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Eileen Fisher Case Analysis

Autor:   •  November 29, 2018  •  5,269 Words (22 Pages)  •  6 Views

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Eileen Fisher is a mid-sized, upscale fashion brand known for their high-quality eco-friendly fabric and simple yet stylish designs. Their collections are inspiring , trend-relevant and timeless. The company’s core customers consists of affluent, middle aged, baby boomer women , between the ages of 45-64. The company’s philosophy was the simpler the garment the more flexibility you have in how you wear it.” Collections were versatile and designed to make getting dressed easy. These designs featured forgiving silhouettes that flatters women’s no matter the body type and were made to make the wearer feel beautiful and sensual with high quality artisanal fabrics. Products are produced in accordance with standard industry cycles, wholesale channels typically placed orders during the three key selling seasons which are fall, resort and spring. Fisher’s original principles remained at core of their design philosophy and values which included simple, sensual, beautiful, timeless and functional. The company had a unique niche in the women’s fashion industry, establishing relationships and a strong focus on understanding customers was their underlying competitive advantage.

2.1 Strategic Focus and Plan

In 2010, the company implemented a major strategic initiative to reposition and evolve the Eileen Fisher brands. The company embarked on a project to develop a new brand expression that would set the foundation for future direction. Brand repositioning would require that the brand create edgier brand communications and more contemporary ways of merchandising products, such as miniskirts and skinny jeans. In-store appearances, advertisements and displays were redesigned to attract a younger segment and increase brand awareness, all while limiting the risk of alienating their extremely loyal and profitable customer base.

The founder was big on intuitions and although many of the ideas for design merchandise were developed by core concept teams and other voices throughout the company many of the decisions were made based on her personal intuitions and feelings and a lot of times it took the place of theoretical strategy.

To gain a better understanding of the type of modern women to target the organization started the THREAD project in which the IDEO was hired to clarify the company’s brand vision and to apply principles across retail channels to reach new audiences without alienating devotees. The IDEO team used various methods to collect information from this desired target segment. During this research three distinct consumer segment were discovered which were established, emerging and nascent that displayed differently perspectives, life stages, shopping behaviors and brand attitudes.

The STITCH projects was developed to communicate a strong and focused message to consumers about how the company has evolved to dismantle the negative perceptions and stereotype that were affecting the brand. The company made significant changes to their products by highlighting the relationships between products and Core body types. More fashionable features were added to designs and advertisements. The new changes were met with various reactions some were skeptical while other welcomed the difference in the brands new look and feel. The organization did not have social media at the time and did not have a ready way to respond to criticisms. Although, the company felt it necessary to invest in social media as a platform to participate in conversation and engage with customer to get message out, they were slow to implement and invest in the technology.

To address the issue of who to target the organization analyzed three viable options for customer base expansion which are:

- Exclusively targeting established women and expand penetration in this segment.

- Target emerging women by creating collections that appeal to her sensibilities, without alienating the established segment.

- Target nascent women by introducing more trendy styles and lower price points, without affecting brand image.

Mission/Goals

Fisher’s belief was that if the product was right, business and profits will follow. The goal of having the mission drive the business and profitability was said to actually foster the mission. The mission of the company is to ‘inspire simplicity, creativity and happiness, through connections and great design. The main goals in this case was to decrease the median age level of customer base and to reposition and redesign the company’s brand image in order to change the negative stereotypes effecting the company.

Situation Analysis

3.1 Market Analysis

Eileen Fisher operated in a highly competitive, rapidly changing world of upscale women’s fashion. Changing consumer preferences and economic factors created an endless fight for market share among the many competitors within this industry. Typically consumers shopped with various designers mixing pieces to create and accentuate personal style.

Following years of growth, the fashion industry struggled during the 2008-2010 recession. Departments stores were especially hit hard as consumers were now turning to discount stores and/or waited for items to go on sale before making a purchase . To address these challenges many retailers began to offer deep discounts on designers goods. The organization was able to maintain viability during the recent economic downturns, however they were still effected by discounting. Department stores saw an decrease in profits mainly because a smaller percentage of products were sold at full price. During this time industry-wide retail prices on women’s apparel fell 2.5% in 2008 and decreased 11% since 1998.

Eileen Fisher’s designs were usually merchandised in department stores as a bridge line that offered career separates and high-quality, fine dresses for less than $1000. Bridge lines occupied a market space between such high end designers as Armani, Prada , and Gucci. Sales peaked for these items the early 2000’s, but has since declined as women started to wear more casual items to work.

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Competitor Analysis

With over 50 company-owned retail stores in sixteen states, Eileen Fisher initial motivated was wanting a place to intimately and personally engage in dialogue with the customers in an attempt to gain a better connection and understanding of

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