We are living in an age of extremes:- extreme weather, extreme disasters, extreme political opinion and extreme shopping behaviour. Today CNN reported that the American shopper will spend on designer and cut-price brands – but nothing in-between. High-end luxury and low-end bargain retailers are performing well but the USA middle market is getting squeezed just like the middle classes are in the UK. The cost of life went up and the money coming in went down. As a retailer operating in this area, what on earth do you do?
I’ve been negotiating these choppy seas for a while and this is what I have learnt. Customers are buying but evidently more cautiously and what they want to feel is that they have got value for their money. Whether they have spent £1000 on an heirloom bag which will last a lifetime, or a £4.99 holiday t-shirt, worn for 7 days until it loses its colour and shrinks. If you can tap into this concept, then you will find that you can seduce even the most nervous of shoppers.
Never has the ‘cost per wear’ ratio been such a part of our shopping mentality. Items that won’t date - great. Classic wardrobe staples, at what appears to be an affordable price-point, this is where shoppers will justify the spend. Versatility, day-to-night, wearability… these buzz words aren’t just gimmicks, it really is what the customer needs in order to get a perceived value for their rapidly decreasing, disposable income.
Customers are shopping the way I shop. I won’t buy full-price unless I am heart-stoppingly in love, could get married and live with said item forever. This happens rarely. However for passing crushes and sartorial infatuations…. an offer, reduction, limited-edition or short-lived incentive is what will prise open my wallet. If I can justify the purchase with a low cost-per-wear ratio then I’m yours. Do the wardrobe maths and the numbers will eventually add up.