Lord & Taylor
Executive Summary for Lord & Taylor Retailing Strategy
In defining the future direction of Lord & Taylor’s retailing strategy, it is critical that the branding, messaging, multi-channel selling, supply chain, and retailing strategies all be synchronized around a common objective of communicating vitality, high energy, and style that is synonymous with professional women in the 35-55 age group. Professional women in this age group see time as a critical resource that needs to be made the most of. These women value the quality, lasting style, and what their purchases say about their ability to achieve first and foremost, which equates into a premium branding and pricing strategy for Lord & Taylor. The days of couponing and testing the depths of pricing to drive sales need to be over now. In shifting all strategies to support the vitality and high energy of high achieving professional women, its’ critical that the existing, and often highly loyal customers not be alienated. To keep the existing customer base connected to the brand, a series of CRM and customer analytics applications are needed to tailor marketing and promotional campaigns that present the new, vital image to the existing customers so they can be the first to see how the changes still include their preferred brands as well.
In creating a synchronized strategy that ties together the entire operations of Lord & Taylor to support and accentuate this new, higher-end and high energy branding position, the controllable factors of designers, suppliers, and, direct marketing, and the remodeling of specific stores that have dated interiors needs to be first addressed (Schlesinger, 2). The uncontrollable aspects of price competition, growth of high-end specialty boutiques, and the onslaught of competition from mass merchandisers including Wal-Mart at the low-end all need to be taken into account in defining a unique identity for Lord & Taylor. The controllable factors in turn need to be addressed through the use of strategies that encompass supply chains, designers, marketing and promotional plans, and the development of entirely new approach to being more focused on how to support and promote the new branding messaging and strategy. The uncontrollable factors of price and competition in both niche-based boutiques and mass merchandisers can be alleviate through building a strong brand with a reputation for executing on the promises it makes to customers; namely the retailing of high quality apparel, accessories and products that personify and support a high-energy, high-achieving lifestyle.
In conjunction with a more vibrant, vital brand to appeal to high-achieving professional women in the 35-55 age group, there is the need to fine-tune the forecasting model Lord & Taylor has relied on. Clearly the need for more agility in responding to consumers’ more mercurial and varied tastes in apparel is critical. The short-term factors of being able to react more responsively with seasonal fashions that become “break out” fashions are critical, and to accomplish this, greater supply chain coordination both with designers and their production centers are critical;. This tighter integration to designers in the short-term will allow for greater variation in forecasts of new, seasonal lines. In addition, the need for better capturing of Point-of-Sale (POS) data is critical to better understand quickly the needs of customers and respond to them (Moin, 2). This added insight of using POS data in conjunction with the CRM system that Lord & Taylor has purchased from Harte-Hanks will also lead to more accurate forecasting.
In forecasting for the long-term, Lord & Taylor needs to track purchasing history of its top customers and better understand what is driving customer loyalty within the customer base attracted by the new branding. In addition, there is the need for investing more in Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs including the creation of advisory councils with the thought leaders of the prime customer base of 35-55 high achieving professional women. In addition to these long-term factors for achieving a higher level of forecast performance, Lord & Taylor needs to analyze and track lifetime customer value and build statistical and econometric models that can predict how best to achieve this level of sales performance and customer satisfaction with key accounts.
All of these strategic initiatives however need to be brought together into more targeted direct marketing campaigns that synchronize all available promotional and sales channels. This includes having a revised website that stresses the quality, convenience and style of the new designer brands supported, the ability to get personalized shopping assistance as part of the Lord & Taylor shopping experience, and above all, the quality of the brands and their strengthening of customers’ self-concepts of being high-energy, high achieving women. The direct marketing strategy must support and stress both the key messages of the brand while at the same time making Lord & Taylor the store of choice for this specific demographic audience. Relying on CRM systems and analytics, the targeting of key messages by each sub-segment or audience through both micro sites online, directed e-mails campaigns, and the exclusive launch events of new designers will be combined in direct marketing campaigns to increase the allure and interest in the stores.
Moin, David. “L&T’s New Strategy: Fall Season Seen Key to Store’s Revamp.”
Women’s Wear Daily.6/15/2007, Vol. 193 Issue 128, p1-11, 2p, 3c. Accessed from EBSCO Host on August 8, 2007.
Schlesinger, Toni. “Dear Lord & Taylor, Retail’s Resting Place.” The New York Observer. September 1, 2006. Accessed from the Internet on August 8, 2007 at http://www.observer.com/node/52666
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