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Why Finding Your Fashion Niche Is The Secret To Online Success

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Knowing your niche is essential to delivering a great omnichannel experience. Regular contributor, Dakota Murphey, breaks down her tips.

Being a successful business owner encompasses numerous factors, but understanding where you sit in the market is arguably the most important. Without knowing your niche, you’re at risk of missing your target market and losing out on potential sales. Nothing contributes towards growth more than satisfying your customers, but if you haven’t found your niche, how can you make your mark in the sea of competitors online?

What is a niche?

A niche is a subset of the market that relates to a certain demographic, a product type, or maybe a price point. It’s a place in the market where there’s particular demand yet low supply. What this means for businesses is that there’s less competition, and a higher chance of selling your products to the right people.

Fashion is a hugely populated industry and being able to identify a pocket of the market for yourself can offer several benefits, which we’ll examine later. When you couple this with the fact that there are billions of sites online, standing out in any way you can is essential for long-lasting success.

What are the benefits to a niche?

A fashion niche increases brand loyalty and can also encourage higher buying rates. Since you already have your target customer right there, you don’t need to spend as much time trying to attract people to your business – you’re primed to make sales from people already interested in what you’re selling. Customers like brands who have a clear and consistent message and branding, and understanding what your niche is can make achieving that a lot easier.

Helps with client acquisition

One of the primary benefits of a niche is that it helps you find your ideal client. Whether you’re attracting clients to your website or trying to build your social following, making it really clear to potential customers what your brand is focused on will build interest and ultimately loyalty. When you have complete clarity on the identity of your core customer, it’s easier to increase sales and see success from your marketing efforts as they’ll be tailored to those customers in particular. Client acquisition can be handled in a variety of ways for fashion start-ups, from email marketing and organic content to social media and adwords.

Enhances visibility and influence in a crowded digital landscape

The web and social channels are crowded but when you’re building a fashion business, you can’t avoid social media and the importance of having an online presence. With a niche, it’s much easier to appeal to a condensed market and differentiate yourself as a designer.

There are huge gains from digging your heels into the digital landscape, carving out a place and moving as each platform evolves or a new trend appears.

Thanks to their massive online following, Influencers (or ‘Content Creators’) inhabit a very special digital space for fashion brands. Influencers erupted onto the digital landscape and staked their claim in fashion with extraordinary boldness and success. Today, they continue to prove vital for fostering trends at an unprecedented pace.

Via social media channels, an influencer’s relationship with a fashion brand is hugely advantageous and valuable to your brand’s fashion niche, visibility, sustainability and growth. As well as opening up new revenue streams, fashion labels connect instantly with millions of prospective customers with a fairly straightforward and sound marketing plan. Influencers are powerful social media personalities but can be taken as serious opinion leaders in the respective fashion fields they occupy. Their audience reach and value is immeasurable and can only be compared to the success of gaining an online celebrity endorsement, which targets your niche audience and, by association, adds immense value to your brand and digital presence.

A website is your other digital storefront, so having a design that appeals to your branding and what customers can expect from your style helps you to stand out for all the right reasons. A niche helps your audience find you with greater ease, differentiating you from your competitors.

Increased profits for specialist items

If you’re selling the basics, you’ll only ever bring in average prices. But as a niche designer, it’s much easier to charge higher prices which will boost your profits. Customers expect to spend more on a specialist item that can’t be found just anywhere, particularly where fashion is concerned as everyone has a unique style and way of presenting themselves. Positioning yourself as a specialist retailer within your niche makes it easier to promote yourself to buyers and significantly increases the chances of them making the decision to purchase.

How to find and use your clothing niche for success

Finding your niche may take some time but, as we’ve explored, the benefits make the time and effort incredibly worthwhile.

Know your core customers first

When you’re designing for a niche market, ask what’s in demand, whether that demand has fluctuated over the years, and how many companies are already tackling this market. Is there a problem you’re aiming to solve for your customers? Why do you want to design for the market, and are you passionate about your designs? Authenticity is essential: you need to know your why before you can build out your business for online success, otherwise it’s easy to lose focus.

The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of your business comes from just 20% of customers, so have a crystal clear view of who those 20% are. Important customer metrics to measure retention include Customer Lifetime Value, Repeat Purchase Rate and Redemption Rate. But you should also look at the Upselling Ratio, Customer Loyalty Index and Repurchase Ratio to identify loyalty.

Segment your audience

Personas aren’t a new concept, but they can be highly effective in assessing web analytics and putting that data to good use. Through analytics, you can identify your audience by gender, age, location and more, including the devices they’re likely to use, what they’re interested in and what they’re looking to buy. With this information, you can create audiences based on these exact traits and retarget them once they’ve visited your site, providing them with content, offers and products that are more likely to resonate.

There are several forms of segmentation, such as Life Stage Segmentation which looks at where your customers are in their lives. Are they young students or married with kids? Where are they located; what’s their gender? It’s useful to segment customers in this way as you can personalise offerings to these customers to stay relevant to them and resonate with your audience. Similarly, Lifestyle Segmentation looks at the types of products your customers are buying the most.

RFM Segmentation dives into more detail – it stands for Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value. In other words, when a customer last purchases, how often do they buy and how many sales do they provide your business with. This type of segmentation offers the most value and it can all be found in basic POS transaction data.

Know your niche

Knowing your niche ensures you’re putting out a cohesive message, which is essential when it comes to delivering a great omnichannel experience. From site to socials, desktop to smartphone, customers will be able to identify your brand more easily and enjoy consistency between devices and platforms. A niche in a market as saturated as the fashion industry is essential if you want to stand out, boost profits and build customer loyalty. Finding your community of customers who value what you offer and are likely to return to your business again and again all comes down to knowing what you’re providing that sets you apart from the competition.

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.