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?
The 2023 US Footwear and Apparel Brand Heat Index
The Footwear and Apparel Brand Heat Index, now in its second year, helps brands and retailers identify which brands are gaining popularity across different generations of consumers. In a survey of nearly 4,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 14 and 55, hundreds of footwear and apparel brands were evaluated by product category, gender and generational cohort (Gen Z, millennials and Gen X).
How to Price in a Post-COVID, Post-Inflationary World
Consumer businesses have faced dramatic increases in input costs over the past 24 months, primarily due to the lingering impact of COVID-19. To avoid profit erosion, most responded by passing these cost increases on to consumers in the form of higher prices. But consumers, concerned with a potential recession, are adjusting their spending behaviors. Business leaders should review pricing principles and ask themselves how they can make pricing a strategic lever that drives revenue and margin growth.