EconomySurvive to? C&A's strategy to attract young centennials

Survive to? C&A's strategy to attract young centennials

The pandemic stripped the fashion industry bare. According to the National Chamber of the Clothing Industry and the National Chamber of the Textile Industry, in 2020 sales fell 95%, when prior to the arrival of the coronavirus, in Mexico alone the sector generated sales of around 28.9 billion dollars and maintained a growth of 3.6% year over year.

The retailers inserted in this market faced temporary closures of their stores and had to react with impressive speed to adapt to the new normality and look for new sales channels that would help them increase their value offer and stay current.

For C&A, the situation became complicated because it stopped its opening plan and the largest operator of fashion brand boutiques, Grupo AXO, gave up on acquiring the clothing store chain. Which led her to redirect her marketing strategy and seek a repositioning of the brand.

Kelly Kroger, CEO of C&A Mexico, assures that the environment was an opportunity for change for the entire fashion industry, but in her case the context promoted the brand’s omnichannel project, inviting it to reinvent itself and deepen the knowledge it had of the consumer to reconnect with him.

After conducting research among 14,000 consumers in six European countries, the chain identified that people prefer a fashion brand that combines good prices, sustainability, style and quality. The repositioning campaign had to respond to that in order to attract new audiences.

When asked how the process of relaunching the brand was, the CEO admitted that it was not an easy process, because behind it was the understanding of its target client, as well as exhaustive work to unify all its sales channels. And from a logo in blue, red and white with an outline, the brand went on to a logo without an outline with black letters on a white background and incorporated the slogan Let life prepare for you.

“Both the manifesto (slogan) and this relaunch is a reflection of who we are, the history that supports us and the vision we have for the future, where we seek to become the most loved casual fashion brand in Mexico,” says the director. “Our main objective is to maintain a relevant brand presence in the market.”

Today, C&A Mexico operates with a multi-channel model. It has 77 physical stores in the Mexican Republic, with the exception of Baja California Sur and Oaxaca, a website, an official store in Mercado Libre and an account on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. On the map is the launch of an application that complements the route towards omnichannel.

“We are aware of the importance of always staying current by elevating our digital experiences, which is why we have been adjusting our approach to a customer-centric model; a comprehensive strategy that includes a CRM (the acronym for customer relationship management) that helps us focus on data that interconnects with the customer through different channels. Our omnichannel vision entails a holistic view of marketing automation, as well as offline actions that complement the user experience,” says Kroger.

In his opinion, the successful implementation of an omnichannel strategy is a challenging feat not only on a technical level with the need for integrated inventory and supply chain systems, but also in creating a seamless customer experience and brand message. unified.

“That’s where we are right now. With a correct omnichannel strategy, we will seek to take advantage of the channels that we have to create a standardized experience on all our platforms, and thus improve and facilitate the shopping experience, creating valuable experiences between C&A and our customers”.

As in any relationship, he points out, consumers seek emotional connections with their favorite brands and live memorable experiences, with this a relationship of trust and later love between them is built. However, betting on wanting to be an aspirational lovemark may not be the right path.

Jorge Regalado, a professor at the Banking and Commercial School (EBC) and a specialist in commercial strategies, considers that since the purchase of Grupo AXO did not materialize, C&A is following Inditex’s strategy with Zara: going for the blacks and whites to attract attention of a consumer who normally buys fast fashion clothes.

“C&A is looking for modern, positive, confident, authentic and environmentally concerned people, but I’m not convinced by rebranding because I think it’s getting out of its market niche; he wants to be aspirational in a different market in which he has played”, says the expert.

The brand positioned itself as a clothing store for a socioeconomic level C and D. Finding an audience A, B and C+ is going to cost them a bit of work because the positioning of the brand is very identified. “I estimate that their average ticket is less than 500 pesos and the brand is comparable to Care for the Dog, and that is not bad, in the end it is people who buy and who buy well.”

To be a more aspirational and loved brand, it is not enough to change the logo. It is necessary to modify physical stores and have a good omnichannel strategy that allows the brand to be where its target consumer is. “It’s very difficult because in all channels you have to have the same level of approach and experience as if the customer were at the physical point of sale,” says Regalado.

Kroger recognizes that they have a long way to go. The firm is about to launch a new store format in Mundo E, which is much fresher and more innovative as part of the store experiences. “This proposal simplifies the purchase process by showing the wearability (a fashion concept that refers to the quality or condition of what can be worn) behind garments and casual looks, as well as offering trends and comfort, as well as basic options. and accessories to achieve a versatile wardrobe that tells stories beyond the individual garments”.

Jorge Regalado praises the effort of C&A to want to reach new segments. However, he points out that the brand must be very careful in its communication so as not to lose its identity and confuse the consumer, since there are those who continue to identify the brand by its blue and red logo, then there is the black and white version and in the brand networks is in green.

“A brand loses its identity starting with the visual part, the consumer stops locating it, it no longer has a presence in their mind or closeness to it, and it also does not have an effective omnichannel strategy that allows them to connect,” he points out.

According to Trendex North America, European fashion retailer C&A had a 2.6% market share of the Mexican apparel retail segment in 2019. This represents an increase of 0.2 percentage points from 2018.

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