Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fashion Retailers - a case study

Fundamentals of IMD Fashion Case Study:                                                            

                This will look at six fashion websites and how they reach their consumers. The assignment only called for five, but since my fashion sense tends toward two distinct trends, I went with three of each.,, and are three Goth clothing websites.  They all have facebook pages and rss feeds. You can follow them on twitter and flicker.  They do not have print ads or mailers, but you can sign up for email alerts. Like them,,, and are exclusively web based clothing retailers.  They sell steampunk wear and accessories.  They also have facebook accounts and twitter pages, as well as email newsletters.
 I have looked for stores that carry this type of clothing, and while shops like Hot Topic have commercialized the alternative, you just can’t find some things in the stores.  There are also seasonal shops, such as Renaissance Fairs, that sell some of these things, but to have access to this style of clothing whenever you can afford it, you really need to have online access.  The six “stores” I looked at online are exclusively web-based retailers.  I have never gotten an ad insert in my Sunday paper for any of them. Neither have I seen any ads for them online, save for on facebook.  They are set up to be found. Consumers interested in this type of clothing already have certain keywords that they can put into the search bar.  These websites are among those that come up on the first page of the search.  They all have facebook accounts, and come up in the search.  Of all of them and are the only two that list an actual address and both are in California.
 The second point asks how consumers are being reached, and while I touched on that in the above paragraph, I reiterate here.  They all have facebook accounts, which I follow, twitters, flickers, and rss feeds.  They each of them have connected their sites to certain keywords, such as goth clothing and steampunk clothing.  I don’t use my twitter much, so I can’t speak for that site, but on facebook, after I followed, was suggested as a page I might like.  When I followed Steampunk, a page devoted to the genre, was suggested as a page I might like. So while these stores are not sending out print mail or ads, they are slowly getting their name out there.
 Again, this topic asks if they are using unique integrated approaches to the use of tools at hand.  Like the paragraph above says, they have definitely taken advantage of the search engines by attaching the keywords to their sites.  They also have themselves advertised on facebook with links in the ads to their websites rather than their facebook page.  Although, each of their home pages has a link to their facebook page as well as their twitter, flicker and rss feeds.
 I’ve always like the style of clothing that fits in with the Goth and Steampunk scene.  Yes, I even attend the Renaissance Festival in costume.  I was disheartened when Hot Topic opened up in the malls, though as ashamed as I am to admit it, I did shop there on occasion.  I felt like the store was taking an alternative lifestyle and making it mainstream, taking the power out of the style to allow the individual to feel unique.  The Goth kid wearing the Cure t-shirt is no longer set apart because the cheerleader saw it in Hot Topic and loved it.  Now along with her cheers, she's singing Lovecats, the only Cure song she knows.  Instead of the Goth kid feeling more a part of the in-crowd, the Goth kid wants to burn the shirt and mourn the introduction of Robert Smith to the greater public.  So, are these websites missing opportunities? Probably.  But unlike Hot Topic, they mean what they sell and they cater to those who truly love and want the style of clothing they offer.  So in conclusion, I think they’re willing to lose some business just to gain the loyal following they get from those who seek them out. I just wish I could afford the clothing myself.  It took me a few years to get my Renaissance outfit complete, and now that I’m back in school, I think it will take just that much longer to get the rest of the clothes I really want. *cough* corset *cough* *cough* boots *cough* *cough* goggles *cough* (oh the list is pretty long.)

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