The sixth level in a merchandise hierarchy, representing a distinct design or aesthetic within a subcategory, often including multiple colours or sizes (e.g., Floral Button-Up Blouse, Floral Wrap Blouse, Floral Tie-Front Blouse).
What is Style?
In retail, "Style" refers to the distinctive and fashionable attributes of a product, which encompass its design, aesthetics, and overall appearance. It reflects the unique characteristics that make a product visually appealing to consumers and sets it apart from other similar items. Retailers often use style as a key selling point to attract customers and create a brand identity that resonates with their target market.
How Style works
- Product Selection: Retailers curate their product offerings by selecting items that align with their desired style or brand image. This involves choosing products with specific design elements, colours, patterns, and features that resonate with their target audience.
- Visual Merchandising: The presentation of products in-store and online is crucial. Retailers use visual merchandising techniques to showcase products in an appealing and stylish manner, often through creative displays, lighting, and signage.
- Branding and Marketing: Retailers communicate their style through branding and marketing efforts, including logos, advertising campaigns, and social media content. Consistency in style across all touchpoints reinforces the brand's identity and attracts customers who identify with that style.
- Customer Attraction: The style of products and the overall store or website aesthetic attract customers who appreciate or are drawn to that particular style. Shoppers often seek out retailers that align with their personal tastes and preferences.
- Differentiation: Style helps retailers differentiate themselves in a competitive market. A unique and well-defined style can set a retailer apart from competitors and create a loyal customer base.
- Trend Responsiveness: Retailers must stay attuned to current fashion and design trends to adapt their style offerings to evolving consumer preferences.
Ultimately, style in retail is a multifaceted approach that influences product selection, presentation, branding, and marketing to attract and retain customers who resonate with a specific visual aesthetic and brand identity.
Pros of Style
- Enhanced Brand Identity: Focusing on style allows retailers to create a distinct brand identity that resonates with a specific target market. A well-defined style can help build a strong and recognizable brand, which leads to increased customer loyalty and a competitive edge in the market.
- Increased Sales: A strong emphasis on style can attract customers who are seeking fashionable, visually appealing products. This can lead to higher sales, as customers are more likely to make purchases when they find products that align with their personal style preferences.
- Higher Margins: Stylish products often command higher price points, enabling retailers to enjoy higher profit margins. Customers are often willing to pay a premium for items that are perceived as stylish and on-trend.
Cons of Style
- Fast Fashion Challenges: Emphasising style in retail often leads to the production of trendy, fast-fashion items. This can contribute to issues like overproduction, environmental concerns, and ethical challenges related to labor conditions in the fashion industry.
- Style Obsolescence: Styles and trends can change rapidly, making it challenging for retailers to keep up. If a retailer invests heavily in a particular style that falls out of favor, they may be left with unsold inventory and financial losses.
- Limited Target Audience: A strong emphasis on a specific style can limit a retailer's target audience. Not everyone will be attracted to or identify with the chosen style, potentially reducing the store's reach and sales potential.
Below you will find answers to common questions
How can we effectively manage and organise products at the "Style" level to improve customer shopping experiences?
Managing products at the "Style" level involves careful categorisation and organisation. Retailers should ensure that products within the same style are grouped together in a clear and logical manner, making it easy for customers to find related items. This may include using consistent naming conventions, displaying relevant product attributes (e.g., colours and sizes), and offering filters or search functionality that helps customers narrow down their choices.
How can we use style-based merchandising to boost sales and customer engagement?
Leveraging style-based merchandising involves several strategies. Retailers can create style-themed collections or lookbooks to showcase a range of products that fit a particular design or aesthetic. Cross-selling and upselling opportunities can be capitalised upon by recommending related products within the same style, such as suggesting matching accessories or coordinating items. Additionally, by keeping an eye on fashion trends and customer feedback, retailers can introduce new styles or variations to meet evolving consumer preferences and generate excitement among shoppers.