When I walked into New Look’s autumn 12 press day today, I was handed a scanner. Not to shop, but to pick my favourite pieces.
I was then photographed holding some of those favourite pieces. Still not content, New Look’s PR then sweet-talked me into speaking on film about the collection. And this is just today. Tomorrow, 80 of New Look’s customers will be invited to the showroom to see the same collections as the press, and asked to scan their favourite pieces, too. New Look’s not-so-recent woes have been well documented, but today, I saw a business that’s working really hard to reconnect with its customers and gauge public opinion.
The idea, according to marketing director Gill Moore, is to see where the overlaps between the two groups are; if both press and end-consumer pick the same pieces, New Look knows it’s on to a winner and can focus its buying (and PR strategy) accordingly. But what if they don’t? Well, the customer always comes first.
And let’s not forget that press days feature the more trend-led, “editorial” pieces. However many black leggings New Look shifts, they’re never going to devote space to a product that doesn’t stand out. But they don’t need to. Sales of core, bread-and-butter items are easy to monitor through the tills; backing trends requires more of a balance between art and science, so when there is even the tiniest chance of applying more science to the equation, you’d be mad not to. I wasn’t told the demographic of the 80 consumers (and I wonder if 80 is a large enough group), but there’s an opportunity here for New Look to use the information to adapt marketing, in-store, windows campaigns and much more to suit individual groups based on the trends and products that appeal to them.
What do you think? Is this a good way to gain customer insight? How could New Look use the findings? Would be good to hear your thoughts.