B2B Online Trading Tips for Apparel and Fashion Buyers

The apparel and fashion industry is one of the most growing industries in the world. Be it kid’s, men, or women apparels, uniforms and unisex apparels, fashion and apparel segment rules the industry. Apart from being fashionable and glamorous this industry requires all types of online and offline skills to keep going and to stay on top.

Nowadays, presence on the B2B marketplace helps the fashion and wholesale clothing to reach different segments of society irrespective of the geographical limitations and bridge a gap between clothing manufacturers and a potential buyer.

In order to have a smooth sailing through a B2B channel, here are some security tips that every buyer should keep in mind while conducting a trade with a supplier:

Identification check of the Supplier And Company:

The best way to check the authenticity and to reduce the risk of fraud while trading online is to conduct proper due-diligence before entering into any transaction. Although B2B marketplace is an easy medium to get connected with the relevant suppliers, lack of in person meetings to carry out business makes it necessary to conduct proper research before setting up any trading relations with the supplier.

Here are some steps to reduce the risk of supplier’s fraud:

A complete company profile consists of information which can be both verified and unverified. Here are few must follow steps to know the authenticity of a supplier:

Company Name along with city and province

Business type: If its manufacturer it means that the supplier is only selling products it manufactures. Manufactures are equipped and trained in specific production lines because of which they are highly specialized in their specific product line.

Trading Companies: There are some trading companies, which are independent while others own, or are owned by a manufacturing company. Although everybody tries to avoid the middleman, there are many companies in world which export their produce using Trading companies. Here is where trading companies play an important role. There can be some companies which offer no added value and dealing with those suppliers will only raise your costs.

Checking the quality of the product

It is said that a good manufacturer is not the one who is completely free of quality issues but the one who is constantly monitoring the quality during productions. Make sure that the supplier guarantees you to get back to you on time if the clothing purchase turns out to be defective and should have a proper system in place for how to manage the quality issues of clothing material. According to ISO compliance a product requires more than having a quick check before they are packed and shipped. Every supplier is required to inspect the raw materials and components before production, set up inspections during production and does a final supervision after production.

Garment Sampling

Apparel and clothing samples are very important and are meant to be developed, tested before starting the bulk production. Sampling is one of the main processes in apparel and fashion industry and plays a vital role when doing business online. As buyer place the final orders only after verifying the quality of samples.

The sample decides the ability and perfection of an exporter on how he carries out the business. It helps the buyer to judge the exporter and the organisation he belongs. If the samples are of good quality and at a reasonable price, it will naturally attract the buyers to place the order.

Doing business on a B2B portal can be a relatively new frontier but if not negotiated strategically can result in added costs and extra work hours for both a manufacturer as well as a buyer.

Lucrative Fashion Jobs Abound

The latest fashion industry news has announced a great number of varied fashion positions that eager enthusiasts must fill up. Numerous jobs abound in the fashion world. One can be a model or designer – every skilled individual is needed to take up an exciting job. Still, the industry is not just about designing or modeling – it is so broad that there are immense fashion career opportunities available to those who want them.

Best Fashion Jobs Available (Aside from Modeling and Clothes Designing):

Even if an individual has no skill or talent to start his own clothing line, there are actually tons of other opportunities that will allow him to become a part of the fashion industry. There are jobs – and not just as a model or designer – that anyone else can enjoy doing within the industry.

Fashion Merchandiser

A competent merchandiser spots anything that can be turned into the latest fashion hit. For an individual to do well as a fashion merchandiser, he must have the instinct to know if an emerging style has the potential to become a hot fashion item.

He knows wearable items that sell, and identifies ones that will forever remain as stocks in department stores. A good fashion merchandiser performs product development – from the conceptualization to the final production and marketing of the product.

Fashion Brand Manager

Anyone who is serious in selling clothes knows that he is promoting and selling a brand. The main responsibility of a brand manager is to create an image for his fashion brand. He does this by developing unique ways to present such brand to consumers. Ideally, a brand manager possesses a degree in Merchandise Product and Brand Development to do well in this career.

Accessories Designer

For the individual who believes that he has an eye for accessories, and can create ones that can make a lasting impression to people, he must consider a lucrative career in accessories designing. To do well in this job, accessories designer must go to the hottest accessories oases such as fairs and trade exhibits. From these events, he can gather helpful inspirations to create unique designers for his own line of accessories.

Fashion Buyer

Fashion buyers are responsible for maximizing the sales and profits of a fashion boutique. They are a step ahead when it comes to fashion trends. This allows them to be ready to provide clients with the clothes that will satisfy their fashion preference. Apart from the selection of merchandise for the store, a fashion buyer is involved with its promotion and sale.

Definitely, the fashion industry is one of the most vibrant industries today. This is why there has been a great supply for jobs of all types, each of which zeroes in on a particular area in fashion. Most fashion industry news point to the fact that such availability of fashion jobs will remain on the rise for a couple more years.

The New Social Media-Fueled Fashion Democracy

Have you ever looked at the latest fashions coming off the catwalk and heaved a sigh of dismay, wondering why they can’t design fashions for people like you? Things are changing – no longer can an elite group of couture designers shape and dictate fashion for everyone. A revolution is happening. Fashion is becoming more democratic, thanks in no small part to social media such as Face book and Twitter and the rise of independent fashion bloggers, who are becoming a force to be reckoned with. An increasing recognition of ethical fashion and the need for more plus size fashion has undoubtedly been consumer led.

At the forefront of this trend is The Shopping Forecast, a unique forum which allows consumers to see, share, vote and comment on next season’s lines. The Shopping Forecast provides a link between the buyers of fashion, and professional store fashion buyers. The selected outfits that viewers vote on are chosen by “The Style Council” whose members are predominantly independent fashion bloggers with no financial interest in the big couture houses or large retail outlets who have previously dictated fashion. Could the Shopping Forecast lead the way to a genuine change in the way the fashion industry operates – fashion by the people, for the people!

Listening to consumers improves the bottom line. And fashion industry is a business like any other so this is a compelling argument to encourage more customer feedback. Earlier this year, Marc Jacobs CEO Robert Duffy received a large amount of Twitter feedback from customers who wanted plus sizes. His response was to tweet back to the company’s more than 26,000 followers, “We gotta do larger sizes… As soon as I get back to NY I’m on it,”. This is clear evidence that designers are listening to the fans and no long operating solely for the elite fashionistas in their ivory towers.

Struggling retailer Ann Taylor saw a saw a 16% rise in same-store sales for the second quarter of 2010. Analysts have attributed this to the company’s vigorous use of social media for helping to lure new customers. In response to criticism of a skinny model wearing a new pair of pants on its face book site, the company responded by posting new photos of employees of a range of sizes wearing the product. The feedback from customers was remarkably positive.

It is not just big fashion houses and retailers, who are utilising the internet and social media to sell fashion. The internet and viral marketing using sites such as Face book and Twitter has made it cheaper and easier for small independent fashion retailers to sell their products and to get customer feedback without having to pay for costly professional market research. Leading the way, ASOS marketplace is now accepting applications to open boutiques in the Marketplace from Fashion designers, Independent labels, and Vintage resellers. More choice for the consumer means more opportunity to make their own decisions about what sort of fashions they want including the ethical trend for recycling clothes. Fashion is no longer about buying all the right labels but producing a stylish mix of high and low pieces and the move towards a more democratic Fashion industry is part of this trend.

In keeping with the move to a more democratic industry, it seems the size zero vs real women debate is starting to be taken more seriously. Online plus size mall One Stop Plus made history this year as September saw the first ever “plus-size only” show showcased during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.

However, it is one thing listening to your customer’s opinions to try and improve business, but one designer has taken it a step further. British fashion designer Katie Eary has launched the first ever fan-funded clothing. All of the shares for the collection have sold out which has created fashion history! The Katie Eary collection at Catwalk Genius went on sale in September. With investments from as little as £11, part ownership of a collection by a designer you like seems the ultimate way to influence the fashion industry!

Whether this move towards fashion democracy is permanent remains to be seen but with the advent of social media and the internet, it seems unlikely to change. Customers are, at last, able to make themselves heard and any business would be stupid to ignore them.