How to Start & Run a Community Clothing Store

How to Start & Run a Community Clothing Store

I. Positioning


1.Customer Group Positioning


Why do I choose to be a community clothing store? Compared with commercial complexes, community stores pay more attention to providing personalized clothing matching suggestions to meet the clothing needs of local customers, and have a sense of life experience and social attributes; compared with studios, community stores are more concerned about providing a complete shopping experience, not just product design.


The target group of community stores is very clear, and most of the people who come into the store to spend money are residents of the community and the surrounding neighborhoods. Before opening a store, you need to do two aspects of preparation:

(1) Research the target market and identify the age, gender, occupation and consumption habits of potential customers.

(2) Conducting market research and analysis to more accurately understand the specific needs of the target customer base.

Community stores are more terminal-oriented, focusing on experience, and the visual presentation of the scene space will be more in line with the social background of the community in which they are located. The layout of the store space pays more attention to the sense of atmosphere, so that users feel friendly and relaxed. The store will also organize some offline activities to enhance social attributes. Community stores are based on serving the surrounding residents, building long-term relationships with customers, understanding the preferences of different users, and providing personalized services. In short, community stores can bring unique social business value because they are closer to consumers' lives. In addition to the sales and after-sales services that community stores can provide, professional matching, VIP management and cultivating customer lifetime value are also additional services of community stores.


2. Business district positioning

Regarding how community stores should attract customers, we are currently focusing on residents of the surrounding community. When choosing a shopping district, consider transportation accessibility, foot traffic and the degree of match with the target customer base. Compare and analyze the performance of competitors in the same business district in order to make more targeted strategic decisions.

Dr. Leng Yun believes that community-based stores ultimately rely on a circle of contacts, and that the cost of communicating between familiar customers and store owners declines over time. Indeed, a community store's customer base can form a relatively open "private domain". If you have good products and services, word of mouth is the most common way to promote them. In order to increase the contact and interaction with customers and keep them active, we will keep updating new products quickly every week and discover customers' hidden needs in the communication. The distance between the community store and the customer is relatively closer, and many of our customers not only have the need to consume, but also have the need to listen and communicate. From these interactions, we can get a lot of information to help select new models. At present, we are using independent design styles, compared with shopping malls can respond faster to the market and customer demand, but also in the product has a certain degree of uniqueness.


In terms of store operations, the operation of community stores needs to emphasize offline scene creation to create a comfortable social space. Reading areas, pantries, etc. can be set up. Store staff need to be trained in psychology to communicate actively with customers; familiar customers should be received in a considerate manner. Online channels also need to continue to maintain, share customer try-on and life photos, spread store culture. Some lectures or new product launches can also be organized regularly to enhance user stickiness. It is also necessary to manage customer information with the help of data-based methods for accurate marketing. If you can integrate online and offline resources to provide customers with abundant social business value, it is the key to the success of community stores.


3.Goods positioning

My store has now been over five years precipitation, customers to buy back mainly, annual sales of about 3 million, 70 square meters of store, 1-2 employees. We do not take the membership recharge system, but to win customer recognition with products and services. Dr. Leng Yun thinks this is a very considerable performance in the commercial street. Some of my friends have asked what is the core competitiveness of my small store to maintain this performance. I think our core competitiveness lies in focusing on products and customer relationship, designing close to customers' needs, being customer value oriented, and ensuring high quality products and stable supply chain. Based on the analysis of customer groups, we will choose products that meet their tastes and budgets, and ensure the diversity of products to meet the needs of different customer groups.


At present, the store has established a stable customer circle, but still adhere to the unique design style of the independent brand, so as not to produce homogeneous competition. And all along, we emphasize the emotional value of the products, not just the functionality. We dig deep into the clothing demands and lifestyles of our target users, and carry out precise positioning. Provide attentive service to build trust with customers, thus realizing a high repurchase rate. These factors combine to cultivate the store's core competitive advantage.


II. Operation

1.Sales channels

For the future development of community stores, currently rely mainly on offline channels, of course, I also see the need for online channels, so I plan to increase online investment in the second half of the year. In the face of the current trend of changes in the way the retail industry operates, we will further improve the integration of online and offline operations. Online, we will open online stores, enrich graphic content and videos, and conduct online marketing. Offline, we will maintain the community atmosphere and provide rich experiences. At the same time, we will consider expanding the size of our stores, enriching product categories, and opening branches to capture more business growth points. But the core is still to serve our existing customers well, because customer lifetime value is the basis of business. We will also strengthen data management to achieve more accurate customer marketing while maintaining the friendly store atmosphere in community stores.


Regarding the category and operation strategy, my friends gave me some suggestions during the discussion. Maggie Yulan suggested adopting the strategy of combining online and offline for different customer segments. Maggie Yulan suggested to combine online and offline strategies for different customer segments, for example, highlighting the main styles online, while keeping the richness and diversity offline, so as to better attract traffic. Dr. Leng Yun also thinks that community stores don't need to be uniform in style, and that keeping the fireworks is more effective in attracting customers. These suggestions are very useful to me, and I plan to make adjustments to realize them in my next store.


2. Preparation for opening a store


Based on my own experience, I would like to offer the following suggestions on how to successfully open and operate a community store:

The first is site selection, to choose a location with sufficient foot traffic and a matching target population. You can consider the downtown area, commercial streets, high-grade residential areas, and so on. The size of the site and the decoration style should match the brand positioning, and attention should be paid to creating a cozy space atmosphere. In terms of in-store moving line design, every link from the customer entering the store to paying and leaving needs to be smooth in order to reduce customer waiting time.

Next is the selection of products, to pay close attention to the needs of target users, to provide diversified but in line with the brand style of goods, and optimize the layout of goods and shopping guide services in order to provide a more personalized shopping experience. Some lifestyle products can be added appropriately to enrich the shopping experience. It is important to emphasize the sincerity and emotional value of the merchandise, and not to drift into merchandise planning.

Store staff training is also critical. It is important to cultivate staff's communication skills and empathy, so that customers can feel sincere service. It is important to provide additional services such as thoughtful advice on what to wear. At the same time, it is important to focus on customer relationship maintenance, establish customer profiles, and conduct accurate marketing.

The online and offline integration operation should not be ignored. It is important to synchronize and update product information to consolidate user memory. In-store activities can be shared through social media to spread brand culture. It is also necessary to use data for customer analysis to realize precise marketing.


Finally, entrepreneurs should have emotional intelligence and aesthetic ability to pay attention to the subtle needs of users. Also have a business mind, good supply chain management and team building. Only by sincerely serving users can community stores successfully gain a foothold.


Only by knowing enough about the target users and being able to provide customers with high-quality goods, create a cozy atmosphere and promote sincere service is the key for a community store to gain a competitive advantage. I sincerely hope that these suggestions will provide some inspiration and reference for those who want to start their own business.


3. Operation Management

For a community store, good products and good service are two very important points to retain customers. In terms of products, I have always insisted on uniform pricing, but many people think that uniform pricing is difficult to operate because consumers always hope to buy cheaply from the psychological point of view. But I think too low prices also damage the credibility of the company. Employees will also be frustrated because they are often faced with counter-offers. That's why I recommend that community stores stick to uniform pricing, especially in neighborhoods where people know each other well, so as not to break the rules of favoritism, which is the key to staying afloat. However, pricing should also take into account the level of peers, not too high or too low. Of course, for the disposal of non-selling products, I will bear the loss myself, which is the risk of buying out the goods.

In terms of store staff management, I'm still exploring better ways to manage them. At present, I will first clarify the job requirements, and then select people to match the job, management is to serve this purpose. On the other hand, it is also necessary to establish a standardized store workflow, so that employees are clear about their scope of responsibility. I will emphasize to the staff that in addition to being familiar with the products, they should also be able to empathize with the consumers' emotions and have empathy and communication skills when facing customers. When encountering consumer disputes, they should resolve them politely and not confront customers directly. And provide multi-channel after-sales support, including phone calls, online chats and emails.


In the management of the store staff, through some psychology and communication skills training, to enhance the staff's "soft power". Target assessment system can be set, but pay attention to the method, do not over-emphasize the KPIs lead to staff pressure. It is lucky to find the right staff. Managers should care about staff growth and provide training opportunities. I also have regular job evaluations and life exchanges with employees to help them solve their problems. Creating a cozy working atmosphere is also important. Only when employees have a sense of belonging to the company will they work with full dedication. In conclusion, choosing the right people is the core of store management, and choosing good people and establishing good systems is the key to store management.


3.How to do a good job of private domain retention through online


For online promotion, I plan to focus on building my personal IP and hire a professional team for new media operation. Because I myself have less experience and limited energy for online operation. We will also develop online stores and provide online shopping services. But the main focus will be on offline experience, with online as a supplement. In terms of channels, Dr. Leng Yun advised me to be cautious in choosing matrix operation at the beginning, because matrix operation is not necessarily suitable for everyone, and you should choose the way that best fits you. My current content is product-oriented, and the content hopes to highlight my own wearing aesthetic and attitude towards life. At the same time spread the store culture and interact with users. Don't want to over-commercialize, but rather maintain a sense of sincerity of a community store. The plan is to combine online channels and use data tools to analyze the promotional effect before carrying out accurate marketing. Hope to enhance the brand influence through online and offline linkage.

At present, I think what I especially need to learn is how to tell a good story and make the content have tension. As a result, my rue friends have given me a lot of relevant advice. For example, Maggie Yulan encouraged me to start accumulating experience from finding the first entry point, and I can take a certain scripted approach to increase the fun; at the same time, I can pay attention to the hot topics on platforms such as Jieyin and Xiaohongshu, and incorporate them into the content to get recommendations on the flow; in addition to cooperating with some online celebrities and artists is also a very good opportunity for exposure.

I still have a lot to learn on the way of learning how to operate new media and deliver values. After thinking about it, I think my core value lies in my persistent pursuit of product design and my insight into the subtle needs of users. I can create my personal image as a "product designer" and build my IP content in the following ways:

(1) Output the story of how I find design inspiration, and share my favorite places to shop, designer brands, and so on. You can also use your fashionable lifestyle as a clue to tell about your exquisite life.
(2) Output content about how to discover your own unique style and share selection criteria and tips;
(3) Disseminate elegant and sincere life aesthetics and positive personal style, delivering an elegant and warm atmosphere;
(4) You can also share some management ideas, such as staff motivation, customer service, maintenance of old customers and other team building experiences.

In addition to articles and videos, audio podcasts can also be conducted to gradually enrich the content and form. The content does not pursue traffic, but needs to accumulate accumulation to build personal influence. I will grasp the degree and keep sincerity as the first priority. After accumulating a certain number of private domain users, we can establish a personal connection with our customers through the use of social media platforms (e.g. WeChat, Weibo, etc.). Personalized tweets and offers are sent regularly to increase user engagement. Data analytics tools can also be used to track user behavior and buying patterns to optimize our products and services. Traffic is not the ultimate goal. We hope that our output can become part of users' lives, thus establishing emotional connections with more people and enabling more people to understand our brand concept.


Author summary

1. Positioning

1. Customer group positioning: Research the target market and identify the age, gender, occupation and consumption habits of potential customers. Conduct market research and analysis to more accurately understand the specific needs of target customer groups.
2. Business district positioning When selecting a business district, transportation convenience, flow of people, and matching with the target customer group should be considered. Comparatively analyze the performance of competitors in the same business district to make more targeted strategic decisions.
3. Product positioning: Based on customer group analysis, select products that match their taste and budget. Ensure product diversity to meet the needs of different customer groups.

2. Operation

1. Sales channels plan to increase online investment in the second half of the year and improve integrated online and offline operations. Open an online store online, enrich graphic content and videos, and conduct online marketing. Offline, the community atmosphere is maintained and a rich experience is provided.

2. Preparation for opening a store

Location selection: Considering the flow of people and crowd matching, every step of the online movement from customers entering the store to paying and leaving needs to be smooth to reduce customer waiting time.
Product selection: Pay attention to the needs of target users, optimize product layout and shopping guide services, and appropriately add some lifestyle products. Pay attention to the sincerity and emotional value of the product.
Store clerk: Cultivate employees' communication skills and empathy, so that customers can feel sincere service. It’s important to provide additional services such as thoughtful outfit suggestions. At the same time, we must pay attention to maintaining customer relationships, establishing customer files, and conducting precision marketing.
Online and offline integrated operations: synchronously update product information, share in-store activities through social media, use data to conduct customer analysis, and achieve precision marketing.

3. Operation management

Insisting on consistent pricing so that no favors break the rules is key to staying on the right foot. In terms of store staff management, a standardized store work process should be established to allow employees to clarify their scope of responsibilities. Make your after-sales policy clear and make sure all employees are familiar with it. It is also important to conduct regular work evaluations and life exchanges with employees to create a warm working atmosphere. Selecting the right people and employing them well is the core of store management.

4. How to retain private domains online

I hope to create a personal IP and highlight my own dressing aesthetic and life attitude. At the same time, spread the store culture and interact with users. While maintaining the sincerity of a community store, we also establish an online expression method to convey the brand's philosophy and our own attitude towards beauty and life to more people.

In terms of marketing, through private domain accumulation online, social media platforms (such as WeChat, Weibo, etc.) can be used to establish personal connections with customers. Send personalized push notifications and offers regularly to increase user engagement. And can use data analysis tools to track user behavior and purchasing patterns to optimize products and services.

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