In the new world of online retailing, companies really need to stand out from the crowd. No more so than in clothes retailing, a traditionally fickle and fast-moving market. Enter Everlane, who burst onto the online scene in 2011 with a simple T-shirt – the ultimate in sartorial basics. After initial success, they added ties and bags, all made using luxury materials, yet sold at a realistic price level, and sales really took off. So, what singled them out from the competition? I decided to find out for myself while researching my series of lectures on Retail and Merchandising, and it made for interesting reading.
Conscious of the millennial generation’s preference for all things ethically sourced, Everlane chose ‘radical transparency’ as its mission statement. When customers bought a bag from them, they could watch a video of the factory where it was made, and track all the costs along the line to see exactly what the mark-up was – always reasonable. And Everlane have never followed fashion. They produce well designed, classic items based around ‘customer experience’, providing a 24/7 wardrobe that is made to last. Only time will tell whether this is a retail formula that has real staying power too.
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