Weather may influence many stores’ merchandise assortments, but consumers find seasonal collections highly irrelevant to their wardrobes.
Verdict Retail’s June 2016 clothing survey supports this altered shopper behavior. Results showed that 85.6% of apparel consumers prefer purchasing garments they can wear for the current weather and more than half (51.4%) of apparel consumers said they don’t like buying clothing before the next season hits.
Traditional buying cycles no longer match up with shoppers’ in-the-moment mindset, and retailers will have to consider unpredictable weather patterns as well as social media’s influence if they want to remain relevant.
According to the survey, 75.6% of apparel consumers said clothing brands do offer enough merchandise for all seasons. The culprit isn’t bad sales, rather it’s retailers advertising coats when it’s still 80 degrees outside. By showing merchandise ahead of the current season, retailers miss out on being a valuable contribution to apparel consumers’ current styles.
European retailer Zara is one of the apparel companies that has been highly successful with locking down consumer traffic. Multi-seasonal merchandise is on offer in stores, and its vertically integrated supply chain helps it quicker factor in weather changes and respond accordingly.
Burberry also offers a potential solution for struggling retailers, which includes labeling merchandise by months instead of by season. The luxury brand shifted its product drop methodology to make its goods more transitional for consumers.
Communication also plays a key role in how apparel consumers buy products.
Today, social media platforms are changing how retailers advertise merchandise. With instant access to looks or flash sales, apparel consumers shape their purchase decisions via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Today, apparel consumers with this technology desire garments they can buy and wear in the current season, not the upcoming one. If retailers apply this branding strategy to their own merchandise, they will maintain current consumers, regardless of weather changes.
Although retailers may be hit with unpredictable circumstances, they can change their marketing , merchandise and store displays to reflect trends and not the time of year, so that shoppers feel like their fashion needs are fulfilled.