MARKETING OF CLOTHING, FOOTWEAR, AND ACCESSORIES STORES
FEATURES OF THE INDUSTRY
Non-food retail, namely its part that includes clothing, footwear, and accessories, is an extremely complex and multi-level business. At the same time, the products themselves are so understandable to everyone that when it comes to starting your own business, opening a clothing, footwear, or accessories store is one of the most popular options among entrepreneurs. However, not everyone understands what they will have to deal with, what the nature of competition in the industry is, and how strong marketing and business acumen need to be for commercial success. Here are the main features of the industry that are crucial for a general understanding and for developing an effective marketing strategy for a clothing, footwear, and accessories store:
- Diversity of Formats. Various store formats are present in the market according to product categories. There are niche stores specializing in specific parts of the wardrobe or groups of goods (such as outerwear stores, lingerie stores, shoe stores, sportswear stores, business suit stores, etc.), as well as stores without clear specialization, offering a wide range of clothing, footwear, and accessories.
- Gender Segmentation. A certain split of the market by gender is also common. A significant portion of stores opts for a women's store format, anticipating a more dynamic and emotional demand. The choice of the store's gender specialization has a huge impact on the content and structure of the marketing mix and promotional methods.
- Multibrand or Monobrand Stores. Multibrand or monobrand stores, whether owned or franchised, are a widespread phenomenon in the industry. This reflects the industry's strong emphasis on strategic branding, brand image and popularity, consumer perception, and long-term loyalty, especially in the premium price segment.
- Price Variety. The industry is characterized by the availability of product offerings at various prices, emphasizing the importance of strategic branding and building a powerful brand. It's important to note that, even with relatively small differences in quality, the price of a product can vary significantly while still maintaining a stable demand among consumers with a corresponding income level.
- Integration of Online and Offline Retail. The industry has reached a point where opening only offline stores and ignoring online commerce makes no sense and consciously forfeits a significant portion of the market—those customers who prefer to buy online immediately and those who browse online but make purchases in physical stores. On the other hand, operating solely as an online store limits the opportunities for building a powerful brand, as a strong brand in consumers' minds should have a chain of branded stores, standing alongside well-known brands in shopping malls and shopping streets, etc.
- Localization in Shopping Malls. A recent trend is the localization of clothing, footwear, and accessories retail in shopping and entertainment centers. In most cases, consumers are unlikely to go to a standalone store in the city when there is the alternative of shopping in a shopping mall with dozens of brand stores located next to each other, offering entertainment and interesting leisure activities. Owners of standalone stores outside shopping malls have to exert powerful marketing efforts to attract customers. It's challenging to determine what is the better choice—high rental costs in shopping malls or significant marketing expenses for standalone stores elsewhere.
- Dependence on Fashion and Style. Retail trade in clothing, footwear, and accessories is extremely dependent on fashion and style, as consumers choose products largely based on current trends and the rapid change of societal preferences. Rapidly updating the assortment in response to changes in the world of fashion and style is a key strategy for attracting and retaining customers in the retail market.
- Seasonality. On one hand, seasonality, together with fashion and style, provides constant dynamics in the market of clothing, footwear, and accessories. Releasing new collections for each season is an integral part of this process and benefits both manufacturers and retailers. However, on the other hand, seasonality requires both clear planning and forecasting of purchase volumes and a more active marketing process, including constant updating of the visual components of the marketing mix. Indeed, showcasing videos and photo materials from the previous season is not possible. Marketing must be as dynamic as the seasonal change in the assortment.
- International Competition. The industry is characterized by powerful international competition that has taken various forms. International orders are now possible in many countries.
Thus, we see that the retail market for clothing, footwear, and accessories is quite complex and dynamic. The list of market features can be extended with a more detailed examination of segments and other factors. However, the features mentioned above are crucial for a general understanding and the development of an effective marketing strategy and marketing plan. How to compete in such conditions and what marketing elements are most often used for the successful promotion of a clothing, footwear, or accessories store?
SOME GENERAL STRATEGIES AND APPROACHESS
Overall, the clothing and footwear market employs diverse and creative marketing strategies, approaches, and tools. Here are the key elements of marketing in the industry that deserve the most attention:
- Marketing Strategy. In a market with such diversity in store formats, segments, target audiences, where every individual is a potential customer, developing a comprehensive marketing strategy is crucial for success. It provides a clear understanding of the target consumers, guiding further steps, optimal marketing toolset, and the necessary budget for implementation. Without a well-defined marketing strategy, businesses may struggle to compete effectively in the dynamic and competitive landscape of the clothing and footwear industry.
- Branding and Positioning. Many stores in the market opt for systematic branding and clear brand positioning. This strategy allows them to build long-term brand loyalty and sell products at higher prices. Branding and positioning are logical extensions of developing a systematic marketing plan following the determination of the overall marketing strategy.
- Store Interior Design. Establishing a chain of physical stores is essential for building a powerful brand in the clothing and footwear industry. Success in creating a strong brand significantly increases when the brand has a chain of branded stores physically located near well-known competitors in shopping malls and shopping streets. Beyond having a store, it is essential to create an atmosphere that aligns with the brand's identity through interior design. Store interior design is an extension of branding and brand positioning.
- Digital Ecosystem. The digital ecosystem is an integral component of marketing for clothing, footwear, and accessory stores. It includes an online store with a user-friendly interface, a mobile application, social media pages, messenger channels, email marketing tools, and presence on marketplaces.
- Content Marketing. The digital ecosystem must be filled with relevant and high-quality content. Regularly updating information about new collections and highlighting the latest trends in fashion and style through engaging text, photo, and video content is crucial. Interaction with the audience through comments, surveys, and giveaways helps attract and retain potential customers from social media.
- Online Advertising and SEO. A significant portion of the marketing budget is allocated to promoting the store and products through online advertising and SEO. The highly competitive environment in the industry requires creative and standout advertising campaigns to succeed.
- Partnership Marketing. For multi-brand stores, a partnership marketing strategy with well-known brands involves agreements and collaboration through joint marketing programs and advertising campaigns, selling exclusive models or collections, and more. It is essential to choose brands that complement or enhance the store's identity and target audience.
- Designer Personal Brand. Successful brands pay special attention to creating and promoting the personal brand of designers. Over time, these investments create a competitive advantage that is challenging for competitors to overcome. A store associated with an exclusive popular and recognized designer can set premium prices and maintain long-term customer loyalty.
- Collaboration with Influencers. In some cases, especially when the store and the clothing or footwear brand belong to the same owner, collaboration with bloggers and thought leaders in the fashion and style industry, as well as celebrities, can significantly help popularize the store among target audiences who value their opinions.
It should be noted that within one article, we cannot show all the pitfalls or demonstrate all the marketing methods and tools specific to clothing, footwear, and accessories store marketing. In other words, these are just a few examples of quite general marketing approaches that can be applied to this retail business. From a practical point of view, everything is much more complicated - the choice of a specific marketing strategy and tools depends on the target audience, competitive environment, and unique advantages of the company, etc. At the same time, it is desirable to understand that clothing, footwear, and accessories store marketing may encounter a number of specific problems that are unique to each individual case and require an individual approach to their solution.
Achieving the commercial objectives of a company through effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the market situation, consumer needs, the ability to analyze and explore alternatives, and a creative approach to problem-solving. Our company has extensive experience in defining optimal marketing strategies for our clients' businesses, creating a strong brand and market positioning, as well as developing a marketing mix and implementing the chosen strategy. You can familiarize yourself with the services and solutions our company offers on the "Services
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