Crain’s NY 3-14, New wave of foreign retailers invades NY

I do believe, as an industry consultant for Store Design and Display, that there is much more to the explanation why foreign retailers are gaining market share from the American retailers.To me it is a multitude of factors that make up the success of a product line, but at the end of the day it is style and quality. To satisfy all the customers all of the time is an unrealistic objective for retailers. To satisfy most of the consumers most of the time is more likely to be achieved.What has made apparel retailers successful is understanding their brand’s point of difference, knowing what their customer wants and delivering quality goods.To say a foreign influence is the main cause for the change in consumers attitude is a stretch. To say it is style, design, price, ease of shopping, better instore visual presentation, quality and advertising is closer to the truth.H&M delivered an upscale looking store priced like Old Navy to be disposable clothing year after year.The H&M and Old Navy approach is right for many shoppers but is of little interest to the department store customer that wants a unique offering.Therefore, set your sights on keeping your customer base with a line that meets their needs and wants which are constantly subject to change. Whether it is a poor economy forcing price to dictate, or a green movement to define a person as a caring, retailers need to go with the flow in order to just be able to stay in place.Unfortunately, to clothing brands, safe has only one advantage to them. Safe reduces their risk with the wrong style, or color, or size offering. Safe however increases the potential of customers turning to a retailer that has provided the right product for the times.The Gap’s former success was based on less is more and America bought into it. Change is the backbone of the American economy and as American brands took the safe road from change to no change, the path became wide open for the foreign brand to infiltrate the American market .Is it too late for American retailers to do something about the current trend? No if they want to be around in five years.You’ve heard of Ford and GM, remember when they owned the automobile industry? Foreign alternatives came in and knew the American publics needs better than the American companies. American retailers better spend more time asking their customers what they want as well as trying new things to test the next trend.Their is no room for complacency in retail and the retail store brands as we know it today¬† go the way of the typewriter if they continue to sit on their hands.Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.Partner RDD Associates Inc. Store Planners

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.