Womenswear has been dominant in the apparel market since the dawn of time, or at least since mass-market retail began. Womenswear includes blouses, dresses, blouses and handbags. This was the ultimate goal of retailers‘ marketing strategies. Menswear was second. However, a […]
Womenswear has been dominant in the apparel market since the dawn of time, or at least since mass-market retail began. Womenswear includes blouses, dresses, blouses and handbags. This was the ultimate goal of retailers‘ marketing strategies. Menswear was second.
Times are a-changin’
How will this change-face affect the future of apparel marketing in-store? This is a huge question. Addressing a pivotal shift in customer demographics is not just for apparel retailers. It also requires a bit more “masculine” signage and new shelving. After all, not all men like the dark wood and brown leather look that’s often associated with menswear boutiques.
Brands must consider how to market apparel, and what strategies are being used by retailers. This will help them win. Ann Taylor, please step aside: It’s time for menswear to be given the marketing attention it deserves.
What Men Want from?
Let’s first take a look back. Retailers need to understand what their target audience wants from an in-store experience to market men’s fashion. It is important to separate common misconceptions about male shoppers, such as the belief that they don’t like shopping or don’t want to create a personal style other than chinos and Oxfords, from reality.
These are the facts. Although it used to be true that men shop and women buy, this assertion has fallen off the radar. Men, especially those of the Millennial and Gen Z generation, spend more time looking at apparel online than they do shopping for clothes. In fact, 54% of male buyers report that they regularly research apparel online before buying, compared with 47% of female shoppers. While men are more likely to make online purchases than women, they’re also more likely shop in-store at traditional retailers such as Macy’s and Walmart. It’s funny, when you consider that shopping is for the average Joe the same as Superman is to kryptonite.
More convenience, more assistance, and more style
Men want a human-like shopping experience in-store. 73% of men depend on sales associates to help them find the right apparel styles and products. 28% of men say that associates are not responsive enough when they shop. Both men andwomen agree that convenience is crucial. Both groups reported that 60% wanted more convenient stores, while 30% said they were looking for places that provide food and beverages and space to relax.
What about personal style? The new menswear shoppers are more concerned about their appearance than ever. Men’s style isn’t one-size fits all. Men still shop rationally, despite their desire for convenience. They will find the perfect style of suit or jeans, and then purchase it in bulk.
Capturing the Male Gaze
How can retailers use this information to market men’s clothing? Although the approaches are varied, one thing remains constant: men should feel at home.
Saks Fifth Avenue uses sneakers to lure men to its Lower Manhattan specialty menswear store. They also use them as a “gateway drug”. Spaces up to 6,000 sq.
“Men are having fashion moments. Marc Metrick, Saks’ president, said that it was “probably the first time ever.” He adds that they do not have a base at the moment.
Saks hopes to become the home of menswear, making it more affordable for the wealthy male population. The store’s downtown location is a good start. It is located in the Financial District and is easy for men who want to look professional at work. This is particularly important because more companies are easing their business dress codes (ex: Goldman Sachs). Saks can help you. Customers are willing to spend. Saks will close its downtown womenswear boutique, but its menswear shop will remain open thanks to promising sales.
Style stations in-house add to overall appeal
Shoes first. Saks places its shoe selection in the center of the space, right beyond the entrance. The space’s tone is set by the in-store design elements, but not the way you might expect. The floor is not covered with dark mahogany but instead has porcelain tiles in silver and white. This style is also used in many women’s clothing stores.
Saks has a variety of luxury apparel brands on display. There are also tailoring and a “tech bar”, which offers innovative accessories and a barbershop.
This approach is innovative and forward-looking. Saks’s store is approachable and appealing to its target clients without falling for cliche menswear marketing traps.
Brooks Brothers Menswear is Cozy with Coffee (and Wine).
Brooks Brothers, like Saks, is looking for Millennial businessmen. But instead of shoes, they are going straight to snacks. Brooks Brothers capitalized on the popularity of their Red Fleece brand, which offers styles for a younger audience of men and women. They opened a Red Fleece Shop and Red Fleece Cafe right here in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood.
The store is ideal for young, working men. Because the retail footprint of the brands is small, inventory is well-curated. This is a good thing for men. They don’t have to make too many choices, and can be in and out in 15 minutes. Each garment section shows how the items are styled. Here’s an example of a button-down worn with shorts for a barbecue and another with slacks on a date night. Add a jacket and you are ready for the big interview. It’s easy.
The magic happens downstairs. Or at least, that’s where it is. Red Fleece Cafe has a large space. Large leather armchairs line the walls, giving tired customers a place to relax and enjoy a latte or biscotti. This cafe isn’t just a novelty. Everything about it, from the selection of high-quality baked goods and the extensive wine list, is deliberate. The cafe was bustling with people who were naturally migrating to the retail sections on the day that we visited.
It is time to look beyond the conventional norms and think outside of the box. Expectations about retail are changing as is the retail world. Women don’t like being manipulated, while men desire the freedom (and information) to express their style. Everyone wants space that is welcoming and engaging.
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