How Fashion Industry Pros Shop Their Competition
If you work in the fashion industry it is YOUR JOB to shop the market and know your competition. That is true if you are a designer, sales person, merchandiser, visual displayer, licensee, packaging designer, marketer, etc. Knowing your market and what your competition is doing is key to staying one step ahead. Here are some basic pointers on how to shop the market like a pro!
How To Shop Your Competition Like A Pro
First, schedule regular shopping trips either on your own or with your team. Depending on the category you cover (apparel, accessories, shoes, etc.) you will quickly find that there are certain times of the year the stores turn their merchandise. Some stores change products on their floor every twelve weeks; others three, etc. It really depends on the product category. This knowledge will help you time a good trip to see what merchandise in fresh on the floor!
Second, take notes. This sounds so simple, but many people don’t do it. Don’t rely on your brain to recall information you saw in the stores six months ago. Most designers, sales people and merchandisers work six months to a year in advance, so when they shop stores the information they collect may not be relevant until they start working on the next season.
If you are shopping a store in which your products are sold don’t be afraid to befriend a sales person who works in the store. Introduce yourself and ask them questions about how your product is selling on the store. Are there any comments from customers you should know about. And what other brands or products are selling well. Sales people have a wealth of information!
Have A System
Have a system to recall the information. If you are taking picture maybe consider using DropBox as a place that multiple team members can add their photos as well. You might also consider using Adobe Bridge to tag all the photos. See my previous post here on how to do that. If you are just writing notes use a file that is accessible to your whole team.
Finally, write a recap. This step should not take you long. Having a quick recap that your team can refer to is super important. It allows easy accessibility to the whole team when the time is needed. Plus, different team members can join in and add comments or notes themselves.
Things to Look For On Your Shopping Trip
In the old days one would need to take a notepad along with them on a shopping trip. Today, thanks to the smart phone, many things you can either jot down in Note Pad or take a quick photo. Here are a few tips of things to look out for.
- Average price point
- Visual 1st impression of products on floor
- Marketing call outs on trim or signage
- Fabric/ color trends
- Garment modeling or detailing trends
- Any significant or interesting marketing campaigns
- Store fixtures
- Product placement
- Schedule regular shopping trips with your team.
- Take notes using the tips above.
- Write a recap that your team has access to and can contribute to.