The fashion retail market is going through tremendous changes with brands noticing that they should give more attention to expand in new markets, otherwise they will perish, gone are the days when the smartest marketing strategy included the U.S, Europe, Japan, China versus RAW (Rest of the World). Developing markets are bursting, announcing its arrival mainly because of its growing population and a rising middle class with a purchasing power in hand.
Looking at my own local market in Jordan, since it is situated in the heart of the Middle East, it can be considered one of the developing economies, although with its own share of economic problems, but nevertheless, Jordan has good IT infrastructure and the capital Amman has many malls for shoppers to buy some of the well-known brands such as Mango, Tom Tailor, H&M, American Eagle Outfitters, Promod, Pimkie, and many more.
But how these brands are serving their customers?
Jordan might be considered an un-attractive market with low revenue return for many fashion brands due to its small population of nine million and relatively weak purchasing power, but turning the table a bit this might be due to shortages in retailers supply and weak sales strategies when operating in our market and other similar ones. This led me to examine the ordinary shopper’s experience like myself with a well-known brand at one of Amman’s malls, so here is my own experience when I wanted to buy a sweater, I first logged into the brand’s U.S e-commerce website and picked what I wanted, afterwards I turned to the local online store to see if I could buy this sweater off-line, I thought it would be great if I can try it on before I finally decide whether I wanted it or not, to my surprise the sweater was not available in the Jordanian online store, nor at their shop in a nearby mall, I was able to see the big difference between the fashion items that were being sold in the Jordanian online store and those on the U.S site which the later had prettier and fancier items, whereas the Jordanian online store was filled with basic items.
My other observations are; the Jordanian online store does not offer a discount on all its items, unlike the U.S store. However, I have to say when visiting the store at the mall there were many items on sale, my shopping would’ve been easier if the Sale was displayed online too since I don’t like the feeling of buying from a pile of stuff especially during the Sales period.
Well, my resilience to own the knitwear sweater I liked didn’t disappear, as I still wanted it, so now, I decided to buy it from the U.S online store and have it shipped to my home, and here comes the twist where the retailer has no fault in doing, that is shipping can be through a courier where you will have to pay charges which in some cases it might be close to the price of the piece of clothing you bought. After all of this, what should I do to fulfill my desire of acquiring this sweater that I liked very much? There came the un-traditional solution, which is asking a friend living in the U.S to buy it for me and bring it with her when she visits the country – which luckily happened to be that same winter. Bottom line is; if you don’t have a friend in the country you want to buy from and if she or he is not visiting Jordan in the near future, one might end up doing a screen shopping without being able to get his purchase at all.
Delivery charges can be an issue, however, some retailers solved this problem, a Turkish brand called Modanisa which sells modest fashion took the burden away from its customers, according to some friends who bought from its online store, they said that the brand makes sure to deliver your purchase for a very minimal shipping price.
I think the problem with developing markets like ours and big brands wanting to enter these markets is that they need to fix some problems in the supply chain and delivery methods, by making sure customers can get all what the brand has to offer, after all, we (as shoppers) can check the online items offered by the fashion retailer and make comparisons. This way retailers can get a greater share of this market and make customers Happy.