How to introduce a fashion trend in the range
27.09.2013 9110

How to introduce a fashion trend in the range

Many store owners perceive the word “fashionable” with regard to the assortment with skepticism and, trying not to risk it, they purchase the basic assortment. But there are methods for using the fashion trend as a sales tool, with the help of which fashion trends can turn from a risk factor into a factor of increasing profits. What techniques are we talking about and how to apply them? Galina Kravchenko, development director of Fashion Consulting Group, spoke about this during her seminar at "Russian Shoe Week".

As a rule, the perception of the word "fashionable" among specialists in the shoe market and ordinary consumers differs significantly. A specialist can call models who have barely come off the catwalk fashionable, while a customer will consider the shoes she has been wearing to the theater for 10 years as “super-fashionable”. Therefore, it is the understanding of what exactly your consumer considers fashionable and the ability to use the fashion trend that suits your store that will increase store sales.
In general, a "fashion injection" will not interfere with almost any assortment. True, here it is almost like in a pharmacy, where success will depend on the correct dosage and the correctness of the diagnosis. Therefore, before purchasing fashionable models for a store, it is necessary to conduct a preliminary analysis of your capabilities. It takes several steps.

Step 1: Determine the susceptibility of the target audience to fashion trends. What trends and in what quantity you will need to introduce into the collection will depend on this.
Today, the desire and ability to shoe samples of certain trends depends not so much on age or financial capabilities, but on lifestyle. Therefore, regardless of age and income, all people can be divided into several groups. This division is called the "Rogers diffuse model" and it shows how innovation spreads among members of society. According to Rogers' model, all members of the social system can be divided into innovators, early adopters, early majority, later majority, and laggards. Innovators make up 2,5% of the members of society. These are people who are inclined to take risks and are not afraid of failure. They actively use numerous sources of information and are able to create something of their own, including fashion. 13,5% of society are early adopters. They read the trend quickly and are not afraid to try it out for themselves. Many of them are opinion leaders. A prime example is celebrities who are perceived by consumers as “style icons” or role models. It is for early adopters that fast fashion is designed. 34% of members of society form the early majority: they are ready to perceive the trend after they see it on early adopters or through the media. They need time to decide to try the trend on themselves. Later, the majority also make up 34%, but differs from the early majority in particular caution in everything new and readiness to adopt an innovation only after it has been accepted by the majority. As a rule, this part of the audience accepts trends that fit into their way of dressing, or specially adapted, modifications.
Finally, 16% are lagging consumers. These are real conservatives who accept fashion when it has already become the norm. Most shoe companies and mass retailers target only a few groups of buyers: early adopters, early majority, and later majority. At the same time, the overwhelming amount of assortment falls on more conservative groups. If you depict this strategy graphically, you can see a triangle, the tip of which falls on the group of the early adopters and the base on the group of the later majority. According to this classification of buyers, the footwear market can be divided into the early market, the middle market and the mass market. Most companies can work with one or two markets, and large multi-brand retail formats sometimes even work with two or three markets. In order to determine the most relevant trends for the store and the share of the trend assortment in the store, it is important to accurately determine the place of your company in the market. A competent approach is not to try to please everyone, but to work according to the chosen market niche and offer a balanced collection to buyers of the selected segment. But even if you decide you are exclusively in the mass market niche for late majority shoppers, you can still harness the power of fashion trends, for example by adding fashionable colors or shapes to your assortment. Of course, in your store they will not be the best sellers, but they will definitely draw the attention of buyers to the nearby models of basic colors.

Step 2: Determine the technology for introducing trends according to the assortment structure. The entire assortment of the store can and should be divided into three groups in terms of using fashion trends. When making a purchase, you must understand what type this or that model will belong to. According to the methodology of Fashion Consulting Group, the assortment is divided into the following groups: Basa, Fashion, Fad. Basa. Models of this type make up the main investment in the collection and bring most of the sales. For the consumer, the basic assortment is the footwear that is worn most often and fits the maximum number of clothing sets in the wardrobe. For a seller, basic models are those that have shown good sales for 1-2 seasons. Basic models are necessarily made in certain colors, and most often the "base" is black, and more recently also gray shoes for the autumn assortment. In the summer collections, the basic models of white, beige and ivory became the running models. In the men's assortment, the "base" is black shoes and brown boots, which are considered a must-have addition to a blue suit. From the point of view of fashion, the basic models look like repetitions of models of previous seasons or new models of a generally accepted design, for example, such as oxfords, loafers, Chukka, boats, ballet shoes, etc. An example of a female model that has already become basic is Oxford low shoes, which are a complete semblance of a male low shoe. Two years ago, these models were new to the women's assortment, and now, from season to season, we are witnessing fashionable transformations of this classic design. Many customers have become accustomed to oxford shoes with heels, oxford shoes with a slightly elongated nose or oxford pumps, and these first only men's shoes have already become the base model for various market niches and for companies with different positioning. Fashion. Models of this type are considered “must-haves” of the season, that is, they must be introduced into the assortment at least in a small proportion. Shoes from this category look either as a variant of the base shoe, changed in terms of material, color, heel or other elements, or as a fundamentally new model. An example of typical models from the Fashion range are shoes in black, white or other standard leather with transparent silicone soles or transparent heels, or Oxfords in the traditional creamy black tones, but without laces. Fad. Models of this category are not present in the assortment of all companies, since shoes of an acute trend are notable for high risk and very small purchases. If the Fad group is present in the assortment of the company, then it is no more than 20%, even for brands designed for the most progressive early followers. Fad models are usually purchased for shop windows and tend to boost sales of all models on display next to them.

Step 3: Choose the exact set of trends If you are operating in the mid-market for an early majority audience, you may be better off using a trend that has already been established for 2-3 seasons. For example, shoes with a pronounced relief ("tractor") soles were already visible in the fall of 2012 at shows and at professional footwear exhibitions for the spring-summer 2013 season, proved themselves in sales in the spring and summer of 2013, and went on sale at many retailers this fall. Thus, the trend for a tractor sole can be considered established, and soon it will become even closer and more understandable to the buyer and will not be considered risky in purchases. If your store has a high proportion of fashion assortment and an orientation towards the early majority, introduce more recent trends.

How to reduce the risks of acquiring a "false trend"? To do this, it does not hurt to track trends even before purchasing, focusing on several types of fashionable forecasts. The long-term forecast is made 2 or 1,5 years before the sales season. It is based on mass culture in the form of music, youth subcultures, literature, films, design, interior design and other elements. As a rule, "beacons" of the future trend are noticeable in everything, up to the design of advertisements, lipstick colors and the design of perfume bottles. Already today, for example, according to these signs, it can be assumed that next summer pink will be in vogue: it too often appears in the field of view of the buyer, and this will greatly increase his chances of becoming “familiar and dear”. If you learn to look at the world through the eyes of a buyer and see what he sees today, you will begin to understand what he will be ready to buy tomorrow. An industrial forecast is made 1,5 or 1 year before the sales season. It is based on trends identified during fashion weeks and exhibitions of finished products, as well as observations of famous personalities, in particular, stylists and other fashion figures from the category of opinion leaders. The assortment of shops and fashion-setting companies also plays an important role. A year or six months before the start of the season, a confirmation forecast is formed. It is compiled on the basis of collections of companies in the fast fashion segment, street fashion, as well as through current fashion weeks and exhibitions. It is at this time that the more commercially profitable, tradable trends can be selected with confidence. Obviously, the closer to the season you make a purchase, the more accurately you fall into the current trend and reduce the risks for purchasing the Fad and Fashion assortment groups.
Let's sum up. In order to harmoniously introduce fashion trends into the collection, you must do the following:
1. Understand what market niche your store operates in (early, middle, late market); 2. Determine the proportion of groups within your range (Basa, Fashion, Fad) according to fashion; 3. Identify the most relevant and less risky trends for your audience and make a purchase.
Many store owners perceive the word “fashionable” with regard to the assortment with skepticism and, trying not to risk it, they purchase the basic assortment. But there are techniques for using the fashion trend ...
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