Consumer Perceptions and Behavioral Effects of Multi-Channel Product Sets in the Specialty Apparel Retail Industry
As firms increase the number of channels that they operate and distribute their products and services on, they run into new challenges with branding. One sub-industry where many firms have used multi-channel branding is the specialty apparel segment of retail. Many firms of this kind are using a four-channel approach with physical stores, brand websites, social media pages, and direct mail catalogs to market their products. Yet, there are few specialty apparel retailers that do this well across all four channels. A particular technique used to market products in this way is visual merchandising. Visual merchandising for apparel products pieces together full outfits with multiple clothing items and shows them, in some way, being worn. Beyond just marketing products, however, visual merchandising can provide firms with benefits of branding such as brand expertise, positive consumer attitudes, and increased consumer purchase intent. To do this, firms must develop quality brands using traditional branding practices. To use as guides, J. Crew and Anthropologie's branding and visual merchandising practices were analyzed in case studies. Testing consumer perceptions of these brands and their success, primary research about consumers' behavior relative to specialty apparel retail brands and their visual merchandising displays was an outcome. From this research, it was found that consumers best respond to in-store visual merchandising displays. In showing products, a variety product combination strategy is preferred as it enhances the value consumers perceive in brands and builds brand character. Consumers also feel that visual merchandising impacts their knowledge of the brand and its products as well as personal styling. If brands successfully use visual merchandising to brand themselves, brand consistency, brand expertise, and positive consumer attitudes are an outcome. Recommendations for specialty apparel retail brands have been developed using these findings, and the potential such firms are able to realize in using these will greatly benefit them.
- Taylor, Allyson Nicole (Author)
- Montoya, Detra (Thesis director)
- Gray, Nancy (Committee member)
- Department of Supply Chain Management (Contributor)
- Department of Marketing (Contributor)
- Barrett, The Honors College (Contributor)