Welcome to the the Ivey HBA Retail Marketing Management blog. Retail marketing is an exciting, dynamic, important, and very visible aspect of the overall field of marketing. Throughout the year, students will be posting comments regarding contemporary retailing issues. Although this is intended to be used by Bus 4411 students, industry marketing professionals are also invited to join in if they like.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If The Apple Store Sold Clothing - How Retailers Can Align Their RVP's With Their Retail Format

The “Eco-options” case illustrated retailers who have taken advantage of the opportunity to grow their business and minimize their impact on the environment by offering consumers eco-friendly products. Adapting their strategies to this new demand has been a key source of differentiation. However, straying from their original RVPs requires a retail format that matches. “If the Apple Store Sold Clothing…” is a perfect embodiment of this trend. The article outlines the emergence of a new retail concept and brand, SLVR launched by Adidas. The store showcases an eco-friendly collection in a retail format that mirrors its strategy. “The narrow interior of the store is airy and free of unnecessary décor. Simple chairs and seats have spongy square-cut cushions made of felt. A table near the back is made of wood planks bound together with thick belts. Men’s and women’s apparel is divided cleanly along opposite walls, separated into unobtrusive shades of blue, khaki, black and white, displayed on 100 percent recyclable cardboard hangers.” [1]

According to photographs[2], the store is white, mimicking the clean, simplistic appearance of the Apple store, a retail format admired for its proven success. Essentially, the SLVR store is a rectangle with clothing against either wall and a defined aisle with display cases in the center. When the customer turns right as is characteristic of the typical shopper, they will see shelving units between hanging displays. Clothing on the shelves are well organized and only minimal sizes are available, making the store easy to navigate due to the minimized clutter. On the left, hanging units, followed by cubicles, entrenched into the walls and end at the cash register. The cubicle is unique as clothing is organized by color, creating a neat look. The cash is located in a strategic position, prompting customers to shop, as they are required to walk down at least one aisle before arriving at the check out. The hybrid loop-grid layout allows for enjoyable and convenient shopping and may prove to be a key success factor in a retail environment that is refreshingly unique.

SLVR has also launched an online store, allowing the brand to utilize various channels to reach its consumers. Although class discussion concerning Eddie Bauer proved that synchronizing various channels can be difficult; however, SLVR allows for an easy transition between its channels. The virtual store mimics the retail concept; it is easy to navigate as it is similarly compartmentalized and organized. Comparable to their strategic layout, their online store offers a section displaying their most popular items and is highly valued by consumers. The synergy across the two channels suggests that even minimal attempts to enhance the experience component of the RVP whether online or through physical store format can drastically enhance the entire shopping experience, a critical element of differentiation in these tough economic times. although Mimicing Apple’s proven success may be a promising strategy, can applying this it to clothing afford Adidas the same success?

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/05/fashion/05CRITIC.html?_r=1&ref=fashion
[2] http://www.highsnobiety.com/news/?s=SLVR

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