Exclusive Ranges - A Way To Adapt To Changing Consumer Behaviour

Once things calm down in the aftermath of being in Alert Level 4, there is no doubt that the NZ fashion and lifestyle industries will be dramatically different. A continued lull in consumer spending and decreased demand for non-essential products is anticipated for at least the next 12 months alongside huge changes in the way businesses connect with and sell to customers. While we were seeing trends of more mindful and conscious consumption, prior to the pandemic, the current situation is likely to accelerate these shifts with consumers shifting to more responsible purchases given the state of the world.

Products that are traditionally high volume and order value drivers like evening wear and workwear have already taken a dive across the industry. Although this is hugely impacted by the fact we are all working from home and unable to leave the house, we expect this to continue when we return to the new normal as people become more cautious with their consumption and look to purchase more minimalist, last-forever pieces. As Mario Ortelli, managing partner of luxury advisors Ortelli & Co. recently told BOF “It will take more to justify a purchase.”

One of the key things businesses can think about over the coming weeks and months to be able to move with the transforming wants of consumers is to look at their current product offering. Looking at the top-selling products across all sales channels not only provides important insight into potential changes to production ($$$), but also into key styles or fabrics that could be redesigned or produced on a greater scale to form an exclusive classics or basics range.

There are two key directions businesses could take with this to adapt. The first is developing a classics range of investment pieces based on previously popular products that sell at a higher value - blazers, pants, coats for example. Creating such a range in timeless colours or fabrics to be sold exclusively via your own sales channels provides a greater opportunity to control your brand story and connect directly with customers who may have previously only purchased from stockists.

The second is a lower-priced point range of popular everyday items such as t-shirts, knitwear, socks, etc that can be produced on a slightly larger scale and are seen as more essential items. This is not creating a range of “cheap” basics, but rather maintaining brand quality and standard while offering items at a lower price point, allowing consumers to be able to continue supporting local brands and businesses despite having less disposable income.

As a business, the added advantage of offering a classics or basics range is that they typically offer a higher margin, particularly if you have the scale and are able to sell the product exclusively directly to your customers via your own online store.

While it is uncertain how the industry will change after the pandemic, we can be certain that it is more important than ever before to know what your customers have wanted from you in the past, and predict what they will want from you in the future.

Photos: Sporty & Rich