, meaning the brand can sell their stock outright with no liability / sell-thru clauses.

B2C.

  • Stands for business to consumer, it means a business selling their product directly to their customer, there is no middle man.
  • Within fashion this means the brand selling their product via their own website, or through a marketplace.
  • The difference between B2B – B2C is the brand is to keep all the control. They ship it, they deal with customer service. The stock remains your liability.

DTC.

  • Stands for direct to consumer and has the exact same meaning as B2C.
  • This is an expression used more commonly in fashion. Fashion brands tend to either focus on wholesale or DTC are their primary methods.
  • DTC channels can be a brand’s own website or a 3rd party channel like Instagram or eBay (marketplace – shop front hosts).

Marketplace.

  • An online marketplace is a website or app that facilitates shopping from many different sources.
  • The operator of the marketplace does not own any inventory, their business is to present other people’s inventory to a user and facilitate a transaction taking a commission of the sale.
  • A key lesson to learn is that some platforms offer both wholesale and marketplace, so be clear when you engage in new business that you state your preferred operating model from day 1.
  • Platforms that only offer marketplace are: eBay, Amazon, The Market, Alibaba, Etsy, Catch etc

Dropshipping.

  • Dropshipping is a marketplace fulfilment method where a platform doesn’t keep the products it sells. Instead, when a platform sells the product using the dropshipping model, the brand is notified of the purchase and has to ship to directly to the customer either from their warehouse or direct from the maker/source.
  • This is more commonly used if you are selling pre-made stock and simply placing your brand on it. (market stock)

It is really important that you know the pro’s and con’s of all operating models so that you can make an informed decision.

“Don’t just sell online; engage your customers digitally end-to-end. The bottom line is that companies must engage the entire organization to prepare for an omnichannel world.”

A lot of brands choose to operate DTC and wholesale side by side.

Remember you don’t have to pick only one operating method. You just have to pick the right one for you!

> Write your pro’s and con’s now!

DTC really is 2020 hottest trend! Here are some reasons why ...

Jon MacDonald, president of conversion consulting company The Good, lists the reasons why:

  • Shoppers enjoy personally interacting with companies and establishing a connection.
  • Buying directly eliminates the risk of buying counterfeit goods.
  • Customers have access to full product lines, not just what retailers choose to carry.
  • Information is up to date and accurate.
  • The brand is more likely to “do the right thing” if there is an issue that needs to be resolved.’

I hope you’re feeling clearer and enthused about launching your brand in a new sales market or channel?

To learn more about what else it takes to launch a new collection or brand then check out our 6-steps to launch course.

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