While there’s been talk within the fashion industry regarding moving overseas production back to the United States, brands are simultaneously focusing on how to grow their businesses globally in 2019.
With the rise of India and China soon overtaking the US as the largest retail market in the world, there seems to be an enormous opportunity to create a global brand presence. However, while it may seem like a no-brainer to get involved, there are many important factors to consider before taking such a leap.
What are your objectives?
Before any business decides to test the water in other countries, it’s important to establish your main goal and understand how entering a new market can affect your brand.
Is your primary goal to save on shipping? Do you produce most of your collection in a market that would capitalize on these savings? Or, is your main objective to gain new customers/accounts?
Before jumping to a conclusive answer, spend some time thinking about growth reasonings like:
- Have you considered the demographic and customer profile of this country?
- Is your company ready to create additional styles and merchandising strategies in order to appeal to this new target market?
- Has the cost to include extra product development such as different sizes, colors, packaging, labels, etc been properly evaluated?
Do you have the right partners?
Another important consideration is whether or not to partner up with a local agency or distributor that understands the entire lay of the land within that particular category or market.
These partners can help you access new relationships and expand your business much easier than trying to conduct business from another country. Language barriers, packaging/shipping requirements, and even your tone or marketing messages are all things to consider when selecting a partner. Having someone who understands all of these conditions when entering their domestic market is a great and almost essential advantage.
Do you have marketing support?
Finding the right partners comes with the benefit of working with someone who can assist in creating your marketing messages. We all know that cultural faux pas can be a huge issue when it comes to the fashion industry. For example, while the “thumbs up” logo in America represents a good job, in other countries, such as Thailand, it has a negative connotation similar to sticking out your tongue.
Understanding how your brand translates is crucial to launching successfully, and having the right marketing message is imperative in avoiding offensive symbols or cultural oversights.
Whether you are a large brand or small brand looking to expand into new markets, you must make sure you have considered all of these factors before making the massive decision to go global. Avoid “going with your gut”, and spend time doing your due diligence. Research your target market in-depth, be overly prepared in forecasting, and complete a full competitive analysis before determining which market to enter.
So, is your brand ready to go global?