Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lessons About the Retail Business We Can Learn from Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston has recently opened a new store! Nauli, a fellow The Write Stuff member, and myself had the honour of visiting the new store and interviewing Mr Gary Goh, Regional Marketing Manager of the Norbreeze Group, an Asian retail specialist that has brought Cath Kidston to Singapore. During the opening, we toured the store, and also attended the tea party that was organised to celebrate the opening of their latest outlet at Tangs. 

We visited the store and learnt more about Cath Kidston’s business plan, which includes some valuable tips for budding NYP Entrepreneurs and our Business Management students!

1. What are some of the highlights you have for the opening?
We set up a photo booth with a British Queen’s Guard that will interact with the crowd. We also had customized cupcakes and cookies, ‘Tea Tails’ (tea based mocktails), bringing a British flavour to Singapore. We added opening special deals, special gifts with minimum purchase which make it more rewarding when spending with us. In addition, we gave out balloons to attract the attention of the crowd in Orchard.

...and "Tea Tails"!
2. How does Cath Kidston position itself?
Cath Kidston positions itself in the accessible luxury category, as a brand that offers cosmopolitan women, modern vintage designs and products that aim to brighten up their day.

Look at the birds and dots in their fall collection!
More items from their Fall Collection.
Retail students – see how they position the household products...
Besides adults, there were items for babies...
...packaging for skin care products is nicely done...
... There is even merchandise for pets!!!
3. How does it stand out from the competition?
Having a unique brand identity and strong positioning sets you apart from the competition. Being able to provide an integrated brand experience for customers in both the offline and online spheres also helps to reinforce your brand identity.

4. What are some challenges of opening an outlet in Singapore?
Securing prime locations is one. Good, high-traffic locations play a huge part in the success of a brand in the retail market. Most of the time, good locations in existing malls are hard to come by as existing tenants are already occupying the space. And you will also have to take a leap of faith for new malls where you will only know the traffic flow when the mall opens.

Fortunately, Cath Kidston is a well-known brand (we are celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year) so we have a competitive edge in securing the locations.

It is also important to make use of the location to attract the target audience more effectively. For this outlet, as TANGS is very family-oriented mall, we have more kids merchandise here as compared to the outlet in Ion Orchard, and we include a play area for kids. So for each of our stores, we would look at the crowd, and tweak the merchandise and the decorations to suit the needs of our target audience.

To sum it up, it is very important to know where our competitors are, how good the traffic is in terms of location, does the location provide you with what you are looking out for, and if your competitors are doing well at the locations.

It's important to understand the needs of your customers. The Cath Kidston outlet at Tangs Orchard has a corner to keep children entertained.
5.What are some tips/advice Cath Kidston can give to students looking to start their own retail business?It is important to constantly embrace innovation in all 4Ps – product, place, price and promotions.  Inject new campaigns into the market to create buzz about the brand. This is important to have top of mind recall amongst consumers especially in the high cluttered retail environment.

While improving products, designs and having creative pricing strategies are essential, it is more important to communicate and engage our target audience in terms of our events and activities to secure long-term customers. For example, if we gave the same discount every Monday, it would not engage our consumers, and they will move away from the brand slowly. A big chunk of improvisation lies on the communications and the events, as well as doing same things in different ways to keep our customer interested and excited about our brand.

As Cath Kidston is still a fairly new brand in Singapore, we create excitement by having launch activities – using store opening a platform to engage and excite the crowd. We also explore other interesting ways to reach out to the media. In Singapore, traditional media is the safest way to go as it gives you high reach. With the digital media evolving, we are also moving to the platform to create the same edge in a more interactive way.

These are some of the opportunities and things that you can do to improvise and innovate with. It gives the impression that the brand is always evolving and moving with times and it would be something that the consumers want to associate with.
Take note of this innovative display idea. The chairs act as supports!
6. How do you plan to publicize this store to your target audience?We have various marketing strategies when targeting at different markets.

As we are located in the department store, we work with the department store to communicate with the TANGS cards member. We have sent out direct mails as well as EDMs prior to the opening, and had some promotions targeted the TANGS card members during the soft opening on 18 October.

We also put in great effort to reach out to the masses, by engaging the media, such as 8 Days and iWeekly, and by being very active on Facebook, posting live updates throughout the day.

For the students, we have a global student program whereby there will be 10% discount for all students as long as they present a valid student card. Students who are into the brand would have known about it, our intuitive staff would also help to spread the word by prompting the customers and wearing a badge that promotes the discount. We understand that students nowadays are very IT savvy, so we communicate our promotions on various social media platforms.

7. How often does Cath Kidston update its collection?
Other than the major seasons, within the seasons itself we would break down key collections. For instance, other than the fall season, we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and campaigns for back to school. We put in effort to constantly update our collection to attract the customers’ attention. For visual merchandise, it is very important to constantly replenish the stocks and bring in some other things that you have not displayed. For example, if a customer saw the same product displayed for two weeks, they will feel that there is no new reason to visit the store. Therefore, we constantly update our display by re-arranging the stocks, bring different stocks out or simply moving the whole display to another corner to grab attention.
Check out the seasonal, Halloween display.

8. As a guy, how do you feel working for brands that target women?
It is important that you like the work you do, which in my case is marketing and communication. In school, we do not study just about products but also the discipline of marketing. If you enjoy the discipline, you will enjoy your work regardless of the industry or product category.

I used to work in the advertising industry and I helped to launch Citigems, which is a retail product targeting women. After that, I worked on government accounts doing health promotion which is more of behavioral change strategies in communication, and because of my experience in working in the industry targeting to women, I had been tasked to talk and promote female-related issues such as cancer screenings, nutrition and hosting awareness campaigns.  Hence, I grew more comfortable with women brands. 

Later on, I moved on to the jewelry category which is also geared towards women, thus in that aspect, I have accumulated years of experience that has become a strength for me. I know how to communicate with women, what their buying behaviours are and how to engage them. With that, the core is still the discipline. It is more about the strategy than the product.

The purchasing behavior of women is actually very straight forward. We have to learn how to communicate with them using emotions. It is more about emotional selling, the emotional benefit rather than the functional benefit. It does not mean that women do not care about the functional benefits. It is just that men pay attention more on the functional benefits more than women. One of the fundamental difference is that women think more of ‘I like it’, ‘the design is great’, rather than the product’s durability, investment value or purpose.

9. What kind of emotional aspects would Cath Kidston is selling?
I think it is more about the modern vintage lifestyle. The brand believes a lot in brightening up your days, in cheering the customers up, which is why we have a lot of products that are brightly coloured. It is what the brand is trying to evoke, having the customer to bring a piece of modern vintage product home to just brighten up their day.

10. Other than brand identity which was mentioned earlier, what other factors are important when creating a brand so that customer will stay loyal to the brand?
Consistency. When you are trying to communicate with your customer, it can take many different forms, but it must come back to the same message so that the customer will understand what you are trying to do in the market, what you are trying to sell, and what kind of things you are trying to do in the events or promotions. This is how you get them to stay with you, because if you keep on changing, they may feel that this is not the kind of brand they want to be associated with anymore, or that they do not believe in what you trying to practise and you will lose the customers.

You have to know your identity, your objective and make sure that throughout your communication, promotions and events, you will stay true to those.

P.S. Both Nauli and I set our eyes on the same navy bag with floral prints and we bought them together with an awesome deal :)

By Chua Sii Inn, Diploma in Business Enterprise IT , Year 2
Sii Inn is a Year 2 Business Enterprise IT student who enjoys detective fiction and mystery novels. She enjoys picking up new skills,learning new things and feels that food is the most primitive form of comfort. She also loves to indulge in the best entertainment and appreciates idiosyncracies, theatre performances, martial arts and piano melodies. Her dream is to go on a backpacking journey around the world to meet people from all walks of life and understand their cultures.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post. So well written and wisely explained.