BY PHILIPPE JOURDAN, PARTNER PROMISE / JPL CONSULTING AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Paris, September 26, 2014 – Summer sales 2014 ended on July 29th and it’s already time for first assessments and first lessons as well. The French Institute of Fashion already states that the sales in textile have lost 4% of their values vs. 2013: that alarming trend has been noticed for several years. Every year, private sales, sold off stocks and even meteorological conditions are pointed out by experts. But today beyond the findings, brands have to find solutions, both online and in the point of sales, to make summer sales become a major commercial event!
WHICH FACTORS EXPLAIN DECEIVING SALES FOR SEVERAL YEARS?
It’s hard to think that this decrease is purely economic. In fact, it’s also linked to a more alarming fact. Sales also loose popularity because they’re no longer seen as a festive moment, enchantment on the point of sale, an occasion to get pleasure making a good deal. In fact, there are other alternatives that may explain a relative disaffection: private sales, permanent sales, clearance shops, online sales, bargain sales, outlets, etc. a weekend outing outside city centers is also sometimes preferred to one day “shopping”!
WHAT IS THE REAL INFLUENCE OF ONLINE SALES OVER THOSE RESULTS?
As a whole, we can hardly measure it precisely, but for sure those websites take advantage of this period to communicate on their sales off. This alternative is also interesting as it allows to avoid rush in department stores. The only answer from the physical point of sale: renew with festive ambiance, contact and services that define the vocation of merchants.
WHICH GOOD/BAD PRACTICES HAVE BRANDS ADOPTED THIS YEAR?
The loss of visibility on the progressive level of discounts that are practiced during Sales must also be taken into account. This year, even more than last year, Sales started with discounts levels that are usually practiced at the end of the period. Hence: consumer doesn’t play that subtle game, i.e. that choice between immediate purchase with a lower discount, and waiting… with the risk that the item may no longer be available. Sometimes, that game is spicy and is supposed to engender several visits for a same point of sale (which consequently engenders traffic), but implies a commercial discipline that is only respected by department stores nowadays.
MAY SALES PARADOXICALLY WORK BETTER WHILE THEY’RE LESS NECESSARY?
In fact, sometimes we’re wrong when we say that sales are the solution to a limited purchase power and a maintained level of consumption. It may be true for some of the consumers (in fact, those persons are searching for low prices every time of the year) and for some products categories (clothing is not the most perfect example). But the success if sales is also based on pleasure while buying, impulsive purchase, all those clothes or products that we buy without really needing it… but that we really want. Paradoxically, that behavior can only be seen in times of growth.
FOCUS ON LUXURY GOODS
USA’s usual discounts are more important than ours on luxury items. They’ve also multiplied outlets specialized in selling luxury goods with discounted prices. An example that should be followed? Not that sure! The relation with luxury/brands and the profile of the persons who buy those items are not the same. Hence, watch out!
ABOUT PROMISE CONSULTING
The Promise Group is dedicated to consulting and marketing surveys. It includes the following companies: Promise Consulting Inc., JPL Consulting and Panel On The Web. Promise provides consulting and surveys services with a strong added value.
Based in Paris, New-York and Casablanca, the Group conducts surveys and consulting services all around the world. The Group is allegedly known for its expertise in the measure of brand equity.
Promise has developed innovative methodologies and methods that have been awarded 7 times over the last 10 years by the profession, both in France and abroad. The Group is consulted by the most important brands in luxury, cosmetics and selective distribution, especially concerning their development abroad or on their national market. Besides, the Group has the OPQCM and Social Media certifications.
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