Having lost sales for some, ‘See now, buy now’ is upping profits for others. Backstage Tales explores why a millennial-pleasing strategy appears so unmanageable.
The Psychology of it
We’ve all heard those horrible descriptions of millennials: they are lazy, have a minimal attention span and are constantly in search of newness to get distracted with. Whilst this may or may not be true, the world of fashion business seems to be looking for ways to engage with millennials – after all, the older ones are now thirty-something. The ‘See now, buy now’ strategy, it seems, was born out of fear to suit their instantaneous desires, but instead revealed that no one understands what they really want.
While, of course, making garments available to buy immediately after having appeared on the runway seems practical, recent fashion houses’ experiences revealed the traditional time gap between show and shop is a much-needed dramatic pause. “The gap between a runway show and product arriving in store creates desire, and removing it will negate the dream”, says François-Henri Pinault, Kering CEO. In other words, the lag allows for cultural value to develop around products, which is what boosts commerce in the end of the day.
It isn’t working out
Burberry were first to jump in the fast-fashion bandwagon last year, with Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren among several others to follow. Now slowly yet steadily, companies are backing out as their great expectations weren’t exactly what they hoped for.
Tom Ford has confirmed that applying ‘See now, buy now’ to his entire AW16 collection has lost him sales as he fell victim to shipping complications. Besides, having to put the collection on hold meant it eventually took longer to reach the stores – and lost press attention.
Thakoon has also taken some time out for a complete reboot: unlike Tommy Hilfiger, a more powerful fashion house acquired by the same investors as Thakoon, whose brand awareness and flawless shipping logistics allowed it to make ‘See now, buy now’ work, the smaller brand’s operational abilities couldn’t handle the model.
…Unless when it does, it does.
It’s not all the doom for instant fashion, however. New York’s Rebecca Minkoff sales have gone up 60% since the beginning of the experiment.
Rebecca explains their success as a combination of incredible loyalty they’ve built with their clients and being committed to the unpleasant process of rattling the original business model. Indeed, the brand has recently laid off 15 wholesale operations employees to move the focus on direct-retail channels. Well, hard work and courageous experimenting seems to be paying off.
So, are we yet to see more of instantaneous fashion once brands figure out its logistics?
Text: Maria Zatopi
Images: Getty Images, glossy.co