Let's Talk About: Target Customers

the Target Customer

One of the most critical moments in designing fashion is creating a concept that will sell to a specific shopper. This person or group is called the Target Customer. It is for them that designers struggle to find the perfect idea that will make up into the accessory or garment that this shopper cannot pass up and must buy. Without this center figure, the fashions would hang forever, unsold and neglected.

So how does the design room define this person or group? They are different for each company. Every brand has its own ideal shopper. The personality profile includes: age, income, size range, personal style and preferences, lifestyle and location, career and hobbies.

By defining these details, a customer type can be identified. With that in mind, it is easier to eliminate designs that aren’t suitable, and to develop designs that are. Will the customer like this? Will they wear that? These are the questions that the designer will be asked when they present their line to the company manager or owner.

Let’s start with an imaginary target customer. We can easily think of a real person who loves fashion that we know. From this we can identify their age range, financial profile, size and build, likes and dislikes in style, color and trend, what they do for a living, where they live and how they like to spend their free time. This is the core of a target customer profile.

But we need to look further. Where and how they shop is a key issue. What type of retail stores do they buy their clothing and accessories from? Today shoppers go to more than one source, so your target customer might have several stores, both online and ‘brick and morter’ that they like to shop at. They may also be loyal to several brands (and these might be your competition). Identify the brands they like for several garment categories. Also include the price range they pay when they shop.

Our next step is to determine why they are shopping. This can give us clues as to what they will want and how much selection they need to have. Someone whose only coat has torn will be looking for a coat because they NEED one. This is not an impulse buy, it is a requirement of their climate and lifestyle. Whether the coat has an on trend look, or is more conservative would be affected by the target customer’s income, lifestyle and preferences. One example might be that men by their socks because they need them, but women by their socks because they like the style and want them.

Other target customer purchases could be impulse based and might be an item that is attractive but not necessary to the target customer’s survival or life style. So, shopping patterns are important to the design room staff. By understanding these needs they can design a product that will fit the customer’s desires and be easier to sell.

Target Customer Profile

1. Sex and age range:
2. What type of community do they live in?
(Rural/country, small town, urban, large town, City/large town, or other )
3. U.S. region and climate that they live in? Are there climate extremes?:
4. What type of Figure do they have, including their height.
5. What do they do for a living? What is their Job or Career?
6. What is their level of Education or Training?
7. Annual Income, household, what is their income range?
8. What is their marriage status?
9. What is their family status, do they have children?
10. What kind of home do they live in? Do they rent or own?
11. Free time: Do they travel or take vacations? Does this affect their wardrobe?
12. What do they like to do in their free time? Do they have a favorite recreation or hobby?
13. Colors: What are their favorite colors for clothing? They may wear more than one color group, depending on the season
14. Personality type: How does this person relate on a social level? (Outgoing, confident/Quiet, shy/Intellectual, thoughtful/Sexy, social/Classic, traditional/Experimental, innovative)
15. Fashion type: How does this person adapt to trends and new fashion ideas? (Early adopter/Trend setter/ Trend follower/ Late trend follower / Not a trend follower
16. Stores and Shopping: where do they shop for apparel? List those stores. Fashion type: How does this person adapt to trends and new fashion ideas?
17. Brands and Designers: Do they look for certain brands or designers? List those for the top categories of apparel that they wear.
18. Information and Media: Where do they get their information on trends and styles?

The advertisement for Pendleton is from 1956 and shows their ideal target customer at that time, including her car and accessories.

This original article on the Target Customer is part 7 of a series on fashion design that are posted here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

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