Fashion Merchandising: Four Brands Leading the Way
March 29, 2015
•Fashion Design and Merchandising
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Great fashion merchandising can transform the bottom line in any company. When done well, it sends out a powerful brand message. The following is a look at four companies around the world that are leading the way in fashion merchandising:
British multinational fashion retailer Topshop continually introduces new collections of clothes into its shops and lures customers in through ever-changing shop window displays. The chain uses innovative merchandising to ensure customers will return to its stores regularly throughout the fashion seasons, not just at the traditional beginning and end of the season.
Topshop divides its entire clothing inventory into many smaller ranges, with launch times held throughout the year. Topshop took fashion merchandising a step further when it collaborated with Inition, a technology agency, to create a virtual shop window display during London Fashion Week 2014. Customers in London could have a front-row seat with virtual reality headsets and headphones.
American multinational clothing and accessories retailer Gap staggers its merchandise throughout seasons and uses stories to time the release of certain clothes. The timing strategy allows the brand to be very creative with its fashion merchandising throughout the calendar months with the use of certain fabrics, patterns and colors. One of the big selling points of Gap is its consistent branding: No matter where in the world you go, the communication of the clothes and accessories will be the same. The GapKids Class of 2014 campaign was a recent marketing initiative across digital platforms that encouraged parents to submit photos of their children. The winners were featured in a photo shoot to style the retailer's window displays in 2015.
Swedish retail giant Cos, a sister brand to H&M, is a favorite among fashionistas. The brand is known for its smartly reinvented classics alongside its latest trendy pieces. Cos uses the finest materials, such as leather, combed cotton and cashmere, in its various clothing ranges. This also translates to its buildings, the first of which was launched in 2007 on Regent Street in London. Cos opts for classic design, using mostly wood and metal. The brand's high quality, attention to detail and immaculate presentation of its clothing, footwear and accessories keeps customers coming back through its doors. Cos ties in its impeccable and timeless merchandising with an offshoot magazine that features up-and-coming designers and news from around the world.
4. Tiffany & Co.
In a nod to the stylish and sophisticated '50s and '60s, Tiffany & Co.'s most recent Christmas windows portrayed a vintage New York City in which taxi trunks were full of presents and the Rockefeller Center tree was covered in Tiffany jewels. This iconic retailer's decision to take this direction combined the best of modern-day and historical marketing. The brand also looked to the future: Above the windows, the exterior of the 5th Avenue flagship store was decorated with sparkling fireworks that lit up the street. Tiffany regularly uses its windows as a billboard and teaser for what's inside and regularly sets the bar when it comes to best-practice merchandising.
A career in fashion merchandising covers much more than just the external designs seen by the public. A career in fashion also involves specialized skills in marketing, buying, sales and management, in addition to negotiations and customer relations. Increasingly, a career in merchandising requires skills in creative technologies thanks to the merging of fashion and technology.
Good fashion merchandising combines conceptual and creative excellence with good business acumen and fashion forecasting. Done well, this powerful mix of technical and business know-how influences consumer behavior and results in increased sales and brand awareness.
Photo credit: Flickr