Never before has such a diverse selection of products been publicly available yet both online retailers and brick and mortar stores report a steady decline in sales. The markets are flooded but ‘people aren’t spending.’ The current buzz is that customers want a “buying experience” rather than just a product. I would like to suggest that this generalization covers a certain percentage of the population but definitely not all. There is still a very large percentage of the population that shops with purpose. This percentage has hobbies and life activities that live outside of shopping and they are not looking for an experience, just quite simply to purchase goods as required.
I’m picturing my sister (who travels four days a week), and her shopping desires with two teenagers in tow on a weekend. She needs a new suit, her son has grown another two inches and needs jeans, her daughter requires new dance clothes and this all needs to be accomplished during a three hour window of time between commitments on a Saturday. I can assure you the only shopping experience she is looking for is to find “pleasing” goods that fit. She will even pay more than she wants to avoid any experience that will distract from the task at hand. Similarly, when my husband requires a wardrobe update he wants not an experience but rather the shortest route back to his day off activities, which never include shopping.
Packaging and environment will always be foundational to product sales but beyond these basics marketing dollars are wasted. With declining sales and lean budgets retailers are best advised to keep the shopping experience simple and focus on why fashion fatigue exists. The market is flooded with goods offering little to no satisfaction. Focussing on the retail environment, the shopping experience, building brand communities, are all bandaid temporary fixes distracting us from the underlying root cause.
Yes it is true that if you make people feel good they will come back for more of that feel good experience. That said what may be a feel good experience in one setting may cause annoyance in another. In other words, the disco light, the comfy chairs and the lemon water will be an annoyance, not a feel good experience, if the product does not suite the consumers’ needs. In a market of declining sales and lean budgets the key customer experience we should be focussing on the leading cause of customer dissatisfaction; poor garment fit. Retailers wanting to see products move off shelves should focus on improving garment fit.
My suggestion to retailers is to hire a seamstress or tailor to alter goods until product lines with improved fit can be found.
My suggestion to manufactures is to invest in technologies that will improve garment fit.
My suggestion to CAD companies is to integrate customized shaping methodologies such as Intelligent Shaping™