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Beautiful undergarments = super confidence, it is tested and proven. And with the global lingerie market expecting to grow to nearly $60 billion by 2024, it seems like a no-brainer to explore that sector. As with any new business, drawing attention to your brand and selling consumers is difficult. Particularly in the undergarment industry, because it is so saturated, it requires an extra push and early planning to succeed. Targeting your audience, defining your brand, and setting up a secure online infrastructure is just the first step. Finding an adult payment gateway through a merchant service provider that can support the lingerie industry is the final and arguably the hardest part.
Explore your Potential Audience
Do you want a merchant account to sell full-coverage shapewear to business professionals, mix-and-match sets to millenials, or sexy lingerie to women (and men!)? Answering this question is the first step. No pressure, but this is arguably the most important step as well. Finding the audience will act like a springboard and a reference for market research.
First start with the demographic tiers:
- Income level
- Education level
- Ethnic background
Then, consider the 5 P’s:
- Point of View
- Pattern of Behavior
And lastly, ask yourself:
- Are there enough people who fit into my criteria?
- Will my audience see a need for my products?
- How can I reach those people with my message?
Use this outline as a funnel. If you have a large enough subset of people by the end of this process to satisfy your personal wants and needs, then it’s time for business. But also keep in mind that an audience can also be too large and dilute your focus. No company can afford to target everyone. Save time and money by properly outlining step one.
As an example, let’s take lingerie for men. Online retailers such as XDress and HomeMystere have chosen this demographic and have had success with it. To break it down, they target men aged 20-35 living in higher populated areas, such as Los Angeles or New York. These audience members have higher paying occupations, are well educated, and seem to be mainly caucasian. On top of that, these men would probably be more outgoing and hold a more open-minded perspective. After considering all of the information above, they’re a decent size market to go after with a focused plan of attack.
Define your Brand Identity – and Stick with it!
Now that you have an audience, let’s work on your company brand. Simon Mainwaring, author of We First Branding, once said, “Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms,” To make it easier on you, we have outlined the steps to achieving this step as well.
- Brand Strategy
Document why you exist, what you do, and how you plan to do it. You need to put your best foot forward because you may only get one shot to sell your consumer. Do you want to come off as youthful, creative, affordable, reliable, etc.? Create a tagline and a story that emulates your strategy.
Any graphics associated with your brand should be consistent. Logo, color palette, fonts, photos, illustrations, videos, and your website design are all aspects of this vision.
Take a look at what you have so far. Is it cohesive and understandable? Compared to your competitors, do you stand out and execute a better user experience? Have external sources do this as well; a separate set of eyes will bring perspective.
Assemble something that you are proud to promote. It should be reliable enough to build off of but also flexible enough to grow with you. Use the outline you created to guide the experiences that you want your customers to have. Lingerie, in particular, is a sensual and sensitive topic for many people. Depending on the audience you chose to target, they may respond better to a strong and confident identity, while that may be a turn-off for another group.
Build your Infrastructure
You will need a website, and not only that, you will need accounting software, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, and social media accounts. Do your research, see how your competitors manage these aspects, and improve. Which merchant account work best for your lingerie business will depend on how you want to take payments: straight sale vs. subscription.
The straight sale model is a traditional way to sell to a customer. It is a straight-forward approach with no strings attached and generally considered low-risk.
The subscription approach is more modern. It is gaining traction among consumers, climbing to a $10 billion industry in 2018. The guaranteed revenue and automated services make this style of business value, as well as high risk.
How to Secure an Online Lingerie Merchant Account
In the growing marketplace of undergarment businesses, there are more and more merchants looking to accept credit cards for their adult businesses online securely and effectively. But many gateway providers cannot handle the risks associated with hard-to-place businesses. This is why it is so important to turn to high risk payment processors to support your business.
What is high risk?
Getting a merchant account for adult and lingerie businesses is nothing like other, lower-risk business types. The reason that this industry is labeled high risk is due to the reputational risk that the bank would need to assume to approve you. Common issues in this vertical are the large volume of chargebacks, high amounts of card-not-present transactions, and potential for illegal activities. Without proper underwriting procedures, mitigating these negative effects is nearly impossible. Online credit card processing for the adult industry is hard to get but it’s not impossible. Find the right provider and grow your business securely.