Earlier this year, I received a call from my cousin living in London. It was all business talk. He wants to open a fashion retail store in Nigeria. He didn’t just want to do fashion, he was passionate about it and has a certificate in fashion retail management from a fashion school. Very importantly he wants to do the business differently. He needed me to assist in developing a viable business concept (ideas), location, and so much more. After a month he came back to Nigeria, and we immediately set out to achieve his dreams. Despite the quality of our products which are sourced from major designers across Europe and America, our major challenge was in drawing traffic to the stores, and earning customer loyalty, no doubt competition was stiff. Just casually we decided to add more value to what we do. What was the extra value? FREE LAUNDRY. On every outfit a customer purchases attracts free washing for a maximum of 1 year. The most expensive outfits attract longer duration of free laundry than the less expensive one that go between 1-2 months. It worked, sales improved. Customers were happy to get this extra value. We made sure we did a neat laundry. We partnered with a good Laundry company, still a small sized enterprise. Many customers who bought their first clothes thought it was a fluke, but we had to show seriousness by consistently calling them to schedule when we can come over to pick the clothes for washing.
What this portrayed was we are trustworthy, delivers on promises, and has something extra to offer. We got most of our customers through referrals than through promotions. One very customer said to us, “I love the way you guys starched my colleague’s shirts, that is why I am here”. You see good work pays especially when it costs a customer little or no extra cost.
Hmm!!! You think we spent too much money on this? No, we added the expenses (though very little; the laundry guy charges us =N=500 on each clothe) to our running cost for the business, and then include part of it to the price tags. Our intention was not to make too much profit but to get traffic, huge market share and customer loyalty. Less than a year, the business is thriving so so well. You can try this out in your fashion business. You don’t need to be in retail to try this. A designer (freelance or not) can as well try this funny strategy out. It works.
How do you find this strategy? What other strategy do you think can be useful to others? Please share your thoughts. Cheers!!!!!!!
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