Growing your customer base is hard, especially online. Sometimes you have to get in front of the customer in-person to practice your sales skills and get one-on-one feedback. How do you do this? Say ‘hello’ to the trunk show.
A trunk show is typically a private event where clients attend by invitation. Typically, the show is hosted by a current client and will invite their friends to meet your brand in an intimate setting. Nowadays, trunk shows can be open to the public and have co-hosts (or complementary brands) who share their email lists to create an event. The purpose of this is not only to get the new shoppers to know more about the designer but to interact with the customer in a more personal way and make sales. If you’re thinking of organizing or attending a trunk show for your upcoming collection, follow these tips to make the most of it.
Pick a host (or co-host)
Think of your host as a partner – they can help make or break an event – and, if they love your product, can actually do most of the selling for you. Whether you pick an old-school intimate client host and try a partner brand co-host depends on the occasion, but we suggest trying both out.
PRO TIP: If you go with an individual, pick someone who you know loves your brand already and consider offering to dress them for the event or gift them a piece for helping coordinate and open their address book. If you start with a co-host, make sure they have a similar client demographic and are non-competitive (accessories and fashion are often the winning pair).
Run the party (with a plan)
Set goals. Make a plan with the minimum of orders you want for production and have social media handles and site url visible either on promotions or signs to stimulate followers and subscribers. Share these goals with your host. They can be your best salesman to get to the guests in and shopping. Plan to be there a minimum of two to three hours and a maximum of five hours as the typical event will be around 2-3 hours.
PRO TIP: Think about how you will plan a strategy or handout to direct them to your Nineteenth Amendment Showroom to purchase. If they do not purchase immediately, encourage them to follow you online. This is how you will connect with them on a constant basis so it is very important to not forget promoting the website or social medias.
Make it personal
Send a personal invitation to the guests with an RSVP for the event. If you are nervous about attendance, develop a theme that makes it special. Try to think about upcoming holidays and look for what they like the most such as colors, styles, and more. Ask your host to give his/her feedback to provide the right product at the show. This will help you decide which garments you will be presenting at the show.
PRO TIP: We suggest you select a minimum of five and a maximum of fifteen. You can try teasing out one or two items before hand, but save the full capsule for a big reveal!
Prepare your samples and production pipeline
Be smart about your trunk show – carrying inventory is a pain, whether it’s physically or on the books. How do you avoid this? On your Nineteenth Amendment account, get a bid from a manufacturer a week or so before the show and mention the event. After the show, submit the PO within the week for fast delivery to clients. Take orders by showing sample pieces of your collection.
PRO TIP: In our trunk shows, we have found attendees actually don’t try on clothes at a trunk show. Typically they will socialize and shop until the end when the majority of purchases take place.
Get feedback, make sales
Mingling is an important aspect of the trunk show. Do not stay behind a table or a booth; interact with every guest that visits your show. Talk about your product but also ask questions to make them feel special and identify what they are looking for. Give them tips and advice on how to style and wear each piece. It is important that you get to know them but that they also get to know you (your brand).
PRO TIP: Don’t be shy! Do not wait for them to ask you questions. Find a way to make them interact with your product or your online store at the show; perhaps, by seeing more variety (color, style, etc) or by making an order.
Give a promotion
This doesn’t have to be a discount or an expensive gift. Offer some kind of deal to the customers to keep them engaged with your brand even after they leave.
PRO TIP: A small branded gift can make them into a brand rep even without purchasing. Consider partnering with another product company that does branded merchandise to offer gift bags or discounts together.
Re-engage with them after the show by sending thank you notes to the host and guests. What’s next? Now that the customers know you and your brand, they will be more willing to buy your collections. They are subscribed to the site and you have their information – this is your opportunity to maintain communication with them to help you spread the word and come back to your website or store.
PRO TIP: If they didn’t purchase at the show, consider offering a discount to purchase in the next 24 hours only. You may get be able to capitalize on the fear-of-missing-out and make additional sales!
Interested in learning more about how Nineteenth Amendment can help power your trunk show?