Have We Forgotten the Customer? The Necessary Fashion Retail Revolution

Fashion retail is an industry in trouble. Mass consumption is declining, female customers are not having expectations met. We need a revolution.

This is true for many companies in the fashion industry. Mass consumption is receding and it’s not only Wöhrl, Gerry Weber and Tom Tailor finding themselves in the entrepreneur’s trap. A good example of this are beacons – an application to send digital coupons or invites to customers passing by. It turned out, that this app is basically unknown to customers. Another is virtual shop windows.

There is a half-hearted approach to new concepts: the industry is putting all of its hopes on the much sought-after target group of the premium customer – preferably young, pretty and stylish. Stores are equipped with iPads and virtual gadgets – but somehow there is still some dust on the concept and one wonders why the customer doesn’t understand the new concept once again.

Chocolate and dessous (Photo: Zeitgeist Handeln) - The Necessary Faschion Retail Revolution

Chocolate and dessous (Photo: Zeitgeist Handeln)

We Are Fed Up

It is not enough to just give the traditional merchandise presentation a facelift. It is also not enough to turn us on via social media channels or the homepage – then we yet again find ‘retail as usual’ in the stores. We are tired of digging through piles of merchandise. We are also fed up with the final sale before the season has begun. We do not want to be bothered by permanent red signs with reduced prices anymore.

The Old Ways No Longer Work

In the development of so-called ‘future stores’, the drastically changed, the ‘ZEITGEIST new wishes’ and needs of the woman as a result are hardly noticed. On the contrary, they are still underestimated by many retail experts. ZEITGEIST themes are about expectations and demands of today’s and tomorrow’s female customers, towards stationary retail. Online, many of those expectations have already been met, but the promises do not reach the stores.

Declining traffic and turnover in fashion retail, call for new ways to approach the customers and a genuine revolution. The old ways obviously aren’t convincing enough anymore, to increase revenue and get clients into the stores.

Unfortunately female customers are still often neglected by mostly male managing boards, CEOs and directors. Yet it is no secret that women are on a different wavelength than men and need to be approached in a different way.

How men and women see themselves in the mirror (Photo: Yang Liu) - The Necessary Faschion Retail Revolution

How men and women see themselves in the mirror (Photo: Yang Liu)

The current leadership report by ZEITGEIST HANDELN about the ‘Generation Y and Z’, also explains that the target customer ‘woman’ will be a special challenge for the fashion trade. A new feminine self-image characterises the DNA of society.

In this way, completely new demands are being placed on the industry. Women feel, think and communicate differently than men. This also affects our favourite activity – shopping of course. And frankly, if you think you understand women:

We do not post our secret desires (Photo: Pexel) - The Necessary Fashion Retail Revolution

We do not post our secret desires (Photo: Pexel)

Our Greatest Longings

What women lack is time. We wish for seduction, entertainment and service, in a new dimension to make quick decisions. We long for orientation and excellence in empathy. Whoever gives us time wins our heart. Whoever fulfills our desires – which we often don’t even know that we have – wins our money.

The secret is ZEITGEIST seduction. We are searching offline, for whatever we already expect online: fast orientation, a perfect pre-selection, personal service with the flirtation factor. With many retailers a revolution is needed: a revolution that supports the new customer wishes. It is not enough to work half-heartedly on the assortment concept, or to pursue one-dimensional multichannel strategies.

Store Concept (Photo: Ramelow) - The Necessary Fashion Retail Revolution

Store Concept (Photo: Ramelow)

STOREtelling invites the female customer to enjoy with all the senses, to be seduced and to have a genuine brand experience. The implementation of a coherent world of values ​​and experiences is offered across all touch points.

A recent good example of how it can be done is the fashion retailer Modehaus Ramelow, with its new bodywear department in Elmshorn, close to Hamburg. They are an industry pioneer and a wish-fulfiller of the desires of the female heart. The irresistible presentation of the new lingerie department radiates warmth, a great deal of personality and inspires the customers as well as the staff – their comments were enthusiastic: “The department is a blast!”

The combination of a profound understanding of the female customer, her secret desires and wishes when she goes shopping and the STOREtelling that tends to all her needs is crucial. Add a bit of the right marketing ideas to lure her in and keep the promises made in the store …

This is the fashion retail revolution!

About the Authors:
Silke Linsenmaier is a specialist in the area of ‘women’ as a target group, innovative retail concepts, emotional store-selling and time-management (all sales channels). She is the head of a future-oriented retail task force for category management, which is developing marketplaces of the future for the target woman. Silke brings to 25 years of professional experience in the fashion industry, experience in the development of brands and companies, as well as restructuring. You can contact Silke via LinkedIn.  

Isabella Ladines is a retail and brand product management professional in the fashion industry, with a passion for underwear, accessory and lifestyle  businesses. After more than 20 years in leading positions in brand and retail companies, she now consults and coaches companies on how to truly fulfill their female customers’ expectations and genuine longings. You can learn more about Isabella via LinkedIn 

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