I consider myself a bargain shopper, especially when it comes to apparel. Why pay full price when you can just wait for the products to go on sale? Although, there are several other ways that can help you save money. You can sign up for a store’s cashback program, use online or in-store coupons, or even shop for defective products. Now some may be skeptical about purchasing defective products, but in reality you shouldn’t have to worry too much in regards to apparel, unless you are very picky. There are many situations where I would rather purchase a slightly defective item to save a big chunk of change.
As manufacturers produce hundreds and thousands of items, some are bound not to come out perfect. Quality control weaves these defective products from the approved products. From excess glue on a shoe to incorrect stitching on a garment, there are plenty of small details that can be irregular. Now these items don’t necessarily present a hazard to customers, but major retailers such as Nike cannot be seen selling sub-par products in major retailers. That is why they offer these “irregular” or “b-grade” products. You can find a few of them slip past to major retailers, but you mainly find these types of products in outlet stores. Now this scenario would be different in the auto industry, where defective components or products would not be allowed to be sold because of the dangers they may cause.
I bet that many of us have been to and/or shopped at an outlet mall and have seen how much cheaper apparel is compared to full price retailers. “Defective” products that I purchase from outlets (mainly sneakers and sports apparel) usually tend to be just as fine in my opinion. Things are meant to be worn and I believe little nicks do not really affect the overall look/performance of the particular product.
Do you guys think these defective/irregular products are worth purchasing in the long run?
Do you think quality control might be too strict when it comes to products like apparel (that do not pose danger)?
When considering our class discussion of product placement and the product life cycle, I wondered how that would apply to a company that was already established and looking to ‘revamp’ their image. A newer company has the advantage of a clean slate and a fresh approach to whatever service or good they are looking to provide; yet a company that already has a reputation that they want to break free from must have a well thought out strategy to help them accomplish this.
I came across this article in the Economic Times that was a live example of what I was curious about. How FILA’s Gene Yoon plans to build a strong brand presence in India The article’s focus was Gene S. Yoon, Fila’s global chairman, and his strategy to break away from FILA’s image as a non-aggressive brand and become successful in India’s marketplace. This article was an interesting supplement to several of our class topics, but especially on product life cycles and product decision.
The Indian marketplace has become the focus of FILA’s strategic efforts at competitive advantage. Bata was the original company that dominated the marketplace; however Nike and Adidas have found success in this marketplace and FILA is hoping they will as well. While Nike is known for “Just Do It” and Adidas says “Impossible Is Nothing”, Fila’s first priority is to decide on a tagline that will effectively differentiate them from their competitors.
Fila’s main strategy for competitive advantage appears to be rapid response. FILA is one of the only brands that allows each retailer to devise regional marketing plans. Aside from the logo, FILA gives retailers creative freedom in regards to color, fabric choice and design allows them to tailor each product to local preferences. This strategy will assist in the growth of the brand throughout numerous markets. FILA is also focusing on differentiation and their general ‘cool factor’ by signing on celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, which aided in their success in outgrowing other markets in Korea.
FILA is currently present in 40 exclusive stores in India, and Yoon forecast’s the number to increase to 100 stores by 2014. I believe in Fila’s strategy to succeed in the Indian marketplace, however I do think they need to have a more focused strategy. I understand the idea behind regional marketing plans, I just think that they would be more successful if they have a definitive tagline and ensure that each product that is developed embodies what they are trying to represent. FILA expresses their interest in being a lifestyle brand, and in order for them to prevail, focus is needed in all areas of product development.
Do you believe that FILA’s strategic plan will be successful? Or do you think that regardless of their attempts, they will not be able to break away from their reputation of being non-aggressive and not very “cool”?