You’re struggling. You’ve got a great range of garments & strong base of domestic customers. But, you want export orders. And, you’ve no idea how to get one. Here you’re. The right place. We’re going to talk about how to get export orders for garments business.
At the outset, RELAX. You aren’t the only clothing merchant one who is struggling to get those lucrative export orders. There’re many more like you.
Export orders are difficult to get. There is geographical gap involved. Over that, there’s trust deficit in the minds of the importers.
History has been a witness to various export-import frauds. Therefore, it’s natural for prospects to proceed with caution. Especially when they’re dealing with small exporters.
The strategies listed in this post are the ultimate solution. They’re tried & tested by me. And, the best part is that they work for small exporters.
So, learn the following ideas, implement them & secure your first export order.
HOW TO GET EXPORT ORDERS FOR GARMENTS BUSINESS
1. Go Online
This is the first & most important step towards acquiring your dream international customers.
Going online means having your own website that showcases your products & experience.
And, most importantly, your website acts as a your voice & face. Those help in instilling confidence in the minds of the buyers.
Note that export involves geographical gap & therefore if you don’t earn the trust of your buyers, you’re probably going to struggle in getting orders.
Your website will act as a virtual visiting card & catalogue of your garment business.
But, how do you create a website?. Do you need a website designer?. No, not at all!
Luckily, technology has blessed us with tools like Shopify. Using the same you can create an online store on your own by dragging & dropping various elements.
Yes, it’s like playing a video game!.
Here’s a video that explains the complete set up:
On your eCommerce store, you need to upload your product images & descriptions. So, next when a buyer approaches you for a product catalogue, send him or her your website link. Makes sense?
Not just a product catalogue, but your website can also enable you to take online orders.
A few best practices you should follow while building your website:
- Choose a professional theme instead of a FREE one (optional though)
- Write complete descriptions of products (will help in conversions)
- Add authentic & real images of your products
- Keep your contact page updated
- Add product videos for high-ticket items
- Have a provision for free samples (if economically feasible)
- Reveal as much business details as possible (like tax number, office address, customer reviews, factory address, certifications etc.). These will go a long way in creating trust in the mind of the buyers
On the advanced line, you can use your website in various other ways to generate traffic. Example: Blogging
Creating website isn’t the only way to go online. There’re following other ways you can generate buyer leads online:
- YouTube (Upload product videos)
- Buy Facebook ads
- Buy Google Adwords
- Directly buy leads from digital agencies
2. Join Export Communities
Export communities are organisations dedicated towards development of export business of their members.
There are various advantages of joining export communities like:
- Getting to meet with other like-minded exporters
- Knowing about the latest news & happenings in export industry
- Learning about the industry best practices
- Getting to know about various important events like trade fair, delegation visits etc.
But, how do you discover such export communities in your town or country?. Simple. Google it.
Such communities can be in various forms like:
- Trust etc.
Example: In the US, you can find the following export groups:
- Exporters association of the USA
- American association of exporters & importers
- The small business exporters association of the US
To join such associations, simply fill the contact form available on their website. Alternatively, you may call or visit their office in person.
3. Respond To Order Inquiries On Online Forums
Online forums are platforms where people meet to discuss stuff of common interest & solve each others’ problems.
A few popular ones are as follows:
- Yahoo Answers
On such platforms you may find importers inquiring about garments. That’s where you need to step in & answer their questions with a link back to your website.
Look at the following example from Quora:
Remember, you shouldn’t spam these online forums or else you may get banned.
The primary objective should be to add value with super-helpful answers. Think of yourself as a forum member asking questions. Would you like to be haunted with self-promotions?. Or would you like to get genuine answers to your questions?. Exactly!
Go the aforesaid platforms & sign up. Follow a few garment related thread or groups. Then answer questions of your interest with as much details as possible.
Don’t self-promote above the fold. Place your website link only at relevant places (preferably at the end of the answer). And, do not over-promote your business.
Following are a few best practices that may follow:
- Update your profile with picture, description & website link
- Write shorter sentences. Avoid bulky paragraphs.
- Don’t ridicule other members’ views
- Avoid obvious answers or tips
- Contribute answers regularly
If used effectively, online forums can generate a ton of leads for your garments business.
4. Register On Online Trade Marketplaces
Online trade marketplaces are B2B platforms that connect importers with exporters.
As an exporter you can list your products & business on these platforms. Importers, on the other hand, may browse your listings & contact you.
The advantages of registering on online trade marketplaces are:
- Global exposure
- More credibility
- More international inquiries
Following are a few popular ones:
To join these marketplaces, you need to contact them using the form available on their respective websites. Most of them require a legal registered business with proper physical address.
Following are a few best practices you must follow on these marketplaces:
- Update your profile with your office & factory pictures
- Add a brief history of your company or business
- Add a few customer or client reviews
- Mention the name of your brands
- Add product pictures & related descriptions
5. Attend International Garments Trade Fairs / Exhibitions
Trade fairs are offline B2B marketplaces that connect buyers with sellers. Generally, the sellers set up stalls showcasing their products. Buyers, on the other hand, visit these marketplaces to source or explore products.
Thus, trade fairs are an excellent way to meet targeted buyers.
International fairs aren’t easy to locate & attend. Therefore, the best way out is to join your local export community. They should keep you updated on the forthcoming fair events. Alternatively, you may browse https://www.tradefairdates.com that lists trade fair dates country & city-wise.
Following are a few popular international trade fairs:
- Magic Las Vegas (USA)
- Texworld Paris (France)
- MICAM Milano (Italy)
- International Apparel & Textile Fair (UAE)
- Chandigarh Mega Expo (India)
To apply or register for these trade fairs, visit their respective websites & understand the procedure. If needed, call them up.
Following are a few best practices when attending international trade fairs:
- Attractively display your product samples or merchandise
- Keep visiting cards & catalogues ready
- Ask for visiting cards of as many stall visitors as possible (follow them up later)
- Offer attractive discounts for instant orders
- Offer private label support for bulk orders
- Show online presentation or tour of your facilities (like factory or warehouse)
Trade fairs or exhibitions, if done correctly, will give you a ton of leads or customers.
This is no doubt one of the highest converting strategies to get export orders. That’s because the trade fair visitors are pre-qualified & come with an intention to buy. They aren’t casual visitors.
6. Participate In Seminars & Conferences
When did you last attend a seminar?. I know the answer.
Well, you aren’t alone. Most entrepreneurs under-estimate the importance of networking.
Seminars can be effective in generating high quality leads in several ways.
Example: Imagine you’re attending a seminar on exports. Seated beside you is a shoe exporter. What if you network with him or her?. May be he or she can help you with a few client referrals?. (Since a shoe client may also be selling or interested in garments).
That’s the power of networking. You get strong & verified referrals with ease. And, not to forget, a few life-long friends.
Following are some ‘extra’ benefits you get attending seminars:
- Technical know-how related to your industry
- Meeting industry influencers
- Sponsorship oppotunities
Websites like 10times.com can help you find upcoming conferences country-wise.
It’s important to learn the art of connecting with other people during such events. You need to be tactful while approaching people. By tactful, I mean knowing exactly when to approach, what to talk at the beginning & how to engage with your talks.
A few best practices you can follow at such events:
- Dress professionally
- Be approachable
- Shake hands firmly
- Keep visiting cards & catalogues ready
If you aren’t taking seminars or conferences seriously then now is the time. Go try them out.
7. List On International Trade Directories
Trade directories are industry-wise listings published generally in paper format. Think of it as the ‘Yellow Pages’ of business.
There are following advantages of listing your business in these trade directories:
- More export & domestic inquiries
- Visibility to the international community
- Tagged as ‘verified business’
- Legal proof
- Helpful for business collaboration
There are a few popular international trade directories like:
To apply, visit these individual websites & fill up the contact form.
8. Get International Quality Certifications
Would you like to deal with a random business partner overseas?. Of course not. You want credibility, right?.
That’s where international quality certifications come into play.
International quality certifications can help you establish credibility in the minds of your prospects. That will ensure that buyers trust your firm & products.
And, as I said earlier, trust is the base of a successful business relationship.
Example: ISO 9001 certification
Following are the advantages of getting quality certifications:
- Products become more trustworthy
- Creates trust & confidence in the mind of buyers
- Helps passing stringent quality requirements for European countries
- Product becomes international acceptable
However, it isn’t easy to get such certifications. You need to set up processes in your organisation as mandated by the certification requirements.
There are notable service providers in every country that can help you in getting such certifications. Google & find them for more information.
Yes, getting export orders for garments business isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition in this field.
But, with the aforesaid tips, the process becomes easy & fun.
To get started, you need to implement each of these steps with passion. Take one strategy at a time.
Also, please be aware that some of these strategies may require investment of money.
After implementing these steps as recommended, you’ll be surprised by the quantity & quality of your foreign buyer leads.
These’re powerful strategies that have been implemented & tested by me over past few years. So, they do work!
What do you think of the aforesaid tips on getting export orders for garments?. Have you tried some of them?. How was your experience?. Please comment below.