Monthly Archives: February 2012

What is a Fashion Innovator?

Topic of Discussion: Fashion Innovators

If you’re reading this the chances of you being interested in fashion are very high, but you don’t have any interest in fashion at all it is easy to understand what a fashion innovator is. A fashion innovator is someone who is known for starting a trend. Typically it is someone who is confident with their tastes and preferences in clothing and is not afraid to make statements whether it is considered in style, normal, or even appropriate. Fashion innovators respond earlier than the general public to the “sensory of appeal of new silhouettes, details, and style combinations” (Brannon, 2010)  and they are to be considered the people who have the ‘it item’ first. These are the people who are known for making something in fashion popular. Without a doubt, they are the leaders of a group that are the first to adopt new fashion within their social realm (Lo. C, & Phau. I, 2004). The ‘it’ item may be nice to have and all, but usually consumers who are the first to make fashion purchases and wear new styles often pay a much larger price than fashion followers (Brannon, 2010).

Who are these people do you ask? Well, it could be extremely easy to spot a fashion innovator because they seem to be wearing something unique or bold. At the same time a fashion innovator could be sporting an outfit that seems unpopular or maybe even considered ugly when first looked at , but little do we know that  it could possibly be one of the next popular trends! Some innovators don’t even know they are innovators because to them expressing their individuality through clothing is considered norm. With others, some also just know that people will be looking at what they are wearing for inspiration whether it is good or bad.  Some innovators today such as celebrities who function as advisors, role models, and etc. are looked at by consumers to represent an ideal image (Brannon, 2010).

Without these fashionable leaders, what would we do?Personally, it’s extremely hard to imagine and seems impossible. Today, everything is a copy of a copy or to get a better idea the reason something was made is because of inspiration from something else. Originality is almost dead, which is why so many people rely on fashion innovators.Without these people fashion could possibly considered static.  According to Stanforth,” the tendency of consumers to seek out new styles allows the fashion industry to flourish” (1995). The fashion industry would never progress and trendy hipsters like myself wouldn’t have anything to shop for.

Here are a few examples of major fashion innovators:

Brannon, E. (2010).  Introducing innovation. In O.  Kontzias & J. Bergeron (Eds.),  Fashion forecasting. (pp. 41-77). New York, NY: Fairchild Books.

 Lo, C, & Phau, .P (2004). Profiling fashion innovators. Fashion Marketing and Management.. 8, 399-411. doi:10.1108/13612020410559993

Stanforth, N. (1995). Fashion innovators, sensation seekers, and clothing individualists. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 81, 1203-1210. Retrieved from http://www.amsciepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.1995.81.3f.1203

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Technology Fashion!

Topic of Discussion: Social Networking Service: It’s impact on retail/merchandising.

        Did it all really kick off with our long lost site Myspace? R.I.P wonderful site, you had an amazing run.  Of course there were many other websites before Myspace came into the world wide web, but it’s kind of like asking which one came first with Facebook comparing it to the chicken or the egg question. Okay, not really because you can totally look up the dates when both websites were created, but Myspace really did help start the race for a higher demand for online shopping, higher total revenues for businesses in general, and  it also helped expand businesses by allowing them to have a broadened spectrum of customers than they naturally could. People were constantly viewing other people’s profiles and seeing photos of their personal lives which led to a drive in making changes within our own personal lives so that we could post or simply just have the things seen  or heard of on Myspace. Meenkashi Kakar reiterates, “Social networking has definitely impacted the Retail industry with the growing concept of ‘social shopping’ wherein one’s purchasing decisions are influenced by others in their communities” (para. 3).

Admit it, you constantly were on Myspace doing a survey, finding music no one had ever heard of, customizing your layout for your profile, taking photos so everyone could comment on them, joining photo contests, finding scene queenz to stalk, finding internet celebrities that constantly Photoshopped their photos and a ton of other pointless things.Myspace was the place where everything was constantly being updated and was a extremely direct way of communicating with people. This was a great opportunity for online retailers to kick off because people were constantly on their computers being ‘social’. Although Myspace has become similar to a deserted island there are still other popular websites such as Facebook, that are now being used constantly that are making a tremendous impact on the retail/merchandising industry using different strategies.

Social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and etc are great places for retailers to actually connect with their customers directly. “Wet Seal CIO, Jon Kubo, says the key to getting results from social media is, customer engagement, which is marketing-speak for having actual online conversations with customers” (para. 2). This is a great benefit for people who don’t have the time to go in store and tell the company their feedback of the item they purchased whether it was a great buy or a bad one. It is also wonderful for people who only buy things online and never go shopping in store, and they can communicate directly with the company this way. “Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products” (para. 2). These social networking websites are good for letting the retailers see what is popular and what could possibly sell tremendously, and for the consumer it can easily give them information about upcoming sales and possibly give freebies away. Social networking has definitely made things move even quicker in the industry.

^This shows how the company is directly speaking with their fans,followers, and consumers.

For another example one extremely popular way retailing has been influenced by social networking websites is through advertisements. Advertisements can be extremely annoying because with the internet people can program their website to have pop up ads that will make the reader at least look at it before exiting out which means whatever is on the ad, the viewer will have to read it. It is a great marketing technique and has been proven to be very efficient.  Advertising through social networking websites has gotten to be so intricate and highly adapted that people who use the websites know there is no way in avoiding ads and can set their options to at least see advertisements they are actually interested in.  On more positive notes, some advertising is really helpful to some people. There is fashion community website called Lookbook that I use to network and be inspired by people that I can’t see daily  which has tons of advertising on it. The advertising is mainly to get people to learn about fashion related websites such as online stores, fashion blogs, and etc they have never heard of. It is a good way to be apart of the community by allowing this website to advertise your company.

References:

Compton, M. & Essnay, M. (2011, May). Independent Retailer:  Social Media Next Logical Marketing Arena For Retailers. Retrieved from: http://independentretailer.com/2011/05/01/social-media-next-logical-marketing-arena-for-retailers/

Kakar, M. (n.d). Social Shopping: Revolutionizing the Retail Industry. Retrieved from Sonota Software: http://www.sonata-software.com/export/sites/Sonata/sonata_en/innovation/resources/articles/pdfs/Point_of_view_Social_Shopping.pdf

NC Incite. (2011, October 14). How Social Media Impacts Brand Marketing [Web log post]/ Retrieved from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/how-social-media-impacts-brand-marketing/

What color should always be considered ‘it’ in the retail industry? Green!

Topic of Discussion: Sustainability effort and its impact on the retail industry.

Let’s say hypothetically speaking, we invest our time in something that is going to save us money in the long run for our company, require less labor over time, use less limited resources, it helps replenish the earth to a certain degree, and has many more other positive outcomes; would we all be very accepting and open to this idea? Of course we would!  However, a problem with this idea that is known as “going green” is the small fact of  it being something that we are not accustomed to yet.  Sustainability is a big buzzword in the green movement which simply means that what is used is replenished (Farfan  2009). Sustainability will take extra work , research, and practice to get to the essential goals, which can seem costly but in the end will all pay off. Boyton (2012) also believes that these goals require infrastructure development like management, measurement, and IT systems for continuous improvement.  These things will require people who are skilled and educated at what they know in this subject, which in the end will create jobs. Surprisingly enough after tremendous amounts of just saying sustainability was a good idea, retailers throughout the world have begun the process and exploration of sustainability within their businesses.

Retailers play a huge role in our  economy and they are basically the teachers of sustainability to consumers. Retailers are the people that have to get the message and awareness out so consumers so that they will  be aware of how much of an impact they could make, and how much of an impact the company could make by doing simple or large tasks. Rice agrees, as manufacturers continue incorporating  sustainability practices within their product manufacturing processes and supply chains, the retail industry – as the main customer point of contact – bears the responsibility of educating consumers about the sustainability choices available in the market (2010).  Companies have begun to realize that the cost of everything is going up, although as consumers we found that out really quickly, they want to maximize profit and save money. If anyone wants to keep their company thriving they are going to have to be pre-cautious and willing to make sacrifices now with sustainability to prepare for their future. What better way to do so than “going green”? It is easy to say retailers have made a large impact in sustainability so far and it is only the beginning with numerous amounts of methods. Companies are constantly being innovative and coming up with new ideas to conserve or reuse items within their companies.  Here are a few examples of how some retailers have decided to “go green”.

Reusable shopping bags.

Made from plastic bottles that came from rotting landfills in Japan and Taiwan (Darragh 2010)

One of Nike’s Reuse A Shoe bin

Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom, Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic),

Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart are using paperless receipts. (Clifford 2011)

References:

Boynton, J. (2012, January 26). Sustainability in retail: Not an oxymoron. Retrieved from http://www.triplepundit.com/

Clifford, S. (2011, August 7). Digital receipts join paperless age. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Farfan, B. (2009, January 26). Retail sustainability: Best U.S. retail employers have both job openings and ethics. Retreived from:http://www.about.com

Rice, J. (2010). Role of retail in sustainability. The Green Economy Post. Retrieved from http://greeneconomypost.com/