The Fashion “Evolution” from a Retailer’s Perspective

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The ephemeral global apparel business is a challenge to stay in and adapt to. The size of the global apparel business is growing exponentially and is expected to generate double digit growth between now and 2020, much of it coming from developing markets.

In a world so saturated with choices, retailers and manufacturers are having to change their ideas about fashion with the speed of light, or perish!

As a Data Analytics Lab, specializing in retail, with a deep and intuitive understanding of the apparel- retail industry, we at IntelligenceNODE have been studying consumers of fashion for quite some time. And our observations have been very interesting, especially from a retailer’s perspective.

We discovered 3 main types of fashion consumers:

“The Fashionist”


 

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This is a title we give to men and women who live and breathe fashion. They may or may not be a part of the fashion industry. But they find a way to involve themselves with it. The fashion bloggers, the vloggers, the editors, designers, luxury makers, socialites, celebrities, models, personal shoppers, make-up artists, costume designers, etc, are just some professionals associated within the fashion umbrella, which are not a core part of the manufacturing process, but are still heavily involved and therefore very visible in popular culture (read social media).

As an example of the reach and influence that these people have on popular fashion- Marc Jacobs Intl. connected with consumers during its Marc Jacobs Collection runway show by collaborating with renowned blogger Leandra Medine of “The Man Repeller,” thus managing to reach out to her very large and substantially fashion conscious readers.

The numbers are growing every moment, and we are not just talking sales, we also include basket sizes, repeat purchases, customer loyalty rates and general interest in brands.

“The Style Staple”


 

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This, according to us, is the guy or the girl who is not always prim and proper (or sporting the retro, hippie, blah, look perfectly), but they are the ones who believe in what is called ‘fast fashion.’ They may not have the urge or means to buy a limited edition Jimmy Choo pair- but they are quite fashion aware and like their brands too. In fact, these are the ones who shop brands like Zara, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones, H&M, American Swan, Aeropostale, etc., regularly.

As of 2012, the fast fashion industry (including apparel, footwear, jewelry & cosmetics) alone earned approximately $ 483 billion as revenue. This number has only increased with more and more brands selling online- available globally.

“The Non-Conformist”


 

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These are the ones who do not really believe in conventional fashion trends. Neither do they go out of their way to buy clothing. Why do we think these guys important then? Because, in spite of being uninterested in filling up their wardrobes, these people happen to love discounts and sales.

Fast fashion players have made it a point to make unusual products for the discount lovers. You can always find an array of different goods at many popular stores that you may not pick up, but they are there for a reason. And discounts! Many studies show that people who normally do not turn up at these shops come out of their hibernation during discount season.

There are at least 3 ‘end of season’ sales happening every year. And other countless online, offline, festive discounts are a completely different story.


The Consumer isn’t a Moron. She’s your wife.

– David Ogilvy


These fashion conscious or unconscious people are capable of making or breaking many ideas and organizations in the industry. But not every new pair of pants or every crop top coming out of the manufacturing units is consumed by these 3 different types with accuracy. So what is it that will make the journey from Interest to Conversion a given?

Many long winded words can be used to describe this process. One of the most important things you, the retailer, can make use of today- competitive benchmarking. This will tell you, exactly how your competition is positioning themselves.

The questions that need answering range from the conventional- Should you re-position yourself as a fast fashion house? Or an exclusive, hand crafted, specialty house? Should you sell offline or just online? To the unique- What is the reason for the numbers indicating that the Zara brand happens to sell more in India compared to say, a Mango or a Vero Moda? And even the direct ones- What products have an effect on our sales charts the most? What are the highest indicators of a conversion waiting to happen?

From insights to conversions, the journey becomes much easier with competitive benchmarking. And today, you can get tailor made answers, which are designed to collaborate, to inspire and to, in some cases, even direct.

The focus of a retailer today must be, without a doubt, the consumer. And to, in any way, second guess the consumer, even when you have a great product, does not work! At all! Many a times, marketers end up pumping large amounts into advertising with nil or next to nil results. Because, what appears so perfect on a storyboard- the consumer does not even get! And this is not about creativity or brilliance- but simply understanding the people buying your brand.

At IntelligenceNODE, we respect the Fashion “Evolution” and your role in it. And it is our dedicated effort to make your insights your assets.