Lululemon Athletica, the iconic women’s yogawear brand, has identified a potentially huge growth lever – menswear.
While Lululemon has certainly made a niche for itself in the women’s activewear market, the company has realized that just adding new store locations is not a sustainable growth strategy.
They need to start targeting new customers in existing markets to build a more diversified and stable customer base – customers like men.
Beginning last year, the company started to tip toe into the menswear segment by introducing a new line of men’s golfwear, reorganizing stores to push menswear out to the front, and recruiting “manly men” to champion its products through its Ambassador program – Lululemon’s number 1 marketing tool.
However, as of last month, Lululemon is no longer just hinting that menswear will play a larger role in its future. The company signed a lease for a location in SoHo for its first men’s only store, which will open its doors in late 2014.
Men’s clothing sales made up just 8% of Lululemon’s revenues less than two years ago. But over the next several years, the company wants to double that percentage to have menswear represent about 20% of its revenue.
By targeting male shoppers, Lululemon is trying to tap into and combine two of the largest growth segments in apparel – activewear and menswear.
As many retailers have seen, there has been a larger overall shift in the male fashion world over the past five years. This new male consumer that is emerging is one who is spending more on clothing, becoming more physically active and putting a greater emphasis on looking good.
Still, to truly be successful in the menswear segment, the company will have to overcome several large barriers, one of which includes moving away from the feminine associations tied to the brand.
Aware of that barrier, Lululemon is hoping to attract new male consumers with their standalone locations, where each store will offer unique experiences for both men and women in spaces that have been designed for their individual needs.
If the brand plays its cards right, the entrance into menswear could be a great success. After all, it is combining two of the biggest trends in apparel.
Are You Considering a Growth Move?
While the success of Lululemon’s efforts in the menswear market has yet to be determined, retailers who want to introduce new offerings or store concepts to their portfolios will ultimately require a deep understanding of their brand, their current and potential customers and how to craft solid real estate and marketing strategies.
It will be imperative that retailers know what types of offerings and marketing messages will resonate with their both their core customers and their potential customers.
Smarter brands are moving toward a data-driven approach, using customer analytics to provide a potential analysis, profiles of their prospective new customers, and a growth plan to optimize their merchandise categories.
The Bottom Line
As retailers are increasingly faced with daunting challenges in a progressively crowded marketplace, customer analytics can help your brand stand out with a sharper view of your customers.
If you’re interested in learning more and exploring new growth avenues, reach out to us. We can help you get to where you want to go.