Starting your Men's Fashion Brand in 2020 - Sales and Logistics

Starting your Men's Fashion Brand in 2020 - Sales and Logistics

Thank you once again for checking out our guide to starting a men’s fashion brand. In this latest post we are going to cover the various sales channels at your disposal, as well as the logistic considerations involved in getting your product to your customer.

Sales Channels

I think it is fairly obvious at this point that the most attractive option at the moment is the online retail game, where you sell directly to the consumer, and for good reason. You get to maintain full control of your catalog and you keep a much higher portion of the profit. Online advertising and influencers are not quite as cheap as they used to be but are still a really good deal in relative terms when you compare it to traditional advertising which is extremely difficult to measure. With online sales, you can direct your customer down a funnel through a number of different touchpoints and Call to Actions (CTAs), all of which you have full control over.

However, you should not completely close yourself off to other sales channels, which could be just as lucrative. Personally, I am a firm believer in never saying never. Right now we are focused on crushing the online game and building our brand, but if an attractive offer to sell to some large retailer came along, I certainly would not be saying no. Some of the channels at your disposal include:

 

  1. Online direct to consumer.
  2. Online through large retailers e.g. Boohoo.
  3. Online through Dropshippers
  4. Traditional Retail.
  5. Business to Business Wholesale. E.g. providing branded swag for a large business.

 

Here is an excerpt from our Business Plan, which describes our sales channels, as well our logistics process.

 

 

Up at the top we have all of our potential customers identified and everything feeds up to meet the customer. Illustrating your steps in this manner is actually extremely helpful to help make the journey clearer in your own head. In this diagram, this is our ideal scenario which we will work towards. Worth noting that until we are in a position to scale, there is no way we will be able to use an e-fulfillment service because it works out much too expensive. Essentially this is a company which handles the warehousing, picking your order once it is placed online, and then ships it to your customer without you ever having to touch it. They also take care of any returns on your behalf. A solid option if you if are already established and have a very high margin product, leaving you to focus on what you do best. For us, that would be product design, marketing, and content creation.

 

Ecommerce Platforms

I would strongly recommend an out of the box e-commerce platform which allows you to build and manage your website like any other Content Management System (CMS) but is specifically for selling products online. Shopify and Squarespace are the best-known examples and in my opinion, there are several advantages to this approach:

  • Upfront Cost –At $30 per month, Shopify is definitely a very cost-effective way of getting a site up to sell your products without having to pay large sums of money to get a developer to build out a site, and every time they touch your product thereafter.
  • They Make Money When You Make Money –They charge a commission on every sale you make, which would scare a lot of people off, but for me this means that they are invested in supporting their users through a very lucrative incentive for them. This means that there are a plethora of plug-ins from email marketing to page builders which integrate directly with these platforms.
  • Digital Marketing – You have a drastically simpler time getting your digital foundation set up with one of these platforms which assist with SEO, Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics.
  • CrowdSource Solutions –These platforms have an extremely large userbase, meaning that if you encounter issues, you are only ever a YouTube video away from finding a solution.

 

Logistics Providers

If you, like us, don’t yet have the capability to pay for an e-fulfillment service, or you could never see yourself justifying that cost, you will need to partner up with some form of courier service. Some of the ones available to us here in Cork include DHL, DPD, and GLS. We went with GLS because their rates are pretty cost-effective and the most important element for us starting out is that we received the human experience of one of their account managers making two separate trips to our office to meet with us and get us set up. For anyone getting started, this step is an intimidating one and the extra bit of hand-holding made all the difference for us in choosing a provider.

Most providers will be pretty much on par when it comes to domestic shipping rates and will also offer an online service where you can organize for your orders to be collected from their own web portal. Most of these companies will also provide fulfillment services like warehousing, pick and ship, etc. Just be conscious that these costs can add up, so go with the bare minimum you need until your product is in high demand and you are in a position to scale.