Moving your customers towards premium apparel gives them a great return on their marketing dollars and improves your profits as well. However, in the past, you might’ve been unsuccessful at converting customers to premium products. That’s especially true if you’re dealing with price shoppers or buyers who don’t understand that better apparel equals more brand impressions over the life of the garment.
The opportunity for selling premium apparel is three-fold for you:
You’ll make more money when you sell apparel items with a higher profit margin.
You’ll help your client achieve their marketing goals (and save money) because recipients keep the apparel longer and wear it more often – allowing more people to see the printed design. This, in turn, gives them many more positive impressions over the garment’s life than they’d get with a non-premium item.
Your clients will view your company as a solutions provider, rather than just an order taker.
“Premium equals profit for a decorator and a higher rate of recall and brand recognition for the client,” says Josh Ellsworth, senior vice president of Dealer & Enterprise Sales at GroupeSTAHL. “It’s a win-win.”
Get Into a Premium Mindset
Here are some different approaches you can take to help you sell higher-end apparel to your valued clients:
1. Appeal to their desire for expanding their brand reach.
Many businesses live and die based on their brand recognition, and that’s the message you should be appealing to. Let your clients know that a company logo or message will look better and make more of a long-lasting impression on a higher-quality shirt or accessory. Also, not only will a premium garment will hold up better after wear and repeated washings, the actual design will hold up better as well.
“Lots of customers will upgrade to a premium solution when you give them an all-in price that includes artwork setup and decoration.” – Josh Ellsworth, Senior Vice President of Dealer & Enterprise Sales at STAHLS’
By some estimates, as much as 80% of people own at least one branded piece of clothing like a promotional T-shirt or polo. There’s definitely competition for space in end-user’s closets. You can up the ante even more by presenting apparel from adidas, Champion, or New Balance.
2. Appeal to their desire to use better products.
Point out to your buyer that a premium shirt or similar product will take ink or embroidery better, which means the logo will be bolder and better looking. Another benefit is that the shirts will last longer through repeated washings. If these shirts are for employees to wear, they won’t have to be replaced as quickly. Employees will wear “like-new” shirts for much longer.
Also, a lot of premium garments have performance features such as moisture wicking or antimicrobial protection, which is even better if your wearer is an athlete or someone who works in the heat.
3. Appeal to their desire to safeguard the Earth.
The average Canadian throws out about 81 pounds of clothing a year. Unfortunately, cheap promo tees end up being part of that trash, causing it to become the “brandfill” that we’d all like to avoid. Pitching this narrative to clients can help move them more towards buying premium brands, especially those with an eco-friendly story, like adidas.
4. Present multiple options.
“A well-known, effective strategy when presenting a sales offer is called good, better, best,” Ellsworth says. “This hinges on the concept of showing three product choices: a cheaper solution, one that meets your client’s budget and one that’s an upgrade. If you do this properly, your presentation will help guard against price pressure and discount requests.”
The real power of the good, better, best is when you can offer extreme value in the “best” slot. “Lots of customers will upgrade to a premium solution when you give them an all-in price that includes artwork setup and decoration,” Ellsworth says. “We all want the best, so you may be surprised at how much more you’ll make on every order and how satisfied your customer is with their branded goods. The next time, they might ask for premium outright.”
4. Don’t forget “premium” decoration.
Great! So, let’s say your client signed on to buy the “best” shirt you just presented. Now it’s time to be a little more discerning about our imprinting suggestions.
“What if you could be the shop that specializes in higher-end items? The reality is, you’d make much more while working less.” – Josh Ellsworth, Senior Vice President of Dealer & Enterprise Sales at STAHLS’.
Higher-end decoration techniques elevate the overall end-user experience. When you focus your time and energy on trying to decorate higher-end products, with premium decorations, you’re also maximizing the time you spend on these orders. For example, it takes nearly the same amount of time to heat press a T-shirt as it does a jacket.
“If you look at profit-per-piece, a T-shirt can be around $5 depending on the market, whereas a jacket is most likely $20,” Ellsworth says. “It’s true that you probably can’t sell as many jackets as T-shirts, but it’s also true that you can make the same amount of profit in 25% of the time. What if you could be the shop that specializes in higher-end items? The reality is, you’d make much more while working less.”
5. Don’t forget “premium” customer service.
When you elevate a customer’s product with simple things like custom neck labels, clip tags, folding, and fulfillment, they’ll appreciate you for suggesting it and most likely will opt for those services over and over again.
Go Premium on the Presentation
So how do you present these higher-end apparel items to your customers?
1. First, figure out why your clients need the apparel.
2. Help customers visualize the benefits. Create side-by-side charts that show the features and benefits of each garment at each price point.
3. Send free swag. If you have a long-term customer or one that orders in high volumes, send them free samples of the product to wear and use.
4. Share case studies and reviews from other clients. Demonstrate how other brands have benefited from ordering better-quality apparel, and encourage your customers to share this information on their social media channels.
5. Turn away price shoppers. If you can show your prospect that they’re getting a great price for great products, you’ll be able to convert them into a loyal customer, who will grow with your business.
The key to boosting your bottom line isn’t just selling high-volume orders—it’s also about selling the right premium products, which will last a long time and give customers the best bang for their buck. Yes, premium is a more expensive option, but makes better sense in the long run, if your customers choose this option. And, you’ll enjoy much healthier profit margins in the process.