Giordano’s Current Positioning Strategy
Giordano has provided high-quality customer service unparalleled by any other retail chain stores in East Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East since 1981 since its inception. While many clothing stores are providing the same products that are affordable, trendy and high-quality clothing for men, women and children, Giordano has set the precedent for customer service out of its competitors such as the Gap, Espirit, Hang Ten, Baleno, and Bossini. The retail stores founder, Jimmy Lai, conceived the idea of value-for-money for the business where they would focus on excellent customer service, understand the customers’ needs and wants.
Furthermore, to achieve these excellent customer services, the company invests in high- quality employees that are sourced from the best institutions all over the country. Giordano has invested heavily in employee training and has gone as far as opening up the Giordano University that gives specialized training to their prospective employees. They also refresh the training of existing employees to keep with the times of the current market needs and arising customer services trends. The University will soon be open up to give similar training to other unrelated institution demonstrating the emphasis and investment they have put into employee training to realize their goal.
Employees are also trained to be friendly, always helpful and have been encouraged to memorize the names and last items of purchase of loyal customers. Such personnel differentiation has made it a very desirable place where consumers feel welcomed, and their clothing and fashion needs are met without any compromise. Giordano recognizes the essential role employees play in keeping the brand profitable even in times of economic downturns by asking them to self-evaluate themselves and suggest ways in which they can improve their customer service. It encourages an innovative spirit that goes with the profoundly changing consumer tastes and helps it adapt to them seamlessly.
Giordano is highly committed to customer service, and it is at the core of the company's mission, "To make people ‘feel good' and ‘look great.'" The brand utilizes its customers as driving forces of growth and change, where they ask them to give them feedback on what works and what does not work. In Singapore for instance, the stores asked customers to pay for their jeans what they felt was fair. Their sales shot up tremendously for their consumer-oriented inclusion and dedication. They also had several evaluation forums where the customers anonymously got to choose their best salesperson. The employees who win the “Service Star” are awarded. It creates a competitive atmosphere where employees are forced to provide only the best services to customers. Thus, it leads to excellent customer services which do not go unrecognized as well. The brand has won numerous awards for the same and has created a loyal customer base for the spendthrift Asian market while still providing the best value for money and impeccable services.
Giordano has a strict policy of value-for-money as well as quality merchandise at affordable prices which gives it a distinction from its competitors. As the price of raw materials goes up, the brand has been able to maintain their affordable clothing by tweaking their production processes without compromising the quality of the products. Maintaining such relatively affordable prices has established the brand as one that is preferred by the mainly working class in Asia.
Moreover, the brand cut out a niche for itself where they moved from only offering men’s clothing to offering trendy, affordable unisex apparel for all. It is clear that the brand carries limited clothing items but invests in variants of the same items. As compared to their competitors who carry more than 200 items that are all different. Fung suggested this change stating that if they carried very many items, it would prove to be hard to respond to market changes. It would cause the company to suffer losses of out of trend clothing.
Giordano also took the risk to venture into the provision of particular consumer needs by establishing stores dedicated to key demographic groups. Blue Star Exchange for the price-conscious consumers, Giordano Ladies for the working-class, upper-end women, Giordano Concepts for the higher-end market and Giordano Junior for children. These concepts under the brand have given it the appeal of a differentiated and more appealing look for clear visibility in the highly competitive market.
Giordano has also taken a keen interest in humanitarian efforts that has helped establish it as a brand that cares about humanity. To assist in the Tsunami 2004 disaster, the brand came up with “World Without Strangers” to raise money for the victims. It has since then undertaken other similar ventures in protecting the environment. Humanitarian efforts are very effective brand positioning strategies for any institution as it appeals to the soul of its consumers.
Repositioning in New and Existing Markets
Giordano had had some setbacks when it came to penetrating a new market in Asia but as Fung iterates, mistakes are opportunities for growth. Giordano Ladies was not a successful venture at first because the brand failed to take into account all the needs of the market into which they wished to enter. Should the brand wish to expand to other markets, they have to do thorough research into the cultures of the peoples and what influences their tastes and fashion preferences and to each different geographical region its positioning strategy. The failure to take this account led to the failure. However, on realizing their market base for Giordano Ladies, they were able to provide the feeling of exclusivity with which the modern, working woman associates and identifies.
The brand is reputable for its notoriously organized, well-mannered and highly efficient services that set it apart from its competitors. While these qualities are subject to imitation, no brand has come close despite the efforts of competitors. In this aspect, the brand should only seek ways to make this quality transferrable to new markets and the existing markets, continue innovation to keep their consumers happy and interested in a strategy conveniently referred to as pivot and hammer. (Yannopoulus, P. 201, 10). In its essential lack of repositioning is a reposition in itself, these qualities are what draw customers to the brand and keeps their current bases.
The repositioning should not be done in a way to erode the quality of their merchandise or their value for money policies. As the brand taps further into the existing market, repositioning might have an adverse effect where customers get confused whether the brand is changing altogether. Certain measures should be taken to ensure that core values remain as they are and advertising made clear for all interested consumers. Once the brand has established ways in which it can expand in its stronghold geographical region, these strategies should be transferred should the market research indicate that exploration into new areas would be of benefit to the brand. Market research may also show to the contrary, in which case, the brand seeks not to delve into new markets because of losses they would portend for the brand.
Adapting to the New Markets
Expanding into new markets is a venture much harder than it looks and Giordano has experienced first-hand. It is not merely a launch-and-attack type of strategy, but it requires careful considerations of all dynamics of the new market. These factors span from existing local brand competitors, the source of raw materials to the culture of the intended consumers. Taking a leaf from brands that have crossed over to new markets, strategies that are consistent and predictable are best suited to an economy that is volatile. (Zook, C., and Allen, J. 2003). Such an approach may sound mundane and undesirable, but it is different from tactics that are supposed to be unpredictable to avoid cheap imitation by competitors. The repeatability helps core business approaches to stick in the management team charged with the responsibility of expansion.
Strategies are replicated for future use and represent the core way in which the brand conducts its business. Market researchers are thus charged with the task of learning the foreign culture of the markets and decide the best strategy for the brand consequently: to standardize or to adapt? (Berrier, I., and Meyer, E. 2010,10). As Doole and Lowe (2004) suggest, product and service image are very easily adaptable to new markets and a mix of the two strategies incorporated as other sectors such as products are hard to adapt.
Adaptation is mostly driven by government regulations that differ from country to country and the individual tastes of the people in these countries. It is thus difficult to standardize production processes, product pricing, other global competitors and the general strategies used by competitors. (Bernier, I., and Meyer, E. 2010, 10). The brand has to learn to adapt their products as preferred by their new consumers to maintain profitability and sustainability.
The flower of service concept proves to be an indispensable tool when tapping into new markets. To build a strong brand name with a knack for excellent services and product image the brand should invest in information sharing. Prospective customers are always in search of better quality products that will give them value for their money. Providing information on the products intended to be offered, schedules and new products/ services are important.
Payment methods fall under this concept, and the brand should adapt to the preferred mode of payments for their new consumers to avoid customer frustration and inconveniences. (Lovelock, C., Wirtz, J. and Chew, P.,88).
Consultations are necessary that provide information on the different tastes the customers and develop solutions to them. Hospitality is a transferrable quality Giordano could introduce to the new markets. Simple greetings invite new customers in where their policy includes having as many try-on and their easy return and exchange policies. Investing in hospitality training of the new employees that are well-acquainted with the cultures of the different cultures could go a long way in ensuring satisfaction with the core product.
It is clear that a marketing mix of product, price, promotion and place needs to be established if the brand is to conquer the new markets and the culture may form one of the largest barriers the brand should overcome. On the positive side, the new geographical regions may have benefits such as availability of source materials which may influence competitive pricing with existing brands. All these strategies while consistent, tactics have to be adapted to each market and should look for ways to maintain low product pricing, improving efficiency and even better service provision. As Giordano is a brand associated with excellent customer services, the new establishments should also reflect the same.
Bernier, I., and Meyer, E., 2010. Standardizing or adapting the marketing mix across culture. Halmstad University.
Doole, L., and Lowe, R., 2001. International market strategy.
Lovelock, C., Wirtz, J., and Chew, P., 2008. Essentials of services marketing. New York: Pearson Education.
Yannopoulos, P., 2011. Defensive and offensive strategies for market success. International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol. 2 No. 13/Special Issue, July 2011.pg. 10.
Zook, C. and Allen, J., 2003. Growth outside the core. Harvard Business Review, Dec., 2003. Available at www.hbr.org [Accessed 2 Feb. 2016].