Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Are you selling pants, or selling a dream?

Lots of retailers sell clothes. Many of them sell workout clothes. Some of those sell clothing specifically for folks who do yoga. But few retailers package this clothing in a way that maximizes the merchandising potential. I don't really want to buy just the pants. I want to buy the dream.

Let me start with a different analogy. I like to cook, but like many aspiring cooks I'm largely a vicarious cook. I buy way too many cookbooks, and most sit on my shelf unused. Why did I buy them? Because I really want to make the food, but was drawn to purchase largely by the aspiration of cooking the food. I liked the idea of having all the ingredients on my counter, spending a couple hours cooking a really nice meal, wowing my wife. It all sounded good, good enough to make me shell out $20 bucks for a cookbook I rarely use.

I bought the dream. Cookbook publishers are great at selling that dream - with beautiful pictures of the finished product on their covers and within their pages.

Some retailers do a better job at this than others. Let's get back to yoga pants. Let's say my wife is in the market for yoga pants, but as a marketer I want to help her to dream about doing the yoga. Instead of marketing just the pants, why not market an entire collection of yoga products together? Rather than building my Web site to feature pants in one section, shirts in another, etc. - what if I packaged yoga-related products together? Running products together?

It's amazing to me that many bricks-and-mortar retailers get this, but fail to execute the same strategy online. Check out how Lucy does it in their Favorite Looks section.

Are you selling pants, or are you selling a dream?

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