What should be assortment policy in a crisis Photo: shutterstock
21.06.2016 9005

What should be assortment policy in a crisis

“The brands that suffered the most from the crisis were those who, while raising prices, did not maintain the quality and comfort of shoes,” according to Fashion Consulting Group. Not the best strategy, according to experts, is the rejection of fashionable models in favor of simpler and cheaper to manufacture, as this threatens the loss of loyal consumers.

In the St. Petersburg shoe center "Platform", where footwear of various brands of the mass market segment is presented, this year the assortment has become significantly poorer. The shops remained in their places, retailers and manufacturers manage to keep the prices for shoes at a more or less acceptable level, but it is becoming more and more difficult to choose something interesting from the presented collection of women's shoes. For obvious reasons, many manufacturers of shoes in the middle and low price segment have revised their assortment in favor of models that are cheaper to manufacture. On the shelves, there are significantly more shoes made of artificial materials, shoes with low heels or wedges. Such a picture can be seen in other shoe shopping centers in different cities of the country, so it might seem that most of our consumers, overnight, decided to switch to unpretentious comfortable shoes, abandoning fashion and beauty.

Meanwhile, according to a recent large-scale study of consumer preferences in the clothing and footwear market in Russia, RBC Market Research, Russian consumers are not ready to abandon genuine leather shoes. The proportion of respondents who chose genuine leather shoes as their priority purchase has not changed compared to the results of the pre-crisis 2014 year, the company’s analytical report says. About 73% of the surveyed Russian consumers try to buy genuine leather shoes.

Also, according to experts in the field of fashion retail, not all Russian consumers are ready to give up their love for fashion and style. Thus, Fashion Consulting Group analysts believe that the transition to a basic unified assortment during the crisis is a big mistake of shoe manufacturers.

“A much more competent step is to reduce the width of the assortment not by cutting off risky fashion, but by balancing all types of assortment and avoiding unprofitable ones,” commented Galina Kravchenko, chief specialist at the assortment and forecasting trends.

“As an example, she notes,“ one can cite the fact that the most affected during the crisis are those brands that, by increasing prices, did not maintain the quality and comfort of shoes. This applies to Russian brands that produce their shoes for outsourcing in Southeast Asia (RESPECT, MASKOTTE, CARLO PAZOLLINI, etc.). These are Russian brands that, saving on quality, are losing their loyal customers. Brands that offered the same or better quality characteristics at a price comparable to the quality will not lose customers. "

In addition, Galina Kravchenko points out that different price segments have their own characteristics of consumer behavior:

“Those who, before the crisis, bought footwear of the lower price segment, today went down to the economy, to discounters. But at the same time, they did not abandon their previous preferences for quality, did not lower its level;

those who bought good European shoes will never go down to one-day shoes. If the buyer wants to remain committed to a particular brand, he will wait for the sale or go to a discount to look for a brand of similar status and quality at a better price.

In the brands of “middle plus” and “premium” segments, customers demonstrate a higher level of brand loyalty than the middle and lower ones. ”

The second factor that influences the behavior of Russian footwear consumers, according to the Fashion Consulting Group expert, is the geoclimatic conditions: “In most of our country, winter is cold, so we always sell well-made shoes made of genuine leather with fur. In the current economic situation, buyers, of course, have paid attention to other categories of winter footwear (for example, "dutik"), but 100% rejection of natural materials will never happen. In Russia, the quality of footwear will always remain the main criterion. " 

“The brands that suffered the most from the crisis were those who, while raising prices, did not maintain the quality and comfort of shoes,” according to Fashion Consulting Group. Not the best strategy, according to experts, ...
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