Teen clothing retailers are an interesting bunch. They are constantly working to attract a moving target. Any loss of focus means they will miss an opportunity. This was the case in the past fiscal year, as Lindsey Rupp reports (“Modesty Is the New Abercrombie” Bloomberg Businessweek, 5/26/14–6/1/14, pp. 25–26):
“Aberbrombie, American Eagle Outfitters, and Aeropostale . . . stuck with the same products, marketing, and store design for too long, and each saw sales decline in the last fiscal year.” (p. 25)
Meanwhile, other competitors benefitted by being in the right place at the right time with the right design and the right appeal. These included some of the fast-fashion stores such as Forever 21, H&M, and online discount leader JackThreads.
Aberbrombie, American Eagle Outfitters, and Aeropostale are busily working on their turnaround strategies. For example, Abercrombie is redesigning its stores by improving the lighting, removing the heavy window shutters, and reducing the music volumes. Additionally, the online approach is being refreshed:
“[Abercrombie] is turning to social media to update its image, working with fashion bloggers and teens with huge followings on Instagram to incorporate Abercrombie products into their posts.” (p. 26)
Regardless of your business model, you can never afford to lose track of your customer base. Advertising, marketing, and product or service design must constantly cater to your customers . . . if you want them to remain your customers.