Topshop, Los Angeles
At nearly 25,000 sq. ft. and with 40-ft. ceilings, the Topshop flagship at the Grove, an open-air center in Los Angeles, is big and bold, with touches of whimsy evident throughout the space.
(Click here for photos)
The store, which marks the British retailer’s West Coast debut, offers personal shopping and concierge services with private suites and dressing rooms encased by expansive glass walls. It carries the retailer’s complete range of product lines including some exclusive to the location. It also houses the Topman brand.
As designed by Gensler, Topshop at the Grove puts a California spin on the British brand through its striking — and massive — white façade, bright materials, and open spaces illuminated by natural sunlight.
Despite Q1 net sales decrease, Wet Seal has positive outlook
FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. — The Wet Seal’s CEO focused on the positive following the company’s first quarter results for the period ended May 4.
The company posted net sales of $140.4 million for the quarter, a 5.4% decrease from $147.9 million for the quarter ended April 28, 2012. Consolidated comparable store sales decreased 2.9% for the quarter. Arden B saw a 0.9% increase of same-store sales, compared with an 11.4% decrease for the quarter ended April 28 last year. Same-store sales at Wet Seal decreased by 3.4% for the quarter, compared with a 7% decrease for the quarter ended April 28 last year.
“We are pleased with the operating and financial momentum we’re beginning to experience,” said CEO John D. Goodman. “We have made good progress in a short period of time throughout the organization. Our teams have executed well and delivered improvement in virtually every aspect of the business, including product, inventory management, merchandising, marketing, in-store presentation and customer engagement. This allowed us to exceed our financial guidance in the first quarter and forecast a return to positive comp store sales earlier than planned in the second quarter of 2013.”
Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Calif., The Wet Seal operates exclusively in the retail apparel industry in which it sells fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessories items, primarily through mall-based chains of retail stores, to female consumers with young, active lifestyles. During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the company opened two Wet Seal stores and closed six. The company operates 526 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, including 464 Wet Seal stores and 62 Arden B stores as well as its e-commerce sites.
Digital Clues Demystify the Conundrum of Catalogs
By Dan McKone, [email protected]
More than 12.5 billion catalogs are mailed out to U.S. homes each year. But has their effectiveness waned as more customers head online? Are catalogs reliable money-makers or have they just become an inefficient necessity eating away at your bottom line? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.
To get to the heart of the matter requires detective work to analyze your customers’ behavior. Traditional catalog distribution algorithms were based on building a book first and then figuring out who in the customer file should get one. This always results in costly over-mailing, and entire organizations are formed to continually analyze and tinker with recency, frequency and spend models to better identify where the money is wasted. Like advertising, it’s really, really hard to predict which part of your budget you don’t need and since the whole exercise appears to be positive ROI, the temptation (rationally) is to overcompensate rather than risk a devastating top-line impact.
But how much higher could that ROI be if you could eliminate the negative marginal contributors? A more cost-effective solution requires a tailored, customer-centric approach, following digital clues to dictate not only who should receive information, but when and how. These clues are grouped and assigned to different categories of customers, each of which have a defined set of characteristics that necessitate a distinctive approach.
Profiling your way to a more effective spend
One of the traits of the most successful retail brands is their ability to narrowly define their core customer archetype and to rigorously understand the detailed behavior of both the core and key secondary customer types. Using a similar form of behavioral segmentation, a retailer can methodically reduce paper spending where it will have the least impact on sales – with its most digitally engaged consumers. The challenge is identifying who this digitally engaged group actually is. The investigation must begin with pulling the clues – what L.E.K. calls digital behavioral signals ™ – that are being tracked to rate a customer’s level of online engagement. These clues will vary for every organization, but sometimes can be found in even commonly watched metrics like email click-through rates, site dwell time or subscription behavior. Signals like these can be correlated with whether the customer received the catalog and their reaction – i.e., did they make a purchase? What type? Clearly, these things must be tracked over time and compared against other indicators. However, even a methodical discovery process can pay excellent dividends to those willing (and with the right know-how) to perform a formal investigation.
Closing the Case
The intention is not to eliminate catalogs; we expect they will remain an effective vehicle for stimulating sales among some customer groups for a long time to come. For example, a poll by the National Retail Federation reported that more than a third of consumers said they would seek ideas from catalogs over the most recent holiday season last year.
However, there is a major opportunity in identifying the right marketing media mix for different categories of customers. A catalog mailer has a different role and level of importance among different customer segments. For some, it may be used as the primary method for sales. For others, catalogs may complement digital sales efforts by driving some type of action to the website. And, as the analysis above points out, there is a growing minority of customers who can, dare I say, be eliminated from a number of traditional mailings without much of an impact at all. The goal is to engage with customers in the most effective way and use a more selective, systematic approach to cost-cutting marketing vehicles. As customer behaviors and preferences continue to evolve, it’s important to establish a system for tracking those changes and testing new ideas to inform more rational decisions about where to make marketing investments.
Dan McKone is a VP in L.E.K. Consulting’s Retail Practice, and head of L.E.K.’s Customer Experience and Loyalty Practice. He can be reached at [email protected].