With a pandemic, small vogue retailers are present process reinvention — and entrepreneurs prioritize on-line
Entrepreneurs who work in the sector need to abuse research and analysis of scenarios; see tips
As with other sectors of the economy, the fashion chain has been undergoing transformations since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic and seeks to adapt to meet new customer expectations. In addition to investing in omnichannel performance (or multichannel, a sales strategy that integrates different communication and dissemination channels) and monitoring changes in consumer buying behavior, small businesses in the sector are realizing that the practice of sustainable measures is being increasingly increasingly valued.
According to Sebrae-SP consultant Monica Lemes Padovani, the entrepreneur who works in the sector needs to do a lot of research and analyze different scenarios all the time. “Multichannel performance is already a reality that arrived a few years ago. At the biggest retail event in the world, promoted by the NRF (National Retail Federation) in the United States, this line has been recurring since 2018. The fashion chain is also screaming for sustainability, diversity and inclusion, ”she says.
The survey “Winning Omnichannel 2022: the reformulation of retail in Latin America”, carried out by the consultancy Kantar, reveals that purchases have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels – and still suffer a greater drop in countries where the omnichannel trend has not yet prospered. In addition, economic pressures, such as high inflation and a drop in purchasing power, have resulted in less consumption and greater search for cost-effective product options, always using various research and purchase channels.
Within such a challenging scenario, small business owners have been working to adapt their businesses to an unprecedented scenario of constant change and speed. This is the case of Ronnan Moro, owner of NewQuay, a clothing store that has been working with both men’s and women’s fashion since 2011 in the city of Mogi das Cruzes.
For the businessman, everything that was said about the new world of post-pandemic retail is really happening. “Before, people would come to the store, wanting to try on the clothes, but today it’s all online. They first ask for messages about what they want and then decide whether or not to come here. We continue with delivery both for existing customers and new customers. I have old customers who no longer come to the store”, he says.
Currently, the entrepreneur does not have an e-commerce and maintains his sales through WhatsApp and social networks. Through these channels, your customers find out about new items in stock and ask to see more options. “We had a very big growth in attracting customers. And we are always in touch so people can remember us and come here. We grew from last year to here an average of 10%. Compared to before the pandemic, we had a 30% to 40% increase in revenue”, he celebrates.
The growth can be explained by the investment he has made in online advertising, which helps him to capture customers who would not know about his store if he were only working in the face-to-face model. “Today, 15% of sales are people who buy and don’t come to the store. And this percentage is growing, I’m investing. I’m a neighborhood store, but I serve customers who live 20 kilometers from here, ”he says.
Having your own e-commerce is in the plans for the future, but Ronnan recognizes that he still doesn’t feel ready to take that step. The entrepreneur explains that he is afraid that sales on an online platform could interfere with his relationship with the customer. “I am afraid of not having dialogue. You sell something and the person doesn’t like it, they don’t come and talk. Sometimes it’s an isolated setback, but you don’t get a chance to explain, to talk. So I only want to go online when I have built a differentiated shopping experience,” he says.
The entrepreneur also recognizes the importance of sustainability for his business. In addition to adopting measures at his establishment to avoid wasting natural resources, he also works with suppliers who value the use of sustainable items. “Here I receive goods produced with recyclable materials. I have parts made by recycling PET bottles, for example,” he says.
To take advantage of opportunities and be increasingly aware of industry trends, Ronnan observes the behavior of the competition and invests his time in training. “I participated in the specific program for the fashion chain that took place at Sebrae in Mogi das Cruzes. I realized that many controls and much of the management that I thought I did right were actually not 100%. Now we are also able to make better use of commemorative dates and we have had our stock ready for the World Cup for some time now”, he says.
Entrepreneur Debora Braito owns the clothing brand Miss Plus Size, aimed at plus-size women’s fashion. The entrepreneur also participated in the program aimed at entrepreneurs of the fashion chain in Mogi and is aimed mainly at women in the 25 to 45 age range. Debora also began to notice a different buying behavior among her clients. “Before all these changes in scenery, my customers were buying more. Today, customers are more withdrawn. Many people lost their jobs. Sales are more controlled. Inflation is also high and even food is very expensive”, she evaluates.
Although she makes fewer sales, Debora does not see a negative impact on her billing, despite noting that at this time of year the market should already be more heated. “Sales are down. I think the financial situation in general is having an impact. Customers are buying less and are more discerning. So instead of buying five tops, for example, they buy three,” she says.
To compensate for this scenario, the entrepreneur invests in the quality of service and ensures that her customers are loyal. So much so that she wants to set up an e-commerce to help her cope with the number of orders. “I want to serve customers who call me on WhatsApp at dawn and I can’t speak. But my biggest sale is still in person. All the WhatsApp groups I set up during the pandemic continue to work and are very important, ”she says.
With the training she took at Sebrae-SP, Debora reveals that she learned how to use the “live shopping” resource (sales made during a live product presentation) so as not to run out of stock. “I buy fewer pieces to keep in stock and I always have news. Although most of the sales happen in person, online is where I show the news and call my clients”, she says.
to stay tuned
For Sebrae-SP consultant Monica Lemes Padovani, responsible for the Fashion Chain program in the Alto Tietê region, these are the main issues that entrepreneurs in the segment should be aware of:
- Discover and implement digital transformation actions and tools in your business, investing in online sales and actions such as “live shopping”. Keeping an eye on trends and empowering yourself to do so is essential to succeed;
- Connect your business to ESG commitments – a set of standards and best practices that aim to define whether a company is socially aware, sustainable and correctly managed. Sustainability is not a trend, it is already a reality;
- Consumers tend to prefer sustainable brands and be loyal to those who pay attention to recycling practices, for example. For small businesses, it is possible to follow these trends and disseminate them to their customers.