Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Nine ways for apparel retailers to go bust

There’s an article being syndicated around the web which is close to a guaranteed recipe for clothing retailers to go out of business instantly. Describing itself as ‘Nine Trends for Apparel Retailers and Brands’ it’s probably a parody of those ‘Ten ways to cash in on today’s boom’ articles consultants used to churn out. But in case anyone reads it and takes it seriously, I’m going to look at each of those nine guarantees of instant suicide over the next few days. And start ths analysis by a brief summary of the first absurdity. These are nine ways, recommended by consultants, that we think guarantee going bust:

1. Increased focus on customer loyalty and gross margin are key
Apparently in a recession “consumers will cut back on trips and concentrate their shopping in a fewer number of stores”. Really? Not in any mall or High Street I’ve been in lately. Clothes shoppers are walking and looking, pretty much as they always do. They’re not always buying. But if the right clothes are there in front of them, and those clthes are priced right, they’ll buy. If you want loyalty, buy a dog. If you want to sell clothes, get the right clothes. The consultants, of course argue that “protecting gross margin through… inventory management systems will be a key focus area”. Ah: they sell “inventory management systems” This isn’t meant to be a serious article: it’s just a disguised pitch for some hokey IT system

As we’ll see over the next day or two, that’s the problem with these “ways of saving your business” nonsenses. They’re all written by people who’ve never stood in a shop and tried to sell a pair of knickers to a customer. But when did complete ignorance ever inhibit a consultant from trotting out a “solution” that only ever managed to keep a talent-free consultant from starvation?
Here are the next eight:

2. Shift from channel-centric to customer-centric mindset
3. Blurring of the distinction between brands and retail.
4. Focus on international growth
5. Emergence of lifestyle communities and touchpoints
6. Intelligent technologies for intelligent consumers
7. Green initiatives will go mainstream
8. Fast fashion and customization will prompt retailers and brands to acquire greater control over their supply chain
9. Uncommon insights from common sources

As we’ll see those suggestions that aren’t banal are downright lethal. Follow this blog over the next few days to see just how destructive inexperiencxed consultants can be to a real business’ wealth