Spring fashion for men is alive with lumberjack checks and dainty floral, masculinity and femininity vying for top spot, we know who will win. This seasons floral patterns are reminiscent of the 70’s, and checks, well if you think lumberjack checks originated in America, sorry to spoil the party but their roots can easily be traced back to the Scottish tartan.
“You take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye, but me and my true love will never meet again on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond”
This old Scottish tune has been around a wee while, but the Kilt and the tartan check have been around far more than a wee while. Certainly long before any whiskey toting lumberjack swung an axe through the air Rambo style and sunk it into the heartwood of an old pine, no sire, “shiver me timbers”
The cat walks are a blaze with checks and floral. Soon to be conservatively washed down for the high street stores and, no doubt they’ll all look pretty much the same, it’s just another name. Certain styles are never far from the fashion cycle, like tweed, checks, floral, they just go into orbit for a while and then coming crashing back to earth. Westwood realised the longevity in Tartan. For many years she has used its patterns and colours wisely, more recently in some great looking tote alls.
At the end of the day, retailers large and small, online, or on high street have to give customers what they want, such is the fete of this industry.
I read an article published in England’s number one business fashion weekly “Drapers”, titled “Exploit your assets to temp shoppers” It’s always been my opinion that customers are a retailers biggest assets. The article went on to advise; “In short, retailers should deliver a higher standard of service to get customers’ attention. By doing the basics well, and working in some magic, the brands on offer will inspire and delight customers and get them spending more” Well if this topic is open for debate, then why create a mirage? Customers will see through it pretty quickly. It’s not about working in some magic, that sort of stuff might work in the circus. Creating an illusion is short term strategy and just a knee-jerk reaction to a changing market. More focus on the thing that will generate revenue, rather than dreaming up ways to make more profit out of customers would be a good strategy. In other words focus on the product, the style, colour, pattern, texture and most importantly quality. Retailers must build trust in their customers, sincerity is key to building long term relationships, within and without.
The article also advised investing in training staff. All well and good, but you can’t teach people good attitude if they ain’t got it. You could be investing a lot of time and money for short term gain.
One of the core principles of marketing is “determine the needs and wants of your target audience and then supply accordingly” Listen to your customers, give them what they want. Focus on getting the product right: The product, the product, the product. You can have a bunch of well trained staff with poor attitudes and you’re not much further ahead or different from your competitors.
Take the example of Singapore Airlines, one of only two services to make a continuous profit for more than 30 years. They have a bunch of well trained staff with good attitude. In fact their staff selection process focuses on selecting new staff with good attitude. The technical training is easy.
If retailers want to differentiate from the pack, why not treat your customers with respect rather than “punters”
Late last year we launched a new unknown brand of silk ties, after much listening to customers and researching the keywords they were typing into search engines. We tested our theory by selecting conservative and out of ordinary styles. The out of ordinary won out because we new customers were looking for something different.
We picked colours that reflect the hues of any season spring, summer, autumn and winter. Married them to a pattern that cannot be categorised, it is abstract, but symmetrical, conservative or non. And then to add depth and interest we selected heavily textured silk twill.
The experiment worked from all angles. The Abstract and other floral sold out, prompting us to order more fabric. The conventional checks and stripes did poorly. We determined the needs and wants of our customers and supplied accordingly without any fuss or bother.
We are very happy with our little experiment and soon will attempt the same with cufflinks.
There is a lot of room to grow and move in men’s fashion accessories, the market as we see it is very generic and undersupplied, it’s like fruit ripe for picking. And we aim to make a difference, albeit in a small way, because we are different.
To conclude: Focus on getting the product right (colour, pattern, texture, quality and price point) listen to your customers, deliver in accordance with their demands, supported by right attitude and a consistently good level of service. Focus on the thing that will generate revenue. And most importantly “begin with the end in mind” Prepare a strategy that is workable enough to be a constant guide through good and bad times. Avoid knee jerk reactions. A strategy will act as your compass. Finally, sincerity is key, no magic, and no smoke screens.
This is just my opinionComputer Technology Articles, is there a cat amongst the pigeons?