This week, Fung Global Retail & Technology and First Insight hosted a Breakfast with The Disruptors event at the PROJECT Las Vegas conference in conjunction with P1VOT, which is PROJECT’s new show floor area highlighting innovative, tech-based business solutions for designers and retailers in every category from manufacturing to merchandising. The event was the second PROJECT P1VOT panel we hosted in collaboration with First Insight.
In advance of this event, we teamed with First Insight to conduct a survey designed to gauge retail industry opinion on the holiday 2016 season—and the outlook is positive. See our full report here. Our first collaboration was last month at the Project Menswear conference in New York City. Please see the panel highlights here.
Erik Ulin, of UBM Fashion Group, kicked off the breakfast session and I moderated the panel discussion at PROJECT. The panelists included Greg Petro, CEO and Founder, First Insight; Nelson Mui, VP, Men’s Fashion Director, Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor; Nick Graham, CEO, Nick Graham Organization; Matthew Sebra, Digital Style Director, GQ; and Karthik Sridhar, CEO and Founder, Supply.AI.
The discussion centered on the menswear market and covered a wide range of topics. Below are our three key takeaways from the panel discussion.
- The Consumer Is Not Brand Loyal, but How Can Retailers Take Advantage of That?
Lord & Taylor is working with its vendors to create curated spaces that are more flexible and may be less brand specific, because millennial consumers are not as brand loyal as older generations, according to Mui. Today’s average consumer is younger, and millennials represent the largest workforce population in the US.
According to First Insight CEO Greg Petro, a powerful tool to combat the lack of brand loyalty is to have a very strong understanding of your customer at the microsegment level. In order to compete effectively, retailers have to understand the data they have access to at the very basic level which will enable manufacturers and retailers to offer a more targeted selection to their customers.
Psychographics are predictive of what consumers are going to do and what they are going to spend, while demographics are based in historical information. Psychographics help companies understand which consumer is likely to want the clothing for which reason and why they are making certain products.
Retailers are also combating consumers’ lack of brand loyalty by targeting them on a more individual and personal level. Some companies are establishing in-store partnerships with brands and working with vendors to come up with concept brands that can be customized and personalized.
- Pricing Down in the Men’s Category; Retailers Have to be Creative in Communicating the Value Message
Although men’s category unit prices are down, certain subcategories are up, and retailers need to understand which items in those subcategories customers want. Fung Global Retail & Technology’s and First Insight’s recent analysis revealed, for example, that men’s underwear prices are up 34% overall and it is men’s trunks that are driving the price increase.
Matthew Sebra of GQ said that men choose items based on cost per wear, and understanding the customer at this microsegment level is a strategy used by GQ. When looking at cost per use, the rationale is that a consumer can get a basic item anywhere, but if the item is a great classic that the wearer will get a lot of use from, then they may be more likely to buy it.
- The Tie Is Not Dead; Men Taking More Risks in Fashion
Men are shopping for themselves and making their own fashion decisions more often than they used to. They are looking for different ways to express their identity through their clothing and they want to be more individualized.
The panel discussed the future of men’s trends and agreed that the tie is not dead, although the ties in a man’s closet may be changing to reflect a more creative design as well as embroidery and embellishment. Men are becoming more empowered with their fashion decisions. The consensus among the panelists was that men’s fashion moves more slowly than women’s fashion does, but that the pace is quickening, especially in men’s suiting.
Karthik Sridhar of Supply.AI concluded that he believes men will outshop women online in the future.
For more details read our full report here.