Suppose you are in charge of an e-commerce website or you own a brick-and-mortar store. In that case, there will be many obstacles along the way you will need to overcome, but among the most significant challenges you will encounter will need to stock up on particular styles that your consumers want.
Product sourcing is a mastering art since you must ensure that you always have the right products in your store, virtual or physical, at the right time. One of the most common mistakes that should be avoided is, for example, selling out all the popular styles or having large quantities of things that don’t sell.
So what you can find here is the guide that will help you understand better everything there is to know about product sourcing for your fashion business.
What does Product Sourcing Represent?
Product sourcing is a process through which you find and purchase products you will sell to your customers.
Product sourcing has many forms, including buying from wholesalers or going directly to manufacturers or labels. Also, a combination of the strategies mentioned can be particularly successful.
Before beginning product sourcing, there are a couple of things to know, understand what customers want and their taste, stay updated with the current trends and align with what your competitors are selling. The number one rule of product sourcing that should lead you in running your fashion store is that you only buy what you need and when you need it.
The most important thing is to refrain from indent if you want a successful fashion business; hence, avoid preordering a collection 4 to 12 months ahead using a significant minimum spend.
Indenting six months in advance is considered a hazardous strategy for buying items since there are a couple of things you need to keep up with, forecasting everything from trends for different seasons to stock requirements, cash flow, and trade levels of a customer.
Technology is Prepping the Fashion Industry for the Future
Technology is helping product sourcing reach one level up. Among many exciting platforms and software that can be used for creating unique and original products, the Unmade software stands out as a platform that can be navigated easily and used as a great product source.
In addition, Unmade with a sustainable approach is designed to take over the manufacturing process, creating customized items with the exact cost and speed as mass-produced items.
Product Research is a Necessity
Current trends and seasonal influences will affect the products you decide to source. So, there are a couple of ways to constantly be updated and avoid guesswork by getting trustworthy information, and gives you insight into what to stock in your store:
- Find a free tool to help you see the number of people searching for something online. For example, you can type search terms for items you are considering sourcing and see how many people were looking for those selected items. These kinds of tools allow you to look at search volume connected to specific locations and provide suggestions for searches of a similar type.
- Another way is browsing best-seller lists on brands of the brands you like and can compare to. Review the trending items, and filter that down to see what can be accessible for your customer.
- Sift through fashion magazines and lookbooks. This way, you can understand what can be forecasted as next season’s trends, and you will closely observe those trends hitting your favorite brands. By perusing, you can get hints about the next season’s biggest trends while watching high-end retailers’ pre-release marketing.
Social media as a product source
Social media is the place where most of the labels and wholesalers are active. So the best way to contact them is by checking their social media accounts. This can be used as one more way to source products for your fashion business.
For example, you can contact brands directly through their accounts on Instagram. The good side is that the app can be used for brand research: you can get information on their products’ popularity and target demographic.
Direct work with labels
After social media, direct work with clothing designers and labels is another option.
To be able to do this, many different labels would need to be researched, including those that fit your ideal price range. After that, you’ll need to contact designers directly and order items for your store.
Competition is enormous, especially when starting a small online fashion business. Still, since product sourcing removed the supply hurdle, your business can undoubtedly become successful and profitable.