Fashion retailers are undoubtedly facing challenging times as the number of recent retail casualties bears testament but that’s not the whole story - there are retailers who are bucking the trend and enjoying strong growth, by doing it their own way. This post looks at three very different retailers who are each succeeding through unique approaches and attitudes.
Adidas, Lululemon and Rixo are all very different but with one thing in common - they all have a clear understanding of and are focusing on their own distinct USP, building a strong brand and customer base around it.
Adidas - leading the way in sustainability.
Adidas, the global sportswear brand famous for its heritage Stan Smith and Superstar trainers introduced its Sustainability Strategy back in 2015.
There are many streams shaping Adidas success but one that stands out as different to their competitors is sustainability. Adidas has put sustainability at the heart of everything it does and is using this as one of the ways it differentiates itself in the highly competitive world of global sportswear. In becoming the most sustainable brand amongst the big sportswear players, Adidas has differentiated itself with something deeper than its logo and celebrity collaborations which in turn has strengthened the loyalty of their customer base and has helped drive strong financial results.
In the company’s own words “Deeply rooted in the company’s core belief that sport has the power to change lives, the Strategy translates the Group’s sustainable efforts into tangible goals and measurable objectives until 2020. All actions taken based on the Sustainability Strategy have a direct positive impact on the world of sport, in order to ensure that sport remains an infinite source of happiness.
More and more consumers are now looking for their purchases to be ethical, charitable or sustainable and generally fulfill needs other than merely consumerism. By leading the way on sustainability while not sacrificing credibility in lifestyle trends and also staying true to their sports heritage Adidas has successfully tapped into the potential of the market and gained a loyal following.
Adidas as a global brand uses lots of different strategies and approaches to build brand, however,focusing on and promoting one of the businesses core values - sustainability, has enabled the company to build a stronger emotive brand proposition which in turn fosters customer loyalty. In March 2018, Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, announced Adidas had grown its bottom line by 32%, not bad for a heritage global fashion brand in these challenging times
Lululemon - the retailer keeping a tight focus
Lululemon the yoga inspired athletic wear company, founded in 1998 has been at the forefront of the athleisure boom in recent years and continues to enjoy strong growth - with rising profitability and an increase in revenues of 25% for Q1 2018.
One of the key reasons for this success is that they have maintained a steely (get it) focus on their core product - yoga inspired technical apparel. This focus has allowed them to constantly develop and improve the technical qualities of their product and as a premium brand they have differentiated their offering as best in class in this category.
Whilst Lululemon have remained fully focused on their product USP and have haven’t expanded beyond yoga inspired apparel, they have recently extended their range to include menswear broadening their customer base. They have also sped up their product introductions to keep their offering new and fresh encouraging increased repeat purchase levels. Lululemon are one of the few retailers managing to boost profitability at the same time as embracing e-commerce and pop up shops to augment their store buying experience
Rixo - the affordable luxury champion
New kid on the block Rixo is one of a new breed of mid range designers championing affordable luxury. Its founders and designers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McClusky met at the London College of Art and spotted a gap in the industry for vintage inspired designs at a reasonable price and started Rixo two years ago from their flat, designing items that they themselves would wear.
Rixo’s mission is to make flattering clothes, sexy but in a subtle vintage inspired way, using great quality materials and at an affordable price point. Their USP is at the total opposite end of the spectrum to the fast fashion retailers also bucking the retail trend (think Boohoo, Missguided etc with their fashion forward budget offerings and two-three week product lead times).
Rixo has one of the longer product lead times in the industry as the designers are currently working on products for SS19 - a whole year ahead.
Whilst the three retailers above couldn’t be more different - the one thing they all have in common (other than they are all growing market share) is that they are all focused on building strong brands based on an identifiable USP. This results in a unique product proposition, or at least assumed uniqueness, and enables them to navigate the dangerous retail conditions we currently face.
Mallzee Insights helps brands and retailers improve their range and stock allocation by testing products before they’re brought to market. Through collaboration and benchmarking against our historical performance data we’re able to help partners grow gross margins by 3-6%.