With apparel consumers inundated with choice — of both product and the channels for access — apparel brands need a proposition that will engender their target market’s loyalty over the long term.
In such a highly competitive global marketplace, both large and emerging apparel brands turn to L.E.K. as they seek to chart their growth paths. We have a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed, and of how companies need to evolve in order to adapt to market changes — and make the right strategic choices to grow or to manage challenges they face. Our approaches are grounded in a deep understanding of the consumer, brand position and “permission,” and channel dynamics, and in the application of our broad service line expertise.
Key questions and challenges
Our experienced professionals have a deep understanding of the internal factors and external market forces apparel brands must contend with in developing winning strategies. We believe management teams need to be asking themselves a number of key questions as they seek to ensure they’re well-positioned to thrive in the future:
- Do we have a comprehensive understanding of our target consumer? Which segments are most valuable? Do we understand how they behave, and what drives their decision-making? Do we know which other retailers and brands they shop? Do we understand what they think of us, whether we’re differentiated (and how), and why they do (or don’t) spend more with us?
- Is our brand sufficiently differentiated amidst all the options consumers have today? If so, how do we maximize this? If not, how can we create meaningful differentiation that will support customer loyalty?
- Is our brand proposition likely to endure into the future, as consumers increasingly look for “specialty” brands that deliver on precise needs and constrain the “permission” they give brands to expand?
- How do we address the massive channel disruption occurring in the market (e.g., growing ecommerce penetration, continued strengthening of Amazon, mall-based retail challenges, new and disruptive business models)?
- How can we drive more productivity from fewer points of distribution? How can we “pull through” demand for our brand?
- Do we need to build a direct-to-consumer strategy, and if so, what is its role and what should it look like? How do we manage channel conflict?
Examples of our work
To learn more about how we help clients create value in the apparel sector, please refer to these additional insights and case examples:
- A national specialty apparel brand’s online sales were materially underperforming the market. L.E.K. was asked to design a robust digital commerce strategy that would improve online sales, attract new and existing customers to the site, increase conversion, and ultimately serve as a significant value creator. Read more
- An apparel business had fallen into a repetitive pattern direct discount promotions and wanted to employ a strategic approach in order to restore margin and improve gross profit. L.E.K. was engaged to identify promotions improvement opportunities based on a detailed review of promotional effectiveness. We delivered a “promotional playbook” that was able to drive tangible changes to improve promotional effectiveness and overall sales and profit growth for the client.
- An international apparel and accessories brand was struggling to deal with its growing cost base, which was deleveraging the business. L.E.K. realigned the product development process and product life-cycle organization to reduce costs and improve workflow efficiency. The product development process was redesigned with a focus on appropriate event sequencing, increased integration, and the removal of redundant or ineffective activities. We also restructured the organization to best support the enhanced processes and systems, and to ultimately deliver on the strategic imperatives of the business. This resulted in the elimination of two months (approximately 20% time savings) in the concept-to-customer life cycle, enabling inventory investments closer to sale and lower ongoing safety stock levels.