The fashion industry is one sector that traditionally has depended on brick-and-mortar stores. Most businesses opt to have a store where clients can walk in, get their measurements done, and come at a later time to pick up their outfits. However, technology has changed much of how businesses interact with customers.
Since most customers are online or on social media, many businesses are opting for eCommerce stores. It’s reported that 56% of U.S consumers use their smartphones to make a purchase. The covid-pandemic aggravated the preference for online over brick-and-mortar.
If you’re still sticking to the old ways and wonder whether you need an online store for your fashion business, the answer is below.
You need a Store
We had the opportunity to talk to the founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture, Cesar Cruz.
Cesar (or as others call him Rickie) built his fashion business from scratch to a multi-million brand. Unlike most businesses, he did not pursue a brick-and-mortar store. Instead, Cesar and his wife opted for an eCommerce store as they felt that it would help them scale up faster in the industry.
Cesar states that an eCommerce store has an advantage over brick-and-mortar in that it is accessible. People who don’t have access to a brand’s physical location can log online and make a purchase.
One of the arguments presented by high-end fashion brands in favor of brick-and-mortar is that it retains the brand’s integrity. But Cesar sees it differently. He feels that a business can retain its integrity by operating an eCommerce store. When you develop a platform that reflects what your brand stands for, you are likely to attract more clients who believe in your brand.
The beginning of Sebastian Cruz Couture
Cesar and his wife Natasha started Sebastian Cruz Couture in 2014. They entered the market with a strategy that offered unique products on their online platforms. The couple started with seven designs of hand-crocheted linen pocket squares. They had the pocket squares prepared by a designer who lived in Miami. Once they made the pocket squares, they would post pictures and place them across their online platforms.
Cesar used bots to automate the posting process and engagement. He managed external accounts that paid him $300 a month for engagement services. He set up an Instagram titled “At the Pocket Square Industry.” Cesar’s followers grew exponentially to over 20k followers.
Having an online store has worked for the benefit of Sebastian Cruz Couture. He recalls that when he decided to design dinner jackets, he posted his first jacket, a White Paisley dinner jacket. The post was an instant hit that gave him 100 pre-orders for the jacket.
An eCommerce store is a cost-effective way to enter the fashion industry. The store will never face the risk of closure as it runs entirely online. Since eCommerce stores tend to be cheaper to set up than brick-and-mortar, you get to free up resources that you can use to invest in innovation. Cesar’s success is proof that you can build a high-end fashion brand by entirely leveraging online.
Cesar has no plans to set up a brick-and-mortar store. He feels that we are experiencing the “death of brick-and-mortar.” As time goes by, more fashion brands will shut their physical location to have an online store as the revenue per square foot is not justified by the increase in rent and overhead.