I remember 35 years ago; my grandmother would talk about needing to go shopping at Lord & Taylor. She would go there for the dress and yes, the SALES! Now 35 years later we say goodbye to a 200-year-old retail icon.
As I got into Retail, first at Bloomingdales, then Saks Fifth Ave. and later during my time in wholesale, I met a lot of great and talented people from Lord & Taylor. However, most of us saw this coming for a long time. Lord & Taylor went the way of many other retailers that aged with their customers, had bad owners, and no focus. Before they knew it, the damage was done.
Lord & Taylor lost connection with generations. If you ask a Gen Z or Millennium consumer if they ever shopped at Lord and Taylor the answer would be no in most cases. In the FFB C Insight poll, coming out later this month, Lord & Taylor had less than 2% favorability, with our target group (stay tuned for full report!). Now this post, is not to kick an old giant when they are down, but let this to be a lesson for all.
First, do not age with your customer. Understand who you want and learn about them.
Second, time is not promised to you. The longer you wait to course-correct your shortcoming, the more likelihood the consumer will find something or someone else.
Third, do not take the easy way out. Just because you are still selling an item, does not mean you have the consumer behind you.
Fourth, spend your money wisely. The number one thing you need to do is study and conduct research on your customer. Your customer is changing, more now than ever, and it is important that you understand them. It is not just about product. It is about knowledge too.
Be smart to avoid becoming the next Lord and Taylor.