Saturday, 28 January 2012

The best time to shop...

Shopping is now a 24/7 activity: online, on the high street, on your phone. The choice of when to shop, how to shop, has exploded. But if the high street is still your poison, these are my top tips are getting the best out of your shopping experience:
1.       Shop as early in the day as possible. You will have more space, more attention from the shop assistants, and more choice.
2.       If you can’t shop early, shop before lunch. Big shops get deliveries of stock every day, smaller shops 2 or 3 times a week. Deliveries contain new lines and replenishment of lines already on the shopfloor. Shops usually give themselves a deadline (11am or lunchtime) by which all new lines of stock have to be put out on the shopfloor. This means brand spanking new clothes and you get a full size ratio of brand new stock to pick from – no missing size 10s and trying to squeeze yourself into an 8.
3.       Shop in the week, not the weekend. Saturday and Sunday have always been the days when, traditionally, the high street was swamped due to people working 9-5 Monday to Friday. Even though people work nights/work from home, Saturday and Sunday are still the busiest days on the high street due to kids not being in school on these days. Monday will always be the quietest day and as the week progresses, the shops get busier.

Let me know how you get on. Til next time…x

Monday, 23 January 2012

What's a campaign?

Much like a presidential campaign (Obama raised and spent $650 million on his race for the White House in 2008), retailers regularly launch marketing assaults on the high street in the form of campaigns. The aims of a campaign are:

1.       To increase brand awareness

2.       To drive footfall (this literally means increasing the number of feet entering the shop)

3.       To make money

On your travels one week you may notice a lot of advertising from a certain brand – on the sides of buses, on bus shelters, in magazines, on TV. The brand has launched a campaign. H&M is well known for this comprehensive marketing strategy (remember Jerry Hall trussed up in Christmas wear at the end of 2011?) and it always works (Versace and H&M launched their cruise collaboration on19th January online and it has mostly sold out.) With such public advertising, people who weren’t previously aware of the brand now become potential shoppers. Enticed by the clothes they have seen in the adverts, they enter the shop (increasing footfall) and then (fingers crossed) spend money.

As always, one size doesn’t fit all and the high street has its own renegades - other brands, such as Whistles, never advertise. You never see a billboard with their clothes, an advert in a fashion mag or a 30second snippet in the ad break of Corrie. This marketing is simply letting the clothes speak for themselves. And that works just as well.

Til next time…x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Pro-bono Promo

Everyone loves a freebie. Everyone loves saving money. Everyone loves getting a bargain. How many times have you had this conversation?

“That top’s nice. Where did you get it?”

“Thanks! It’s from Topshop. It was only £10! It was a right bargain!”

Promotional items come in the form of: buy 2 for a reduced price instead of 1 at a higher price, buy one get one free, save X%, get a free item with purchase of a larger item. Promotional items kick start selling for a retailer, encourage you to spend money and think you are getting a bargain.

Promotional items will, more often than not, have entered the shop floor at their original higher price then been placed on promotion a couple of weeks later. For instance – knitwear. The winter of 2011 was mild and purse strings were tight so as retailers flooded their shopfloors with knitwear and coats, shoppers weren’t enticed. So M&S launched a 25% off all knitwear promotion over a weekend in December. Supported by graphics in the window and adverts on the TV, shoppers flocked.
More recently you will see new SS12 stock emerging at the front of the shop and in window displays and some of it will be on promo - this is to get you spending. These lines will also end up on promotion as the season progresses because when the best of the new SS12 stock hits down, this takes precedent over the "old" lines. It's a funny time - we want new season clothes but the weather dictates otherwise so we are left with these gorgeous spring colours and the odd bit of sartorial sailor ware (that old nautical trend rearing its head again) whilst the January cold dares us even to remove that big winter coat. So always watch what is on promotion. If you see rack upon rack of clothes on promotion they are destined for the next sale. And then you can save even more money!
Til next time...x

Monday, 9 January 2012

Why do shops always move things?

You found the perfect dress for your cousins’ wedding but you have to wait to be paid before you can buy it. Come the end of the month, and a healthier bank balance, you go back to the shop and….the dress is gone. Queue some ranting, raving, maybe some tears.  Sound familiar?

It’s really frustrating but shops move things for a number of reasons:

1.       To showcase new stock. When new fashion lines arrive on delivery tfrom the warehouse they are placed at the front of the shop to catch peoples eye, to entice them in. If the same stock sat at the front of the shop each time you walked past, you wouldn’t shop there because you would be bored of seeing it. So are the staff.

2.       To indicate the change in season. Now we are firmly in 2012 coats and knits from AW11 have been pushed back to make way for fresh, new, exciting SS12 clothes. Check out M&S with their new nautical flavoured windows launched this week.

3.       To launch a campaign. This is just common sense on the part of retailers. They have spent serious dosh on an advertising campaign bragging about their wonderful new clothes to the general public so they want those clothes to be easily accessible to you, the consumer. Where do they place the clothes? At the front of the store. Meaning everything that was previously in that area has to be worked into the stock package elsewhere in the shop.

But ultimately shops rotate their stock package on a regular basis to keep you shopping and to keep you spending money. Simples!

Til next time…x

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Year New Wardrobe

New Year, new wardrobe? After the shock of the Christmas credit card bill arriving it's time to turn your attention to the new season, namely feminine ice cream colours and crazy prints (Mary Katrantzou) . Is now a good time to buy your new season clothes?


And no.

With their sale stock rapidly decreasing in volume, Retailers have to bring in new stock to a) fill the gaps where sale stock once stood and b)keep you coming in and spending money. What you see in stores now is old A/W11 stock which hasn't been reduced, trial lines for clothes later in the season and the new SS12 trends starting to build. You may also notice a lot of blocking - blocks are groups of clothes e.g. blocks of knitwear, jackets, leggings, coats. These are usually marked by a low price perfect for January shoppers conscious of a big Christmas spend.

There are a few awesome pieces out there but I would keep those purse strings tight. Premature new season shopping can leave you feeling lacklustre when the real gems arrive in store end of January/February. If you have seen a real 'I WANT IT NOW' item in a magazine take a picture of it in to the store and ask for it, otherwise leave well alone.

January is the quietest month in the retail calendar and retailers will be launching a series of campaigns and promotions to keep you shopping. I'll be covering this is my next blog post.

Til next time ... x