Product, Not Price, Key to Retail Success
Okay, the headline is too simplistic. Everyone watching
retail knows that while luxury goods may be booming, those products are being
purchased by a small percentage of consumers. The fact is that large numbers
of consumers in the middle and bottom rungs of the economic ladder are making
purchasing decisions based on what they can afford.
All the above being said,
most would agree with a Bloomberg News piece contending that retailers
are going to have to offer something other than just low prices to drive purchases
as people begin to feel better about their financial situations.
got to be all about the product," Christine Chen, an
analyst with Needham & Co., told the news service.
Claudio Del Vecchio,
chief executive officer of Retail Brand Alliance, which owns Brooks Brothers,
told Bloomberg, "Customers are looking for
quality and value. They are willing to make the investment in something of
better quality if they know it is timeless and authentic, which will endure
rather than impulsively buying several trendy items."
Among the chains
mentioned as gaining shoppers looking for something out of the ordinary were
Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, Lululemon Athletica and Urban
Discussion Questions: Do you agree with the premise of the Bloomberg piece that “product is king again” with American consumers? What retailers do you see as symbols for having truly differentiated product?