Growth is on the top of all activewear brands agendas, however, working out how to grow isn’t always straightforward or obvious.
In this journal, we highlight the top 17 ways to grow your activewear brand.
1. Understand your brand’s WHY.
Successful activewear brands exist for a reason. This could be because you offer something unique, something of better quality or service than your competitors or a better price. Work out WHY your brand exists and then create a strategy to share and promote with your target audience.
Consumers are becoming much more aware of brand values now the internet allows them to dig deeper into the brands they love. Showcasing your WHY will enhance the love they have for your brand and may result in them telling the world about their favourite brand.
Growth is great but understand why you are growing and make sure that the growth plan has a clear strategy that has meaning and value. Turnover is fine, but without a profit, you may as well stay still as only profit will help support your growth.
3. Outsource Initial Growth.
Outsourcing your growth plans with consultancies enables you to test the plan and make sure it returns what you expect and need. Only when you are sure the strategy worked, and the plan would pay for additional internal team growth should you invest in taking on new employees.
4. Maintain Margin.
Margin is key to strong growth and it’s incredibly easy to discount or have promotional sales to drive sales and turnover, however, if this doesn’t have sufficient margin, you could be doing huge damage to your brand. Maintaining great pricing throughout the year is a far more sustainable approach to margin and brand protection to eliminate the trend of consumers waiting to purchase only when you are on sale. There are too many sportswear brands racing to the bottom, that have sales every 2 months.
Search Engine Optimization is one of the free ways to grow your audience and the good thing is, it’s free. Making your website rank better in search engines will enable your activewear brand to land on page 1 of Google, providing the content is relevant to your target audience and the keywords are built into your website. For instance, if you sell activewear squat proof leggings, make sure you focus on those keywords and so that you show up on google. If you just use the word leggings, then best of luck.
Try to update your website regularly with blogs, films, photos, and new social feeds so the likes of Google and co. see you as being proactive and therefore of interest to consumers.
Read here how we improved our SEO.
Growth needs funding and growing too fast or too slow will inevitably mean your business will run out of funds. Finding the balance is paramount and while fast growth sounds great, running out of cash to support this growth could kill your brand as fast as having poor sales.
Having a good handle on the figures and working out what growth is required vs. what you can afford will help keep you alive. If figures aren’t your thing, then ask your accountant to manage this aspect our outsource to someone with the finance experience.
7. Supply Chain.
Your growth is only as good as your products and the factory that is producing them. Make sure you find a suitable factory that can support your growth. Many start-ups decide to work with tiny factories that help them launch with small MOQ’s, however, they often fall over once they start to grow as they need to resource their production with bigger factories fairly quickly. This all takes time and money as you will need to go through the whole development stage for each product with the new factory before they can start production.
Ovoid this by working with larger factories that work with big clients. All of our factories support our start-ups with special, small MOQ’s to get them going with a view to working with them long term.
Working with too many suppliers can weaken your negotiation and service with each supplier. Try to bundle products together with factories that can produce these. Chances are that being a bigger fish in their pond will result in working with more qualified merchandisers and your orders will start to take priority.
Consumers love new. New is exciting and fresh and creates desire. By innovating, you will stay one step ahead of your competitors and have a great story to tell. Stories make great content for websites and therefore improve your SEO.
Managing your stock is the same as managing your cash flow. Buying stock or styles that don’t sell through fast, basically ties up your money and restricts your growth. Fast growth self-funds itself if you have stock that sells through quickly at a great margin, allowing you to replenish while increasing your bank balance to invest in your business.
If you have any styles that don’t sell quick enough, work out a way to cut your losses and release the cash to invest in good stock. Be careful though as simply discounting will result in consumers thinking you go in sale and therefore may wait for a future sale before they purchase from you.
11. Sales Performance.
Review your sales performance on a regular basis. Look at what sells best and in which colour and size and try to conclude why the sales happened like this. Understanding your sales pattern will help you order the right stock in the future and help when you design your new range of sportswear. If you find you struggle to sell orange gym leggings in XXL, then don’t repeat that mistake.
12. Price Structure.
When you design your range, think about the retail price of each piece, and make sure it makes sense as a range. If you have a legging that sells for £70, then don’t try and sell a sports bra for £80 as consumers won’t expect to pay more for this style.
At the same time, don’t be afraid of price and don’t think you need to be identical or undercut your competition. Consumers will always pay the right price for the right product, so if your sports leggings are better than your competitors, make sure you demonstrate why they are better and charge more.
13. Remember Your Customer.
You might be your target market and if you are, then you simply design new sportswear that you would wear and need. If you are not your customer, then make sure you always have your customer in mind when you design your range of sportswear.
We work with lots of Start-Ups activewear brands that have a clear customer in mind, however, often get swayed by design choices based on personal choice rather than thinking of their target customer.
Product is the king as, without a great product, your business is doomed. Having a great product isn’t enough though as consumers expect great service too. Purchasing from a brand should be an easy and stress-free experience. Having to wait for your shipment or not getting quick replies to any questions raised will result in customers shopping elsewhere. Amazon is a fine example of this with their success being based on speedy dispatch and while you know they may not be the cheapest or best at customer service, knowing your goods can arrive within 24 hrs takes away the stress when buying a product from them.
Work out what level of service your brand should offer and make sure you deliver this.
There is a simple rule for most businesses that 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your effort. Make sure you focus first on the important 20% before you start to work on the rest.
16. Follow Up.
Maintaining loyal customers is far easier and 5 times less expensive than finding new customers all the time. Make sure you engage with your customers and keep them informed of new releases.
Listen to your customers, be it via customer service, questionnaires or sales performance and be prepared to evolve based on this feedback. Ignoring this or thinking you always know better could result in lost opportunities or even worse, lost sales and customers.
If you want to discuss how to grow your sportswear brand, then please get in touch now.