CHANGING LANDSCAPE: As the ongoing conversation about the changing retail landscape continues, the retail research agency Verdict has released a clothing survey which highlights consumers’ demand for items they can see now, buy now and wear now.
Among the consumers polled, 85.6 percent stated that they prefer buying clothes which are suitable for the current weather and can be worn straight away, while 51.4 percent said that they do not like buying clothing in advance, for the season ahead. The data renders traditional retail patterns — which see pre-fall and fall collections drop in stores as early as mid-July — no longer relevant or up to date with the way consumers like to shop today.
The report sites social media as one of the main factors driving these changes in the retail landscape. “Social media has shortened fashion cycles and created a buy-now-wear-now mentality while generating constant desire for new products,” it states.
Unpredictable weather patterns are another factor that retailers need to consider as they redefine their strategies.
According to Verdict’s report, 75.6 percent of the survey participants agreed that the majority of retailers do offer a wide variety of product, including trans-seasonal items. But the continued drops in sales are due to the traditional ways of marketing and merchandising product; for example, retailers are currently showcasing fall collections in stores and highlighting heavy pieces such as coats, fur and jumpers as part of the merchandising, even though the weather continues to be warm.
To respond to the changed consumer demands, the merchandising should instead focus on reflecting the current weather in store windows in order to draw people in, while in-store mannequins, online content and social media can be used to propose suggestions on how the current stock can be adapted to the weather.
Verdict refers to a series of high street retailers as having quickly adapted to the shifting demands. Zara in particular, is making the most of its vertical supply chain to be weather-responsive through reactive product drops and frequent changes of the stores’ visual merchandizing, while Superdry offers ranges that are mostly trans-seasonal and can be adapted to any season.
In addition, British online retailers Asos.com and Boohoo.com have been gaining traction by focusing their offer on the latest sought-after trends, products or events instead of seasons, be it the Nineties, bomber jackets or Coachella.
On the luxury front, Burberry was one of the first brands to eschew the traditional fashion calendar in favor of the ses-now-buy-now model. As reported, earlier this month the brand revealed its first straight-to-consumer ad campaign and plans to relaunch burberry.com and unveil a consumer app that will make the checkout process faster.
Other brands that plan to adopt a see-now-buy-now model during the next show season include Mulberry, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger.