At last, those are the messages they're sending to Shanghai Metersbonwe Fashion & Accessories Co., China's leading casual wear apparel retailer with more than 2,000 stores.
The company has responded by delivering more than clothes. It is reaching out to its target market -- 18- to 25-year-old male and female consumers -- with a website, theStylist.cn, that dishes out fashion tips and addresses their uncertainty about how to dress well.
Last month, it launched an online platform, "Your Personal Fashion Stylist," that encourage consumers to perceive Metersbonwe as a fashion expert. Advertising to market the site was developed by Leo Burnett Worldwide. The web platform, which will run indefinitely, was created by the Publicis Groupe agency's marketing-services arm, Arc Worldwide. Metersbonwe's founder, Zhou Chengjian, a former tailor, opened his first store in Wenzhou in 1995. The company has become a retailing powerhouse, largely by associating its brand with celebrities popular with its target market, teenagers and university students.
"That expansion strategy made the retailer famous, but research over the past year showed us many people don't really understand fashion and want the brand to help them," said Gordon Zhang, Arc's operation director in Shanghai. Because they don't want to ask for help, "many people have been leaving [stores] empty handed, or with relatively few items per visit."
Metersbonwe has not jettisoned the three Taiwanese pop singers who helped build the company. Jay Chou, David Poon and Jessica Zhang have been re-created as virtual fashion stylists, hosting an online fitting room to provide tips for better styling and dressing.
Each celebrity consultant delivers customized service to individuals who visits the site, offering a psychological test before giving professional suggestions based on the test results. The consultant gives an opinion each time the visitor changes outfits in the virtual fitting room and encourages him or her to keep trying things on until a suitable combination is found.
The website was tested earlier this year with two glass touch screens and one flat screen inside the Metersbonwe flagship store in Shanghai. Within a month, the store attracted nearly 50,000 unique visitors, resulting in 9% increase in sales per store visit.
Return to AdAgeChina, click here