What Bonmarche Can Learn from Burberry

April 26, 2017


Bonmarche, a UK-based fashion giant targeting older women in particular, has been reinventing its brand. While they continue to target the older generation, they have dropped their demographic age by a decade, attracting women in their 50s. Now, they are learning of other major fashion brands in trying to make the greatest impact.

In the world of fashion, the big fashion houses are trend setters, who other clothing brands, and particularly high street brands, follow. This type of diluting is very popular, enabling people to dress like the stars, without its associated price tags. The United Kingdom is a polarized country in every respect, including in its fashion industry. So taking that into consideration, what can a store like Bonmarche learn from a high end fashion label like Burberry?

With online shopping on the rise, consumers seem to want just one thing: to see, buy, and wear something straight away. Burberry has responded to this, enabling people to buy what they like instantly, without having to wait for months before items are available in their stores. This was announced at the latest London Fashion Week, and it was met with great applause. It makes sense that this is done since, thanks to social media, what is shown on the catwalk of the fashion weeks is shown around the world instantly. People don’t want to wait another six months at that point, they want their items straight away.

That being said, it has caused some issues as well, particularly for high street stores. Once upon a time, people who wanted to buy as soon as they saw something would have to go to town. Today, however, they can do shop wherever they want without even having to leave their sofa. And this isn’t just because the weather isn’t nice, it’s because people shop online.

Last year, there was a significant profit warning from Bonmarche. One particular issue was that they had summer clothes on the rails, when the weather outside was abysmal. But the weather cannot be blamed for everything, no matter how much it is true that, whenever the mercury goes up, sales go up as well. The difference between sunny areas and rainy areas is actually just 15%, which is not enough.

Yet, stores continue to blame the weather. Primark, for instance, revealed that it had a slump in sales, which was the first time since it started 16 years ago. And they blamed the weather. But experts say that the real issue is that high street stores don’t sell the things people actually want, when they want it. And this is where they can learn from the catwalk.

Bonmarche has taken this onboard, enabling people to now buy online. But what they can learn from the likes of Burberry is the “transeasonal” element they have added to their collection. Burberry has released fine lace dresses together with military coats made of thick wool. What they have understood is that people all over the world have to be able to buy their clothes, because they can buy them instantly thanks to the internet. And when it is summer in the United Kingdom, it is winter in places like Australia. And one other thing that all high street stores can learn is that they should have better communication between the factory and the shop floor – if people consistently ask for something, or consistently don’t buy something, it should be changed. This is about giving people what they want, when they want it, and making sure the entire operation is weather proof as well, something absolutely vital in the United Kingdom.

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