How Exclusive Merchandise Wins Sales
Lots of retail experts weighed in on what worked and what didn’t this past holiday season. I appreciated a reminder from David L. Bassuk, managing director and head of global retail practice at AlixPartners, that most brands can extend their market and wallet share bandwidth with their customers by focusing on exclusive products.
Here's what Bassuk had to say: “Positive results in midtier and higher-end department stores continued into December. The No. 1 factor is private brands are giving consumers something unique and a reason to shop. Brands such as Simply Vera Vera Wang at Kohl’s and Macy’s Material Girl and Sean John labels were factors.”
Kohl’s launched its exclusive Simply Vera Vera Wang line in 2007, and has continued to extend the product offerings under her creative umbrella. Customers who love this designer know that they can turn to Kohl’s for more from Vera each season — fashion, accessories, home décor, skin care and makeup.
Going the extra mile to create exclusive products not only wins wallet and market share, it also wins hearts. Consumers love what's unique and different. As Bassuk pointed out, brands that tempt today’s cautious consumers with a plethora of proprietary product capture their attention and loyalty.
For some brands, this may be a neglected area. With the continual fast pace of new product presentations, merchants can fall into the “me too” trap of creating products with no real differentiation from their competitors. It may be easier in the short term, but it definitely will hurt your brand in the long term. Investing in customer-centric proprietary product development fends off consumer ennui and extends the brand experience in all the right ways.
What's exclusively yours to do? How will you do more of that in 2011?