Fashion and apparel can be really fun for consumers. Allowing the user the ability to let the world know what parts of the personality can look like. In a sense we may often have a non-verbal story with clothing. However, that isn't the only focus the companies that sell clothing should have.
FIT is something that is a silent customer service. Developing goods require a lot of thought about the life of the user. Do they have more kids or less kids? Do they have the day booked out with scheduled events from morning to night, or wing it? How do they use their body in the day? The following points below will help any company understand why spending money on a great fit & consumer fit education will help business & service. This practice is known as your "Psychographics".
1. Fit is a Silent Service
Have you ever purchased an item that was so well made and fit, you went back to buy more of the item for later? Have you ever gone back to buy the same product years later because the product performed so well? When this action happens, it begins to define a brand as something that is qualitative. The consumer enjoys the product every time they put it on their body, and wears the item often. The customer will also refer others to the product. Comfort & fit are points of services the item provides the user on a daily basis. It doesn't come cheap to deliver this initially, but the pay off is worth it.
2. Pitfalls of the "Style First" Consumer
Consumers in America have gotten used to buying items of the rack without the assistance of a well trained sales person who can help the buyer connect themselves to their bodies. When we shop online there is very little virtual assistance for example, a video showing the item on bodies that it was made for and bodies it wasn't made for. In a market research surveys that we have conducted, we found a large range of women buying goods for themselves largely based on the "Style First", and not understanding the structure of the garment wasn't made for them. In fact it was over 60% of the surveyed participants that responded in "Style First" mentality. They also had a high rate of frustration and returns with companies. We can see that cosmetics have huge performance ratings on Youtube. Why? Could it be that the channels are fulfilling the need to see how a product behaves for a person with similar complexion, skin tone, and etc.? If more apparel companies had streaming video and images about fit education, the consumer may find more success in what they are choosing to purchase online, and mitigate the return process. Sometimes fixing the problem has to start in the choice process, and not the end process. This is a rough draft of a client of mine making video to educate the user on her versatile bras.
3. Fit becomes the Fabric of Your Brand Identity.
Over the many years of my retail management experience with both Nordstrom and Banana Republic one thing was very consistent. Know the fits and help the customer. Seven jeans relationship with Nordstrom was very strong and grew the premium denim market rapidly in the 2003-2008 time frame. Seven jeans became known for their various fits and long term wearing quality. This fit first focus was a huge reason for the companies ability to grow into a market leader. It also pushed other brands into the light and they began to grow steadily based on the fit selection and the training consumers received. Its also important to keep style and fit connected. Often times companies begin to loose their luster when they do to much style that takes them away from their quality fit standards. A good example of a brand that stays pretty true to fit & style is Doc Marten's. Products are well made, long lasting, and identifiable by any person who knows the brand. A good example is my allegience to specific products that I have enjoyed since my teen years. I still buy shoes from Adidas and Doc Marten's, a good pair of Diesel jeans, and love my Nordstrom label t-shirts. This relationship has been existing for 25+ years. These are all long lasting, great fit, and quality driven. I consume less, and wear more!
At the end of the day "want" & "need" are cornerstones of purchasing power. The consumer on tight budgets in a recession will always be driven by "need" more than "want". If you want the company to be a destination for repeat consumers, focus on the "needs" of the market. A 60%-70% need selection and 30%- 40% want selection keeps your company pretty healthy. You mark down only residual inventory of the want, and keep the need at regular price.
If your organization needs help to structure your selections and offerings please set up a appointment to review your needs. The link is below.