Chris Hubbard

@chriswhubbard Market Strategy

May 24, 2013

  • Share by Email
  • Tweet This
  • Share on Google+
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Tweet This

8 Ways Apparel Retailers Can Embrace Localization Trends in Asia

The keys to looking local in Asian emerging markets.

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 4.34.56 PM

In a previous post we talked about 3 Trends Driving Localization in Asia. Maturing emerging markets, local flavor appeal, and hometown advantage are all motivating locals to spend more of their dollars on local products that might seem to better suit their needs. For some brands, understanding how to leverage these trends might be obvious, but what can apparel retailers in Asia specifically do with these trends? The answer isn’t always clear, so this week we’re giving you 8 ways apparel retailers in Asia can embrace the localization trend.

1 – Celebrate Local Culture

There’s big culture, and there’s little culture. Little culture is the kind of culture you find in small towns and neighborhoods that is often unique in many ways and close to the heart of those who live there, and yet often overlooked by apparel retailers who just happened to set up shop there.

Learning more about the little cultures in your networks will allow you to connect with your customers by planning things like special events, or marketing materials that celebrate the uniqueness of the area you are in.

2 – Customize Your Products

This is one of the key suggestions behind localizing for retailers. Customization doesn’t mean developing completely new products. Your customers in Thailand might be interested in similar products that your customers in China are, yet they might want those products….. altered in certain ways. Sizes and color preferences might be different, maybe the choice of graphics needs to be slightly altered. For example, Levi’s recognized the need to offer its Asian customers a pair of jeans that better fit their body and unique style preferences. So they launched the dENiZEN brand. The key is simply recognizing that embracing local preferences will help you win their loyalty.

3 – Pick the Right Retail Locations

Embracing the localization trend means you also need to embrace the right locations. For apparel retailers in Asia, the stakes are high and location decisions are often the most important decisions they will make in their life-cycle. And apparel retailers need to consider more than just store-to-store competition these days. In our post, 4 Trends Reshaping China’s Retail Sector, we talked about how online shopping is putting even more pressure on brick-and-mortar apparel retailers. There is hope though as apparel retailers have many new powerful tools available to them now that simply weren’t accessible in the past. Addressing localization trends while building your network will lead to locations that perform better in the neighborhoods they exist in.

4 – Use the Right Data

Using data that’s relevant to your location is one of the most important things any company can do when trying to make locally-driven business decisions. And using the right data doesn’t necessarily mean using “good” data. As Sam Ho pointed out in Garbage In, Gold Out, even data that’s often considered “bad” data can yield positive results when used in the right way. Many companies in Asia will even consider conducting larger scale Greenfield Studies of different locations as a data-driven approach to localization. 

5 – Adjust Your Product Mix

Don’t assume that you’re product mix in one store is suitable for the next. Let local preferences guide merchandising adjustments.

6 – Localize Signage and Displays

This is part of celebrating local culture as well. In-store signage cost little in terms of capital investment, yet it can resonate strongly with locals when it’s used to embrace their culture and unique interests and passions.

 7 – Focus Your Social Media

We all know social media is continuing to gain importance in the realm of marketing and communications for apparel retailers in Asia. Some of the big players like Nike are becoming experts at using social media to embrace localization. For example, Nike creates unique social networking accounts not only by country but by product line as well. This allows them to connect with local people using their language and unique interests as the focus. Follow getchee on twitter to see the best of what our clients are doing.

8 – Stay Up-to-Date 

Nothing changes faster then apparel retailing. Cross this with ever-changing emerging markets in Asia and you have a marketplace that can change at supersonic speeds. But it’s not just about keeping a close watch on local markets. As emerging markets change, the lives and preferences of local communities changes as well. If you want to be local you have to know when and where the local is changing. getchee routinely helps merchandise and apparel retailers in Asia stay in-the-know using powerful datasets.

Stay updated. Subscribe now to receive valuable insights each week from the web’s best blog on retail growth in Asia.