In addition to commercial agencies and sales partners for apparel, shoes, and leather goods
, this domain also includes commercial agencies for textile products, fabrics, and yarns
and for sportswear
. In Germany, sportswear is often sold and distributed in conjunction with sporting goods, sports equipment, and sports gear.
- Commercial agents for apparel, shoes, and leather goods often call themselves fashion agencies.
- Commercial agents for sporting goods and sportswear often call themselves sports agencies.
- Commercial agents for textile products, fabrics, or apparel and clothing can often be found as textile agencies.
The latter category also includes commercial agencies for fabrics sold by the metre, yards, and haberdashery and notions. Haberdashery and notions refers to the things that are needed for the industrial production of apparel besides fabrics, such as buttons, snaps, zippers, padding, and so on.
Textile agencies broker fabrics, woven goods, and knitted goods from manufacturers in Germany, in other European countries, and in other continents, especially Asia, to German clothing manufacturers. Textile agencies in Germany thus work between the textile manufacturing and textile processing industries.
German commercial agencies and sales representatives for ready-to-wear; meaning, for men’s, women’s, children’s, sports, and work or protective clothing for the medical or industrial sector, mediate between the textile processing industry; that is, the brands, and the wholesale and retail trade and the online sales platforms.
That is also true accordingly of the German commercial agents and sales partners for leather goods, shoes, bags, and other accessories.
Commercial agencies for apparel that are located in so-called fashion centres or fashion order centres offer a special service. In these centres, they present the respective current collections to the clothing trade on a constant basis and all year round.
The commercial agencies and sales partners organized in the CDH in the “Fashion–Sport–Accessories” trade association have categorised the services they provide their represented companies (principals) and their customers (buyers) in Germany according to functional criteria.
The contact function of a commercial agent
The contact function of commercial agencies is fulfilled by representing the company represented (principal) and by providing a functioning sales office in the vicinity of the customer with staff and organisational and communication tools.
The sales function of a commercial agent
The function of selling as the most important function of commercial agents is fulfilled by them by supporting existing customers, headquarters, regional headquarters, and regional distribution centres or the property, by creating and tracking bids and proposals, by negotiating listing agreements, and also by obtaining orders, including agreeing on the delivery date. Searching for and acquiring new customers in Germany and newly introducing products are also included as part of the sales function of commercial agents and sales partners in Germany. In addition, there are checking stores, market analyses at the point of sales, and exhibiting at order fairs and shows both in Germany and outside of Germany. The sales functions of the agencies are rounded off by employee training at the customer’s premises and goods inspection when dealing with complaints.
The marketing function of a commercial agent
The marketing function of commercial agencies in Germany is closely linked to their sales activity. This includes determining the purchasing potential of existing and prospective customers and of the represented territory. In the marketing function, commercial agencies in Germany also plan the distribution of products, plan and monitor promotions, and support creating marketing concepts. In this function, they provide scheduling recommendations and advice on how to design products. Working at exhibitions in Germany and abroad at trade fair stands and trade show booths of the represented companies is also a part of the marketing function of commercial agencies and sales representatives in Germany.
The information function of a commercial agent
Commercial agencies and commercial agents in Germany continuously provide information to the represented company about customers, competitors, and the situation in the German market. Commercial agents also provide their customers with information from both their own sources and from and on behalf of suppliers.
The order processing function of a commercial agent
Commercial agencies in Germany for textile products, sporting goods, apparel, shoes, and leather goods are involved in the order processing function through accepting and forwarding orders, monitoring delivery dates, and informing customers in the event of delays in delivery. At the request of the companies represented, the fulfilment of the order processing function may also include processing complaints, exchanging goods, returning goods, controlling credit, invoicing, and collecting by the commercial agencies and sales representatives.
Commercial agencies in Germany for textile products, sporting goods, apparel, shoes, and leather goods provide a variety of services both for the companies they represent; that is, suppliers, and for their customers (buyers). Of course, not every commercial agency will be able to and wish to provide all the services mentioned above, nor must they all. Which services are requested by suppliers and customers respectively depends on the product and distribution channel or sales channel. The list above is therefore to be understood as a compilation of all services that can be found when looking at all commercial agencies and sales partners, textile agencies, and fashion agencies in the various textile and fashion sectors in Germany.
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