Indies are up in arms over My-Wardrobe’s recent spring promotion - but is the etailer right to discount? Drapers Debates…
NO - Victoria Gallagher
Spring hasn’t even begun yet and retailers should certainly give their spring 13 product a chance to sell before slashing the prices. I know it’s tough out there at the moment and consumers are searching for bargains, but discounting does not only ruin the margins for the retailers doing it but it also affects stores stocking similar brands.
Indies I spoke to about My-Wardrobe discounting were hugely disappointed. With ecommerce such an integral part of retailing these days it is so easy for consumers to shop around and compare online. If My-Wardrobe is selling the same products as others at a discount then most shoppers will more often than not choose to shop at My-Wardrobe in order to save money, instead of buying the same product at their local indie.
Brands could also feel the pinch from this strategy as many too sell direct to consumer through their own websites and stores and this promotion could see their customers go elsewhere. Additionally brands could further miss out as indies opt to stock labels not featured in promotions and decide not to stock those similar to My-Wardrobe.
Discounting, particularly this early on in the season is, in my opinion, a dangerous path to go down and retailers should watch their step.
If retailers discount this early on in the season it devalues the products they are selling. If consumers think they can buy garments with money off then they will hold off on ever paying full price again.
YES - Catherine Neilan
Discounting is as old as retailing and My-Wardrobe is doing nothing particularly different to the hosts of other businesses out there.
Offering a temporary discount as part of a promotion is a canny move in a competitive market, and as David Worby told me last week, My-Wardrobe welcomes that competition.
Consumers are more price sensitive now than they have been for many years, which is a combination of both the economy and the changing way they can access information. While in the past, a shopper would have had to visit another town to see if they could get a better deal, now it’s a matter of a quick Google search on their phone or computer back home.
Even when the economy recovers, that genie is not going back in the bottle.
That’s not to belittle the concerns of those out there who are not in a position to discount – the independent retailers who cannot sacrifice their margins to tempt shoppers in. It’s no surprise that things have come to an impasse whereby indies are seriously planning to drop brands who allow discounting of in-season stock to take place.
Julian Blades was right to write directly to Worby to share his concerns, but it is the brands that need to be brought into the conversation if indies want the discounting to stop.