Free Essay with the Analysis Report: "The Last Great Clothing Store"

Published: 2022-04-20
Free Essay with the Analysis Report: "The Last Great Clothing Store"
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Fashion
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1240 words
11 min read

In The Last Great Clothing Store, Steven Kurutz explores the challenges men's apparel retailers have faced over the years and how have such retailers survived amidst the ever-changing tastes and preferences of customers in the fashion industry and massive adoption of digital technologies. The article further investigates the role of family ownership in the sustainability of small business organizations. Despite the recent phenomenal development and widespread adoption of digital technology which have made many expert analysts predict an apocalypse for the retail clothing industry (Boyle), evidence from the article suggest that some retailers remain as profitable as ever due to their ability offer exceptional shopping experience to customers.

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The article features family-owned retail store, Boyds. Kurutz highlights Boyds, a Philadelphia-based men's clothing store, which has survived through the harsh dynamics of the retail industry for 80 years. In the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, Boyds, like other similar retailers, sold tailored suits, dress shirts, sports coats, and furnishings. Today, many men do not need many of such clothing. This is because men have embraced dressing patterns previously perceived to be for women; they are more interested in fashion, including a greater interest in more personalized apparel with more casual appearances than uniform-like types (Williams).This has affected the business of Boyds who traditionally specialized in 'uniform' clothing the customers no longer come to buy office wear from the store. As Kurutz notes in the article, the dress-down revolution and the dynamism witnessed in the dressing of millennials have affected the profits of Boyds quite significantly. Although the Boyds management has slightly adjusted its assortments by introducing fancy new designer labels, sales remain relatively low. Evidently, this outcome suggests that competitors that have managed to change with a change in trends of the clothing industry stand a better chance of surviving the onslaught on small stores by retail giants like WalMart. As such, the author of the article appears to suggest to other players that embracing change is critical for business sustainability.

One of the techniques that many retailers in the clothing industry have managed to leverage on to sustain their sales revenue is the use of technology. The rise of e-commerce has since made many stores fold up due to stiff competition from and WalMart, among other big retailers. Today, shoppers can access their attires just by a click of a button (Boyle). This is an opposite case with Boyds. According to Kurutz, the store relies on its brick and mortar store for its entire sales lines despite the new opportunities created by the development of digital technologies. The management of Boyds does not appear worried by the latest developments in shopping that has seen customers embrace digital technology in the shopping, notwithstanding.

The confidence of exhibited by firm stems from the fact that some of the customers that visit the store are not trendy shoppers. As Kurutz observes, a majority of the customers in the store are overscheduled men who consider shopping as another exercise that needs to be accomplished as efficiently as possible. Additionally, some customers still prefer to make physical checks on cloth products before making actual buys. Others like the human element in the whole shopping experience at Boyds. For this reason, employees at Boyds have been attuned to this fact and devised ways of ensuring that the customers' schedules are not affected by the shopping experience. This has been actualized through exceptional customer service.

Customer service plays a major in the sustainability of many business organizations. Effective customer service enhances customer satisfaction as well as builds trust between the organization and the customers. As a consequence, it promotes retention thereby sustaining the profits of retailers (Chopra239). These benefits are well-known among the management and employees of Boyds. The employees know their clients well. As the saying going goes, "men buy but women shop."Accordingly, employees at Boyds are always ready to help men to do shopping as a strategy of ensuring that the shopping exercises do not affect their tight schedules. The effect of such treatment is that repeat clients refer others, increasing the customer base of the organization.

At the same time, adjustments to clothing as a result of client requests are promptly made to meet not only the client expectations but also reduce the effect of such activity on the clients' schedules. In the wake of the dress-down revolution and increased demand for personalized attire, some experts have severally predicted a collapse of retailers giving non-active wear offerings (Boyle).Some retail companies have even developed some technology to enable customers to try on clothing online, prompting many to predict an eventual death of stores (Cuccenello). On the contrary, Boyds has flourished, albeit in modest steps. Even young shoppers are a common sight at the retailer's premises. And one aspect of customer service that has kept the retailer attract these people and stand strong for years amidst the changes in men's wear preferences is the after-sale service. In the article, customers describe Boyd's delivery service as exceptional and reliable. In other words, loyal customers of Boyds view the retailer's after-sale services as a problem-solver to their wardrobe concerns. As literature confirms, helpful, problem-solving and caring salespeople deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction thereby building a loyal customer base (Chopra239-40). As evidenced in the case under study, exceptional customer service has created unshakeable loyalty towards the store and its offerings. Indeed, Kurutz reports that Boyds has been a destination for many male customers for more than three decades. This loyalty has helped the store to stand the effect of the many changes that have buffeted the industry over the recent past. In context, the author seems to emphasize that effective customer service is a critical ingredient to the sustainability of any business organization.

Kurutz succeeds in highlighting some of the challenges that have faced the clothing retailers for decades and some of the strategies that can be used to sustain their operations. In the article, Kurutz emphasizes that location, a customer-centric approach to sales, and embracing change can sustain businesses in an environment where many players have collapsed as a result of stiff competition and change of customer tastes and preferences. In the case of Boyds, exceptional customer service and location have played a significant role in keeping the retailer afloat in the backdrop of technological advancements and change of the dressing patterns among men. However, the choice of the title for the article suggests that the author aims at offering a word of caution to that the use of technology and responding to demographic changes are pivotal for the long-term survival of business organizations. In other words, he propagates for the adoption of a new business model by Boyds to reflect the current socioeconomic realities. Given the relevance of the message of the article regarding the modern business environment, it can be concluded that it offers valuable insights to players in the fashion industry.

Works Cited

Boyle, Mathew. "The Retail Apocalypse is Fueled By No-name Clothes." Bloomberg, 11 Dec. 2017.

Chopra, Komal. "Empirical Study on Role of Customer Service in Delivering Satisfaction at Branded Retail Outlets in Pune." Procedia Economics and Finance, vol. 11, no. 2014, 2014, pp. 239-246.

Cuccenello, Hayley C. "30 Under 30 Europe: Meet The Millennials Changing How We Shop." Forbes, 21 Jan. 2018.

Kurutz, Steven. "The Last Great Clothing Store." The New York Times, [New York], 29 Mar. 2018.

Williams, Grace L. "The Don Draper Effect: Men's Fashion Is Booming and These Retailers are Gaining." Forbes, 20 Nov. 2015.

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