How to Conduct Fashion Market Research Like a Pro
A designer needs to have a firm understanding of his/her customers. It is important for fashion professionals to know about the latest fashion trends and ongoing scenarios in the fashion industry, and to facilitate sourcing this information, fashion market research comes into play.
Market research in fashion helps create a ground for designers to gain insight into how to come up with decisions that are not only informed but also well-guided when it comes to building a business. The number one misunderstanding about market research involved when to carry it out.
A lot of companies in fashion spend a ton of time, money, and energy on building a product and then move on to select target customers by entrusting marketing professionals with the job. But this is the wrong approach. First, the customer at hand needs to be considered and researched about, and then the designer can move on to design something around those requirements.
2020 brought with it added challenges of the pandemic, and hence, now it has become all the more important for a fashion professional to know which projects to invest in and why. This is exactly where the role of market research in fashion comes in. Market research would provide one with a broad overview of the best players in the field, the toughest competition one could face, and the niche of the audience that one particularly wants to target and why.
Market research further helps in ensuring a fixed budget or a fixed investment that one would need to garner from either outside sources or through self-finance. Doing thorough market research then helps in having a concrete idea about the cumulative costs the business could incur in due time.
The Five Ps of Market Research in Fashion:
- People: ‘people’ here refers to the person owning the brand as well as the customer. There has to be a clear line of communication between the designer and the customer. So when one is performing market research, the designer needs to understand whom he or she is selling products to.
- Place: a place where one will host one’s merchandise is of as much importance as the product one is selling. So as a brand owner, it is important to understand the location where most of the target audience of the brand is likely to reach. This can be an online platform like a fashion website or a mall outlet where the clothes that the brand produces can be sold at retail prices.
- Product: this is one of the most obvious steps. However, it must be kept in mind that the market research would differ for boutique owners and cut and sew labels.
- Price: Again, researching the prices at which the competitors are selling their designs is very important. The trick is to strike a balance between the actual expenses one is incurring while making a particular design and the price at which the same design is usually sold in the market.
- Promotion: this would typically mean knowing how to and when to market the product. A little research into advertising goes a long way in making sure that the clothing venture is profitable in the long run.
Types of Market Research:
Market research in fashion is primarily of two kinds: primary and secondary. The two kinds are discussed in detail below.
Primary Market Research:
This kind of research typically consists of data that is retrieved on a first-hand basis within the fashion industry. The process can be quite lengthy and cumbersome but very effective since the variables and stats collected are directly relevant to the kind of business one might be building.
Here are some of the best ways to conduct primary research for the fashion industry:
- Making Use of Online Survey Tools: With the help of online survey tools, fashion professionals can know about prospective customers and target audience and plan accordingly.
- Conducting Personalized Interviews: Fashion professionals can also conduct online and personalized interviews with fashion brands and know about their success journey and story to learn more about the fashion industry.
- Building Focus Groups for Trusted Feedback: Instead of conducting personalized interviews, a designer can engage in discussions with smaller groups within the industry, who have a fair knowledge of the workings of the industry. These small groups or focus groups can then provide honest feedback and opinions about the kind of clothing one is aiming to make, and based on such feedback, one can make an informed decision.
- Conducting Field Research: Field research consists of carrying out a thorough examination of the information available in the market. This could typically include understanding current fashion trends, understanding consumer behavior, and the longevity of a particular trend in the market. Field research is probably one of the most effective ways through which a designer can carry out market research.
- Conducting User Testing on Probable Consumers: It simply involves trying out the new designs on potential customers in select outlets or select groups. This way a designer can ascertain the kind of effect one would have in the market.
Secondary Market Research
This kind of research typically involves gathering information about the industry from already published sources. This would include reading up on articles, browsing through fashion magazines or watching pre-conducted interviews. The data one requires is already made available. The only requirement is to select and omit the data that would be relevant to the business and analyze the trends. The stats that one gets after analysis would help in making an informed decision about the business.
Designers normally conduct secondary research through one of the following ways:
- White papers and market data and reports
- Case studies and data that are available on the web. This could include everything from websites of competitors to informative blogs and listicles on the current trends.
- Websites covering news on the fashion industry
- Google trend search, lists of relevant SEO keywords, and other trending topics
- Statistics that are received from research carried out by the government
With every passing day, the fashion industry is becoming more and more challenging with the latest trends, and it has now become crucial to understand them. Fashion professionals should know about the target market and latest trends, which can be achieved with the help of fashion market research. Fortunately, the demands of the customers are more understandable with the help of social media. Fashion professionals can benefit from social media to engage a wider range of target audiences by deploying regular online surveys and gathering information about their needs and desires now and then. Effective fashion market research provides valuable insights to help fashion professionals make confident decisions for the remarkable growth of their fashion business.