“Riding the Plus-Size Wave”
Consumer Behavior Case Study page 230
The underlying theme within this case as well as the reasoning behind the proposed strategic alternative is: how to increase the sales and alter the consumption habits of the target consumer market. We describe the industry and the company’s position within the industry the behavioral aspects of the target consumer market and its relationship to this company. After careful study of theoretical reasoning, we’ve found that consumers with lower self-esteem tend to spend less. Our strategic alternatives therefore attempt to enable the consumers to increase their self-esteem and thus, altering their consumption behavior in favor of shopping at Lane Bryant and Lane Bryant’s new boutique shop, Cacique. The strategic alternatives that they propose are: 1. Implement new clothing lines which address the issue of differing “shapes” among women, as opposed to the traditional numerical sizing method. 2. Implement a marketing strategy which will discard the usage of the term “plus-size” and coin new terminology, such as “normal sizing”. 3. Implement a two-pronged approach, running parallel programs that utilize both new lines for shape-based sizing, as well as a marketing program using new terminology.
The Lane Bryant is implementing by manufacturing new clothing lines that appeal to shape-based consumption, as well implantation of the marketing program in more traditional methods, such as advertising and celebrity.
This case study explores how plus-size female consumers perceive their bodies and themselves, how their self-esteem, body-image and self-concept, self-consciousness and cachexia may influence involvement with clothing, and how these factors may impact their perceptions of the importance of plus-size store and clothes attributes. Additionally, how the aforementioned concepts factor into their consumption practices. Fat, big, over-weight, full-figured, big and beautiful and curvy all have one thing in common: they are another way of saying “plus-sized”, which is considered a derogatory term for most female consumers. This plus-size term is the equivalent for men's plus-size clothing term big and tall, but big and tall in the USA is not considered derogatory and in most situations is considered sexy. Plus-size is a clothing category for women size 14 and up. The term “plus-size” was first used to represent those women who were larger or taller than the sizing average. 1 Over the years the term “plus-size” has gained a negative perception and attitude toward it. However, there still remains a major need for plus-size clothes. “According to a 2008 survey conducted by Mintel, a market-research firm, the most frequently worn size in America is a 14. Government statistics show that 64 percent of American women are overweight (the average woman weighs 164.7 pounds). More than one-third are obese. Yet plus-size clothing (typically size 14 and above) represents only 18 percent of total revenue in the women’s clothing industry.”
1.1 ANALYSIS OF THE ISSUES AND RELAVANT CB CONCEPTS
The following issues have been identified with the Plus-Size clothing industry: 1. Not enough in-store choices for plus-size women
2. Not enough body shape customization
3. Negative perception and attitudes toward the category, “Plus-Size”.
2.0 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
I. Explain the success that Lane Bryant is currently experiencing in relation to self-concept, self-esteem, and self-consciousness. How can the plus-size industry leverage what we know about consumer behavior to address self-esteem issues?
Women use clothes to express their individualism and let the world know who they are which leads to an increase in self-esteem. This lack of body shape customization for female consumers that leads to a reduction in their self-concept, (i.e., the beliefs they hold about their own attributes and how they evaluate their self on...
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