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Launching a fashion collection (the way the pros do it)

Collection launch is an exciting time and can create a sales boost as powerful as Christmas: You can literally take control and create your own event on the calendar. It’s not just about new product though, it’s about the build up, awareness and promotion of your launch too. In this blog we look at the strategies behind a good brand, collection and product launch. Read on to learn about the launch tactics that you can use today to increase your brand’s performance.


Pic – Khristopher Roller

Launching a collection is a big deal like a band launching an album. It can be tempting to be cautious about the event but marketing is about adding value and shining a light on a story – not playing it down. If you’ve got great quality products, captivating product descriptions and great photography, you’ve got a story to tell and a launch that’s worth listening to. If you haven’t, you might not be ready to launch. Start by making your collection look incredible so that you have something to shout from the rooftops.

Hype

Collection launch time is when all of your products and content is new, and customers love new stuff. It can be the hottest time for conversion rate for that reason. Creating a sense of anticipation and scarcity can turn this heat up to fever pitch if you plan a buildup well. Leaking a few photos and macros of what’s coming soon creates an anticipation and plays on public curiosity. Remember, once you’ve launched, it’s not new anymore. So squeeze every drop you can out of the build up.

One way you can do this is to not launch all in one go dropping say, 3 items in the first batch like an EP will open the floodgates. Dropping one new design a week after that keeps your launch alive for many weeks. Plus, many customers who bought the first design can stay with the story and buy another.

In your buildup never show your full hand. B-roll, out takes, macros and cryptic closeups can build suspense whilst keeping your best stuff ready for when you finally push the content online. And when you do, choose a good time – people are active online in the evenings and you might be free to really go hard on promotion on a weekend. So a weekend launch might be a good idea.

Traffic

So while the conversion rate is at it’s highest point on launch, we want the maximum amount of traffic to take advantage of those sales. Take the time leading up to the launch to plan this. By gathering followers leading up to the event, you can boost your best posts to maximise the number of people that visit your store – if you have some followers already, Facebook will show it to them and their friends, and automatically work out similar folks for your ad to be delivered to. Make that ad amazing. You can also send out a press release to anyone who is relevant from your local paper to a magazine, blog or paper that is relevant to your brand. You can add an embargo, which means that you request it is not published until your launch date. Sending this ahead of time gives you a chance to call and check it was received or sell the recipient on why it’s a great story – plus answer any questions they can quote you on in the write-up.

Mailshots

If you have a database already use that mailing list aggressively. People are busy, and skim emails perhaps opening less than one in five promo emails – whilst the writer reads and absorbs every one. So send five times as many as you think you need to.

If you don’t have any data, take a look at our marketing tools. We have secret weapons in Teemill that you can use to target folks who have a relevant interest in your brand. One option is a postcard mailshot, where you can design and send a postcard offer to new customers who might be interested in your brand if there’s a relevant interest

Launch Party

You’ve probably worked super hard to build your collection and it’s a real achievement to have got to the launch milestone. A party is a cool way for you to enjoy the moment, bring everyone together and get some great content too. Invite as many people as you can and hold it at a cool place that’s relevant to your brand. Create a product with a single colour design, perhaps with your logo, and place a screenprint order of 30-50 items. Once you get over the minimums, prices come down massively with single colour screenprinting via Teemill. You can sell these at your launch party, give them away or offer them as prizes.

It’s totally optional but for a small investment, a bulk order means everyone at your event will be wearing your stuff – so make sure you have at least one photographer on hand to capture all the pictures. Cool people wearing your brand having fun is perfect content for your store, ads and social media. Whilst the design has to stay the same, you can mix and match styles and colours to get lots of variety at a wholesale price. Plus you’ve got a whole group of folks already wearing your stuff around the place and advertising your brand.

Keep Going

After your launch weekend the momentum for your brand will not be sustained unless you keep going. New customers will need to see a brand 7 or more times before making their first purchase. So building a brand and recruiting customers that shop time and again – the foundation of a successful brand – is a long game. Keep going.

And remember, if launch time is as effective as Christmas, why wait a whole year for the next one? That’s why many brands launch loads of newness all year round. You could have one launch and try to make it twice as good, or just do twice as many new collections each year.

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