Starting a fashion collaboration with local designers or other retailers can be a great way to boost business hype and sales. If done right, it can help increase foot traffic and increase brand awareness. The massive retailer, Target, has been collaborating with high-end fashion designers for years. Apparel that would normally sell for $1,000 directly from the designer is sold at a fraction of the cost exclusively at Target, for a short period of time. This helps bring attention to both the chain and the designer.
Unfortunately, Target could have done a better job with their recent collaboration with the historic British footwear brand, Hunter. The product was set to launch on Saturday, April 14th, and customers were making plans of action. They were setting alarms and lining up at Target locations hours before the store even opened, but things didn’t go exactly as they had hoped. According to Teen Vogue, there were multiple problems with the launch.
One of the problems was on launch day almost nothing was available. Certain items in the collection were reportedly only available online or in certain stores, making it hard for customers to buy exactly what they wanted. People flocked to Twitter to complain about their experience, saying how they waited forever to get into the store only to find out they had nothing in stock. According to the Chicago Tribune, a woman and her friends stayed up until midnight on Friday, April 20, waiting for the Target website to refresh and see what Hunter items they could snag. The woman stayed up until 3am on the 21st, and still no items were being shown online. Going to bed and waking up at 7am Saturday morning, she went back onto Target’s website, only to find that every Hunter item was out of stock.
This was the same case for many other frustrated customers, but Target has yet to release any more information other than an apology on Twitter for any inconvenience with the collaboration. Those few who were able to snag some of the limited edition Hunter items were not impressed. The women’s tall rain boots were slanted at the top, when the regular Hunter tall rain boots are normally flat.
Smaller retailers have a leg up on huge retailers like Target and Wal-Mart because there isn’t that high demand of customers needing your products in every single state. Instead, you can offer customers a friendly face, a personal one-on-one encounter, and the opportunity to work with other small retailers like yourself to make something unique with love from both stores. A recent Shopify article noted four collaboration ideas for small businesses to help boost sales and make new friends:
Work Together on “Traditional” Promotion
If you’re on a street along with a bunch of small shops, why not all come together to pay for an ad? Ten retailers on a street in Almonte, Ontario contribute monthly for a collective page in a regional food magazine. Instead of it costing them $1,000, they each pay $80 a month.
Work Together on “Traditional” Distribution
The cost of a physical space can be too much for small retailers, especially in a prime location. Sharing a space with another retailer can help cut down on costs and also help grow your business. A man who had a pop-up store in Ottawa, Canada found it hard to pay for a full year lease when that time came around. He collaborated with a man who runs local craft beer tours, and together they built a space at the front of their store that looks like a bar, so customers can refresh and also order customized apparel from the bar.
Launch an Epic, Niche Gift Guide
Instead of jumping right in and pitching your own products, come together with other local retailers and make a unique gift guide with curated selections of gifts from every store. This way you can get your products out to more customers while also promoting other local businesses, driving more attention to the area you’re in rather than just the store. This will bring customers out to shop around in that area.
Create Collaborative Product Lines
Instead of trying to sell everything in your store, support fellow entrepreneurs by bringing them into the retail side of things. Pick a local maker who sells similar items, and create a whole new line to boost hype and draw attention to both businesses.
Try collaborating with local designers and retailers. It’s a cheap and friendly way of bringing more attention to your store and even more attention to your area. Work together as a community and bring a more personalized experience to the customers.