Knowing your fashion customer

There is one question that everyone will ask you about your fashion business ‘Who is your customer?’ If you’re a designer or retailer, the success of your business will depend on having a clear and concise answer.  

Knowing your customer allows you to build your whole business around providing the products and experiences that they are looking for. The more specific you are about who your customer is, the easier it will be to attract them. Many designers and retailers who are starting out might think that everyone is their target customer, but the opposite is true. Everyone is no-one’s customer. The key to success is finding your niche. 

You should focus on a specific target group and create supporters from within that group. You can always expand your target market after your business starts to grow. If you are just starting out focusing on a niche market can give you the opportunity to get noticed. 

When you think about your fashion business, who is your target customer? Here are some of the first points to consider: 

  • Demographics – their gender, age, income, profession and education 
  • Lifestyle – their location, the leisure activities that they take part in, and where they holiday. 
  • Psychographics – their attitudes, beliefs and values 
  • Buying habits – the brands that they already buy and the segment of the market/price bracket that they shop in 

After establishing your target customer, it’s very important to define their needs. All successful fashion businesses rely on customers who are willing to pay money for products and experiences that meet their specific needs. This means that understanding why your customer is buying from you is important and, in turn, make it easier to give them what they want to buy. 

Spend time in stores, watching the way your target customer shops. Pay attention to the brands and products that they are buying. Ask people that you would consider to be your customer how they live and what their needs are. Listening to customers is vital, as you cannot offer them what they want if you don’t ask them for their opinions and incorporate their views into your decisions to some degree. Once you have a clear vision of your target customer and their needs, it’s important to consider the experience that you offer them. It used to be acceptable to think that product alone makes or breaks a fashion business. This is no longer the case.  

Fashion is a highly competitive industry, with designers and retailers largely offering similar products. In today’s world, it isn’t just enough for a customer to like something and buy it. A fashion business must remember that they’re not just competing with other fashion designers and retailers, they are up against dinner at a fancy restaurant or a weekend break. It’s the customer experience that will set you apart. 

It’s important to engage customers in your target group with experiences that will make your product stand out, attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back for more. Knowing your fashion customer, their needs and creating experiences that keeps them engaged are the best ways to focus your business and give a consistent message that will target customers who want to buy what you’re selling. 

In this short video, previous Fashion Foundry  participants  Kirsteen Stewart,  Pea Cooper  and  Rebecca Torres,  and owner of W2 store, David Mullane, share their experience of customer profiles and needs: 

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