You have come to the point where your brand is doing well in the domestic market, and your immediate thoughts turn to attaining the larger markets and starting to export. This exciting and challenging time needs to be planned from start to finish and these 10 points will help you cover all the bases.
1) Research your competitors – how are they succeeding in the markets you are interested in?
Understand what each market wants and how your competitors are approaching it.
You might find some categories are more popular than others, that the communication is different from one area to the next or some factors are more important than others. How are you going to compete, what makes you different and how are you going to showcase this?
2) Check your supplier’s production capacity
Venturing into the world of exporting means being able to produce and deliver more at the time the market dictates. Check with your supplier the capacity and lead times from the onset, so you don’t run into trouble further down the line when, for example: you need to double your order for a newly acquired agent. You don’t want to invest resources into partnerships with agents or distributors only to fail later when you can’t deliver the samples in time! We have seen too many fail on this count…
3) Have your wholesale and RRP prices
After you have secured the deal with the supplier you should be able to have a precise idea of both the wholesale price and RRP (Recommended Retail Price). It is a good idea to have those in the currency of the country you want to export in, and know which markup applies where. Do your research beforehand - talk to shops in the market, what are their mark ups generally?
4) Have good imagery and a lookbook ready
Imagery is one of the most important elements for potential agents and buyers, it is something you will be remembered for, so ensure it represents your brand well. Agents will produce more results if they are provided with good clear and enticing images that both represent the brand and products well. These images can be used to attract potential buyers to see your collection, which might not have originally. It is a key factor and an investment that will pay off. Please find some tips here (blog article by Anton Dell “The Recipe For Great DIY Product Photograph”); also refer to our Image Library to see some examples of good level lifestyle photography.
5) Have your sales campaign dates in mind
Sales campaigns vary from country-to-country and it is always good to have an idea of the main ones and when they will take place, as well as, the main trade shows in order to know how to pace your agent search and production times. For example: womenswear sales season in Germany starts much earlier than Italy; if were are thinking of exporting in that market you would need to be able to consider both factors and work out a time frame suiting to both.
6) Think about the logistics and how you will deliver merchandise
Logistics are one of the crucial factors to consider when exporting. It can affect the final price and make your brand more or less competitive in a specific market. When the proximity between your country and the country you are exporting to is fairly low and there are no tax burdens (e.g. EU single market) you don’t face large numbers of obstacles to navigate around. However, working on a larger radius, (e.g. EU to China) a number of different factors come into play, which can cost a lot of money and time to find a solution to. Consider a partner that can take care of the logistics when exporting in a different continent, as this can resolve many problems and save time.
7) Research the countries where your product has more potential
Now that everything is ready you can focus on your export strategy – which country to approach first? It is important to know the potential of your collection and understand where it will be most appreciated – despite being a very rich and big market, the USA is not ideal for all brands, especially new brands. Smaller markets, such as, Belgium or Ireland can prove to have a greater long-term success than going straight to the largest countries.
8) Agent or Distributor?
This is the dilemma every brand faces when approaching their export strategy. Please read here (blog article by Anton Dell "Agents And Distributors: What’s The Difference?”) to understand the difference between the two.
9) How to find an agent or distributor?
How can you find an agent that is reputable and will actually help you enter a specific market? Since there are more brands than representatives it is not always easy to find the right partner, however, Anton Dell can help you with this task, please read here (blog article by Anton Dell “10 Reasons To Find Fashion Agents And Distributors Through Anton Dell”) how.
10) …what to do next?
You have found a potential partner in the market you want to start exporting in, but how do you make sure the negotiations lead to an agreement that work on both parties? Please read here (blog article by Anton Dell "What To Do After You Are Introduced To A Fashion Agent Or Rep?”) and here (blog article by Anton Dell "5 Step Guide To What Should Be Included In The Contract With Your Fashion Agent”)