On-line Luxury fashion retailers love an Exclusive

Expert Advice

If you open any luxury fashion retailers’ site and you will see lots of ‘limited edition’ or ‘capsule collections’ labelled as “exclusive.” These exclusive ranges are often dropped mid-season to freshen up the customer offer.

Exclusives have been a way of department stores driving customers through their doors for many years and now on-line retailers have jumped on the bandwagon to offer their customer the most exclusive stock. With so many on-line retailers it is now essential that the businesses look for a point of differentiation.

An exclusive collection is the perfect incentive to get the customer to revisit the website and can also build stronger relationships with loyal customers by offer them unique product that they can’t source elsewhere. For the retailer the bonus of an exclusive also means that they don’t have to compete on price, instead focussing attention on the product rather than price.

Most store buyers now state that they need new collections and products in store all year round and will often look to newer brands to fill the gaps between seasons or at key holiday times with small exclusive ranges.

For start-up brands exclusives can offer the brand the chance to test new markets or develop relationships with larger retailers and also offers marketing opportunities by creating unique content for the retailers to use to promote the exclusive collection.

The downside is that exclusives can be costly for smaller brands if they can’t meet their manufacturers minimum order quantity and can put pressure on their cash flow. There is also a risk that if the store doesn’t sell the exclusive range they may ask the brand to buy it back or return it if on a sale-or-return basis. Therefore, a brand needs to consider the long-term strategy and consequences if they are going to offer an exclusive range to a store.