Independent business owners need to know how to rapidly adapt and even transform their apparel decoration businesses in today’s market. To be successful despite the ever-shifting political and economic climates, here are some growth strategies to keep in mind.
1. Leverage your suppliers
Supply chain issues have put quite a whammy on nearly every industry worldwide. Get in touch with your account representatives at your most frequently used suppliers. Ask about inventory levels. Ask about inventory that they are expecting soon. Ask about any new products that you could show to your customers. If you are unable to get enough of a specific product to complete an order, your account representative may be able to recommend a comparable product that is in stock. They are an excellent inside track on being able to find the inventory to complete your orders, especially as we head toward the end of the year.
2. Make changes visible
With all the changes because of the pandemic, including work-from-home models, supply chain issues, and the mass exodus from the workforce, in order to survive, much less succeed, you may have had to adjust your entire business model. Tell your customers and potential customers how you have adapted. Do you now offer easy online ordering for reorders? Do you show size specifications on your website so that customers can place orders with greater confidence and know that they are ordering the correct sizes? Will you do sales presentations via Zoom if someone is unwilling or unable to meet with you in person? Will you send samples to the customer so that they can evaluate them in person before placing their order? Make these options visible and known on your website, your email signature, and on your social channels. It may be the one thing that makes someone call you instead of another apparel decorator.
3. Increase your online presence
In the long-ago time of “before the pandemic,” early 2020, I was firmly in the camp that an apparel decorator did not need an online shopping solution for their business. People wanted to touch, feel, and see the sizes of the products before placing their orders, and that was best done in person.
Now, people are much more comfortable buying anything and everything online without experiencing it first in person, including apparel. If you do not have a website that allows customers to view products and place orders, it is likely that potential new customers will move on from your site to another one that does offer those options. There are many solutions available to you, from creating a custom website to partnering with your favorite wholesale supplier and creating a webpage using the systems and tools they offer, to going with a Shopify or Etsy seller account or connecting with one of the industry-specific solutions that are now available for apparel decorators. If customers cannot find your business online, then you will not get any customers. This is the new normal way of buying things, and it will not revert to the way it was.