Dr. Martens: the secret to success

We highlight some product trends using our consumer opinions from Product Intelligence

Dr. Martens: the secret to success

On the up?

Last year Dr. Martens solidified their status as a retailer on the up, as they opened 20 new stores. Talking to Drapers last year Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens, said several factors contributed to the business’s success, including investment in systems and people, having the right product and increasing its direct to consumer focus.

Product at the centre

Product is key here. Many retailers we see are known for one iconic product, with the most commercial colour or print (a good example is that Réalisation Par leopard print skirt) forming a large proportion of all sales. When retailers try and diversify and reach new customers with novel colour-ways and prints they need to make sure they keep the existing consumer part of the process.

Dr. Martens seem to have nailed the extension of product range without isolating consumers. In the case of Dr. Martens, they have a rich history; having been born in an era rife with social change the boots quickly became a countercultural icon. They’re deeply proud of their heritage and know this is a valuable marketing message - proclaiming ‘Six Decades of Individuality’ on the front of their web page.

An enduring trend

There is no denying Dr. Martens remains popular today, though its cultural position has changed over the years. We see celebrities such as Rihanna and Pharrell sport them and they are now just as acceptable paired with a pair of low-key skinny jeans as  - keeping it edgy -  with a ballgown! They are a fashion statement often used to punctuate a look.

The classic black Dr. Martens, synonymous with the brand, always performs very well on Mallzee - this is not unexpected -  but Dr. Martens also have the edge. They have kept the customer at the centre of their decisions when  extending their core range and make it look easy., For example, this pair are in a colourway that could have easily underperformed, it’s a little niche and far from practical but consumers on Mallzee are loving them.

Perhaps some of the success here can be derived from Dr.. Martens adoption of vegan shoes in light of veganism's popularity in the mass market.

What's next?

Dr. Marten aren’t immune from negative press. At the end of last year, there was word of the quality of Dr. Martens going down. Hopefully, they can weather the storm, from consumer interactions it looks like there’s still a lot of demand for their shoes and key for Dr. Martens is that they understand their customer, which means they can vear from their key ranges and still create products that have a real hype.


Heather Darwent

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