Today we want to discuss in-person fashion showrooms: opportunities and challenges. Having an online store is essential in the modern business landscape. It’s one of the major lessons business owners learned from the current economic situation, especially during the pandemic. In fact, companies that took advantage of eCommerce platforms in selling their products and services fared much better compared to those that stuck with the traditional methods. (1)
That’s why many fashion designers now wonder if an in-person showroom is still a good idea. It’s a popular question in the fashion industry nowadays, especially among new designers who are either at a business turning point or still starting with their careers.
So, what’s the magical answer to this popular question? The truth is that it depends. That’s because opening an in-person fashion showroom comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look below at the opportunities and challenges that in-person fashion showrooms present.
Opportunities in starting an-person fashion showroom
An in-person showroom presents the following opportunities:
- A personalized shopping experience
Despite all of the advancements it provides, online shopping still can’t compete with the personalized experience that comes with a Paris showroom or fashion showrooms in any other location.
That’s why a good number of people still prefer the old-fashioned way of shopping for clothing products. For these shoppers, it’s all about having a close interaction with a product and understanding its pros and cons before shelling money for it. In-person fashion showrooms present that kind of opportunity for consumers. This means that people won’t only read product and customer reviews online. Also, they’ll get to walk up and down the store’s aisles, listen to the showroom’s background music for the day, and take the time to browse the available items carefully.
Moreover, in-person fashion showrooms provide an immersive experience that online shopping just can’t parallel. That’s because eCommerce platforms only provide a brief product description. That said, customers can’t use their senses like sight, touch, and even smell to really feel a specific item’s quality.
- Support for an existing eCommerce website
Having an eCommerce website doesn’t mean you don’t have to have an in-person fashion showroom anymore. The truth is that storefronts present an excellent opportunity for brands to increase business awareness and reach.
It may require aggressive cross-channel marketing on your part, but businesses complementing their fashion websites with showrooms can enjoy significant increases in sales. (2)
- Quick product return process for customers
There’s always the possibility of a customer needing to return one of your products. The problem is that returning an item bought online can be a headache for the seller and the buyer. In fact, many shoppers agree that returning a product to an eCommerce store is rarely as straightforward as purchasing it. (3)
With an in-person fashion showroom, you can offer a more simplistic return process. Shoppers will even have the chance to discuss their returns verbally.
Challenges in running an in-person fashion showroom
There are challenges to having an in-person fashion showroom. They include:
- Paying the daily or monthly rent
An in-person fashion showroom allows designers to put their collections in front of their market, giving them the chance to create brand awareness and accelerate revenue growth. However, if you don’t own the space, a typical showroom will charge you a daily or monthly rental fee.
So, ask yourself this question: can you afford the rent for at least six months? Yes, six months. That’s because a fashion showroom will need to educate its buyers and make them comfortable, like any new product, service, or brand introduction. And, you need six or more months for that to start seeing results.
- Searching for the perfect location
If you’re thinking about opening a fashion showroom, it’s essential to find a space where many people pass every day. Remember that fashion stores live primarily on passing customers because getting buyers outside your location can be difficult and costly.
Sure, the rent for a showroom in a mediocre location is lower. However, the cost of generating a sale will easily exceed it. Therefore, think about the location carefully.
- Having to follow fashion trends constantly
The average life expectancy of fashion products is six months. (4) Fashion products lose almost all of their value beyond that timeframe. That’s why you always have to do your best to sell your fashion items as soon as possible.
In-person and online fashion shopping both are diverse experiences. That’s why it isn’t really a good idea to compare them to each other. That said, there’s no right or wrong method for your fashion business. Do you know what a good idea is? A balance between the two, where you let an in-person fashion showroom complement your fashion brand’s website.
- “Which Companies Did Well During The Coronavirus Pandemic?”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rohitarora/2020/06/30/which-companies-did-well-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/?sh=b972f017409f
- “Benefits Of Combining Digital With Traditional Marketing”, Source: https://www.techfunnel.com/martech/benefits-of-combining-digital-with-traditional-marketing/
- “Online Shopping Makes It Easier For Consumers, But Returns Are Still A Hassle”, Source: https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-retail-returns-1228-biz-20161227-story.html
- “A Brief Introduction To The Business Of Fashion”, Source: https://440industries.com/a-brief-introduction-to-the-business-of-fashion/