After a sluggish performance for many fashion apparel and accessories retailers, brands such as New Look might be able to thrive by maximizing a strong digital presence, according to results from WGSN’s Barometer — the trend forecaster’s brand-tracking tool.
Despite competition from quick-to-adapt, online-only retailers such as Asos and Boohoo, WGSN Barometer found that New Look’s digital potential is robust — 56 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds expressed a preference for shopping at New Look’s web site as opposed to just 33 percent at Boohoo.
Francesca Muston, WGSN’s head of retail and product analysis, attributed New Look’s online strength to a variety of factors. She said that the retailer’s web site has an especially pared-down interface, which works to its advantage. “This lack of on-screen noise makes for a cleaner, clearer shopping experience and allows the clothes to be the hero,” she said. “Sales and discounts are subtler in their presentation, meaning the product does not feel too devalued.”
Muston noted that New Look’s third-party online partnerships with e-commerce sites like Asos and Zalando has been a beneficial strategy. “Consumers increasingly lack brand loyalty, so the ability to search across vast numbers of products and brands for a particular style of dress or jacket is appealing to them,” she explained. “It is important for retailers to be in the field of search, particularly with the likes of Amazon bolstering its fashion presence.”
New Look’s brick-and-mortar locations play a considerable role in driving brand awareness, Muston added. WGSN Barometer found 41 percent of respondents had an unassisted awareness of New Look compared to 9 percent of Asos and 6 percent for Boohoo, confirming a multichannel approach remains vital.
“Customers still appreciate a physical touch point with a retailer as it gives them an opportunity to browse, touch and feel and also to experience the brand in a more sensory setting, even if they later make their purchase online,” she said.
Though a silver bullet has yet to surface to resolve friction encountered in merging and balancing physical locations and e-commerce strategies, New Look possesses a unique potential to reinvigorate its business positioning. This will serve as a necessary signal to competing retailers the prevalence of aligning digital and physical presences as organically and efficiently as possible.
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