Wet Seal is one of the most famous women’s clothes retail chains based in the USA. The company is now facing numerous constraints due to intense competition. The retailer also had a number of scandals concerning racial discrimination that also led to certain losses (Greenhouse par. 1). Hence, Wet Seal needs an efficient marketing strategy. It is necessary to note that researchers stress effectiveness of social media in marketing.
For instance, it has been estimated that 57% of clothing purchases “are transacted online or influenced by online research and price comparison” and the role of social media in that process is overwhelming, as women tend to share their ideas in numerous social networks (Funk 51). Therefore, the major focus in the marketing strategy will be made on the use of social media. Nonetheless, before outlining a brief account of the marketing strategy, it is important to consider the customer’s profile.
The Customer’s Profile
The target audience of Wet Seal is the cohort of young females aged between 13 and 23 years old (“Our Concepts” par. 1). The company provides a wide range of products. Some of company’s values are diversity and inclusion, and in Wet Seal they value “passionate individuals with diverse backgrounds and all points of view” (“Our Team, Our Culture” par. 1).
The company stresses that they are racial and culturally unbiased and the models featured on the company’s site as well as stores have different ethnic backgrounds. Importantly, the focus of the company is made on innovation, diversity, desire and readiness to change. A brief psychographic analysis helps come to the conclusion that the company’s customers are girls who like being in public, follow fashion trends and are very sociable and open-minded.
Trends in the Future Season
To choose some merchandise for the future season, it is necessary to analyze major trends of the future season in the world of fashion. In the first place, it is necessary to note that pants, tops, dresses, skirt, jackets are all trendy in the next season (with no emphasis on a particular type of clothing).
The next season is characterized by influences of the fashion of the 1960-1970. According to Vogue, one trend is loosened silhouettes and softer lines in dresses (Bickham n.p.). Another trend is the use of fringe. It can take any forms and colors. Clearly, the use of this decorative element is especially suitable for party dresses. As for the color palette, pastel tones, black and white and bright colors. As for patterns, gingham, stripes and flowers prevail.
The new season will also be characterized by prevalence of cropped pants with various patterns and colors. Baby-doll dresses will also be in fashion in 2015. It is also important to note that suede, chiffon, lacy and denim will be a trend in 2015. Finally, waist-whittling proportions will also be trendy in the future season. Clearly, the collection of the new season should follow these trends. Wet Seal should be attentive to these concepts to remain competitive and attract more girls.
Wet Seal Merchandise for Future Season
Clearly, dresses are always classic and, in the future season, girls will also wear dresses. It is necessary to remember that various winter and spring holidays make a great stimulus to wear one. Since Wet Seal’s customers are young females, it is necessary to offer youth dresses that can be short, sexy, and bold.
Of course, these dresses should follow the trends of the 2015 season. Thus, flowery and checked patterns and loosened silhouettes should be used. Since, the target group is females with limited financial resources (as these are usually schoolgirls, students or recent graduates), prices should be quite low. The following are dresses that can become a part of the next season merchandise (see fig. 1).
Another popular item among girls is pants. Young females live active lives and strive for freedom, comfort and, of course, style. As has been mentioned above, the future season will remain faithful to denim (which can be regarded timeless especially for Americans). It is also necessary to note that cropped pants will be trendy in 2015 and the customers are likely to be happy about it as these pants are simply created for young skinny girls. As for colors, they can be diverse. Some examples are as follows (see fig. 2).
Skirts are very popular among young females. It is easy to combine these items with various tops and footwear to create different styles and images. The new season at Wet Seal cannot be without skirts (which follow the trends of 2015 season). Thus, such materials as lace and chiffon should also be used for the new season. As for colors, these can be absolutely all colors ranging from bright to pastel hues (see fig. 3).
As has been mentioned above, young females are bold enough to try new things and styles, to combine different garments. Hence, it is essential for Wet Sealer to provide a good range of tops to fit to the offered bottoms. Again, fringe, denim, lace, cotton as well as silk can make the collection very attractive to the chain’s customers. Tops can also help girls follow the trend of waist-whittling proportions (see fig. 4).
Jacket can make the style and the image chose complete. Girls love wearing nice jackets that emphasize their curves (or hide some imperfections). Again, flowery patterns as well as denim and different colors will be popular in the future season. Clearly, the jackets should also help the customers create interesting styles and fit other items available in the retail chain (see fig. 5).
It is clear that marketing strategy has to employ a complex approach. Conventional tools as ads, events, the use of such media as TV, journals and magazines are all important. At the same time, to remain competitive, the company also has to utilize such social media as social networks (for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Remarkably, researchers note that traditional marketing are becoming less effective as social media influence is increasing (Palmer 124). Nonetheless, this does not mean these strategies should not be used. It is also noteworthy that while the traditional marketing strategies are well-established, the company may need to make the major focus on social media.
It is also important to note that the target group of Wet Seal is the population actively using social networks. Teenagers as well as young adults extensively (and sometimes even excessively) use social media. They share their ideas, music, photos and so on. Girls often upload the photos where they wearing new outfits are depicted.
Girls are looking for appraisal or even jealousy. British researchers found that 64% of users of social networks in Europe “will visit a website related to what they have seen on a friend’s site” (Palmer 124). Hence, Wet Seal has to utilize this knowledge.
The company has its page on Facebook. This can be a good platform for reaching loyal and potential customers. One of effective marketing strategies can be providing some flyers, discounts, or even present cards to those users who actively promote the products.
Thus, sharing links to the company’s products can be made profitable for social networks’ users. The company can give presents to most active users. It is also possible to launch various competitions on choosing the most active user as well as the most competent ‘fashion stylist’.
Voting and competition can boost people’s interest. It is also important to create some models. The company may consider cooperating with some novice celebrities (though this may still be costly). It can be even more effective to cooperate with ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Thus, students who strive for their academic goals or schoolgirls that are trying to make a difference. Clearly, all these people should wear clothes from Wet Seal and share their experiences through various social networks.
All these stories will also draw people’s attention to the company and its products. It is also important for the company to take part in some charity project or launch ones. The company’s commitment to promote inclusion can be one of the first and major principles for charitable programs to come. Of course, all these events will be highlighted in social media.
Clearly, these resources should be user-friendly. The company should be responsive and provide feedback to the customers. Young females are usually very emotional and hate being ignored. Therefore, the company has to be attentive to all customer’s requests, and even utterances. New collections, seasonal sales, interesting promotional events should be promoted through social media.
Moreover, it has been found that analysis of social media can help predict purchase behavior (Zhang and Pennacchiotti 1521). Hence, apart from considering latest trends and customers’ profiles, Wet Seal should also pay attention to research. Analysis of social media will be essential when forming new collections and introducing new promotional events.
To sum up, it is possible to note that Wet Seal is a retail chain that can improve its position in the market through the use of social media combined with conventional marketing strategies. The company should use social media more actively. Such resources as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and so on can facilitate people’s interest to the products offered. Since the customers of the retailer are girls between 13 and 23, this will be beneficial for Wet Seal as this cohort is very active in social networking.
Bickham, Jorden. “The Top 10 Trends of Spring 2015: The Ultimate Fashion Week Cheat Sheet.” Vogue 8 October 2014.
Funk, Tom. Advanced Social Media Marketing: How to Lead, Launch, and Manage a Successful Social Media Program. Berkeley, CA: Apress, 2012. Print.
Greenhouse, Steven. “Lawsuit Claims Race Bias at Wet Seal Retail Chain.” The New York Times 12 July 2012.
Our Team, Our Culture.
Palmer, Adrian. Introduction to Marketing: Theory and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Zhang, Yongzheng and Marco Pennacchiotti. Predicting Purchase Behaviors from Social Media. 2013.