The performance of Abercrombie and Fitch has been at stake ever since the economic recession of 2008. This company had undergone various mergers and acquisitions before becoming the premier American clothing retailer marketing casual wear to teens and young adults for years until the demise of its popularity in 2008 (Greenhouse 73). The company has undertaken various restructuring strategies to rejuvenate its influence in the clothing industry, but there is still a long way to go before it recaptures its former position. Mike Jeffrey’s ascension to the helm of power in this company had significant impacts on its image and performance (Fink par. 3). He expanded its operations to Europe and Asia and closed the existing non-performing branches in America. The company has registered poor performance with a slump in the value of its stock price. This essay examines how Abercrombie and Fitch can redefine its target market and create relevant assortments and how to sell the changes and revamp its presentation to attract customers.
The company should consider investing in a specific targeted group to ensure it specializes and produces high-quality and appropriate products. The targeted market should be ladies who have endless demand and an appetite for new products. Age is an important factor in evaluating the appropriateness of this market. The company should concentrate on developing products for ladies aged between 18 and 40 years. Jeffrey’s main failure was ignoring the customers of larger sizes, and this discouraged these people from shopping there (Fink par. 3). Therefore, the targeted market had already resisted and disliked the company and it was impossible to make because most people hated its brands. Women aged between 15 and 45 years are a good target market because this population offers a ready market for new brands and does frequent shopping.
An Assortment for the Women’s Department in the Upcoming Season
Current Merchandise Selection
The company has a diverse selection of current merchandise for men and women, and this enables it to offer variety to its clients. For instance, it offers an assortment of t-shirts whose prices range from $20 to $60 depending on the material and design. Simple t-shirts with city plans cost $20 while those with the company logo cost $25. The cheapest t-shirts (Henley) cost $15 while the most expensive ones (Polo) cost $50 (Abercrombie and Fitch n. p.). Geo print poplin and plaid cotton pocket shorts cost $68. Sweatshirts cost between $38 and $90 depending on the material and whether it is long or short-sleeved white hoods are the most expensive and range from $68 to $120 while shorts are offered at between $44 and $50 (Abercrombie and Fitch n. p.). Women’s assortment forms the greatest (over 70%) of the store’s merchandise that is offered at very cheap and affordable prices. The Dolce Vita sandals designed for city women cost between $60 and 260%, depending on their sizes, design, and amount of materials used to manufacture them (Abercrombie and Fitch np.). The sneakers cost between $65 and $69 and are designed to meet the fashion and functional needs of consumers.
Merchandise for the Identified Customer
The merchandise for the targeted group (women aged between 15 and 40 years) should possess a combination of the following aspects. These merchandise should meet the weather requirements of the upcoming summer season. The tops, shoes, and accessories of this targeted group should have the following characteristics. First, all of them should be light because women do not like wearing heavy clothes, shoes, or accessories. This means that they should be made of silk and acrylic (40%: 60%) in an appropriate ratio. There should be adequate aeration to allow the movement of air to freshen the user during the expected warm weather. Moreover, most of the tops should be sleeveless or short-sleeved to ensure a maximum explosion of the body to the sun. They should be designed to meet the office and entertainment needs of the user. The targeted group consists of members in their active years, and this means that their outfits should be designed to give them the freedom of doing what they want including exploring the world and enjoying life to the fullest. The demand for loose fittings is usually high during summer because people want to enjoy the weather and feel relaxed after being confined to tight fittings for a long time. Women are influenced by their environment, and it is prudent to ensure they are comfortable in what they wear. The bags and porches should be light and spacious to ensure they do not tire their users. Moreover, other accessories like earrings, necklaces, and bangles should not be shinnied to avoid clashing with the environment. Women, especially those in their mid and late 20s are very conscious of their attractiveness. These merchandise should be attractive but not shiny. The shoes should be light for ease of movement and comfort when in a sitting position. In addition, they should be ventilated adequately to ensure air circulation is free. Most people, especially those with sweaty feet do not like constraining themselves in tight shoes. In addition, these shoes should not be too high. An average height shoe is appropriate for walking in the streets during summer or taking a stroll on the beach in the evenings.
The issue of prices should not be a worrying factor in the new plan to transform the performance of this company and attract customers. The chief competitors (shopbop.com and Hollister) offer relatively cheaper prices on similar merchandise. However, it is necessary to explain that low prices do not necessarily influence and attract customers. Consumers are very keen when selecting commodities, and they want ones that are affordable but meet all their needs. For instance, the women’s sneakers should cost about $67. Currently, the company offers the cheapest ones at $65 while shopbop.com and Hollister offer them at $59 and $63. The company may offer after-sale services and give shoe polish (100ml cans) for every purchase made to attract customers. The company offers an assortment of tops and sandals, and this means that there is a lot of work to be done in these sections. The prices of all sandals should be reduced by 19%, while those of open sandals and free footwear should be reduced by 10%. A 5% discount should be given to customers who buy more than two pairs of shoes at a go. In addition, the company should match and influence its customers to buy designed and matched outfits. Ladies love fashion and classy looks, and they will go the extra mile to take even loans to buy merchandise that has been matched perfectly (Achenreiner and Deborah 209).
Appropriateness to the Selected Targeted Market
The pricing strategy and brand selection are appropriate for the identified target due to the following reasons. Women change their wardrobes more often than men. Therefore, they shop many times and replace their outfits, accessories, and shoes many times compared to other populations. Secondly, women’s outfits have different designs that do not last for long. Their trends are fragile and change depending on various issues. They are easily influenced by slight changes in the designs and colors of outfits.
These new changes should be implemented in phases. First, the existing products should be sold at high discounts to ensure all old stock is sold. The new products should be introduced at least two months before the summer season sets in to give customers adequate time to plan their budgets. In addition, there should be a performance evaluation team to study the buying behavior of consumers and advise the management on the appropriate steps that should be taken to boost sales.
Abercrombie and Fitch are in a risky position due to the economic challenges it experienced during the 2008 economic crisis. In addition, the stiff competition in the clothing industry and lack of innovative products make this company unpopular. It should focus on designing and manufacturing merchandise for women aged between 15 and 40 years. This target market is flexible and adapts to trends and fashions easily. In addition, it has an impulse buying behavior that makes its products popular in the market. It should evaluate its prices and offer discounts to customers to clear old stock and prepare for the fresh one that will fetch high prices before and during summer. The new changes should be introduced after a careful review of the performance of the existing products and the prevailing market conditions.
Abercrombie and Fitch. Women’s Accessories. n. d. Web. 2015.
Achenreiner, Gwen Bachmann, and Deborah Roedder John. “The meaning of brand names to children: A developmental investigation.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 13.3 (2003): 205-219.Print.
Fink, Nikki. Abercrombie & Fitch. 2006. Web.
Greenhouse, Steven. Abercrombie & Fitch Bias Case Is Settled. NY Times, (2004): 71-73. Print.