Businesses of the modern competitive and rapidly globalizing and digitalizing world are evolving at high speed, responding to and creating new trends in economy and society. However, even the most successful companies require continuous improvement of their business strategies, marketing approaches, and promotional ideas. It is essential to analyze the current state of a company’s performance and explore possible opportunities for growth and solidifying of an organization’s competitive advantage. Indeed, competition is one of the most influential factors in business, especially with the advancement of digital technologies, e-commerce, and globalization trends. Under such circumstances, businesses face more diverse competition and have to be more creative and inventive to incorporate new trends in their performance and offer unique experiences to their consumers. Thus, attracting more loyal customers and maintaining a continuous and stable competitive advantage in the market are the ultimate goals for a business to succeed.
The fashion industry is one of the most developed and competitive industries in today’s business world. Developing a unique strategy and maintaining its relevance in society and the target audience is rather challenging. Therefore, companies should develop and implement new promotional ideas to expand their growth opportunities. This case is focused on the company under the title Skims, which operates in the American market and expands globally in sales of women’s clothing. Its body-positive philosophy and values drive its mission, vision, and business strategies (Yola). It is a successful and growing enterprise that might benefit from several promotional ideas to facilitate its presence in the fashion market and its relevance to contemporary social trends. This paper aims to overview the company, outline possible promotional ideas for the company’s development, and present a description of objectives for each of the ideas and a plan for their achievement. It is claimed that the implementation of one or all of the proposed ideas will significantly expand Skims’ consumer base, generate their loyalty, and solidify the company’s competitive position in the market.
When designing a set of recommendations for company development and promotion, one should overview the organization, its history, mission, operations, advantages, and weaknesses. Such a holistic and analytical approach will justify the proposed promotional ideas due to their addressing of the identified gaps in the company’s performance. Moreover, understanding the context in which the company functions might help validate the objectives within the ideas and the use of resources to achieve them.
When starting a description of the organization, one should state that Skims is a fashion company founded in the United States of America, specializing in selling clothing items for female customers. Its primary industry is clothing and fashion, with a narrow specialization in body-shaping undergarments, swimsuits, loungewear, and accessories alongside clothing for comfort. The company is relatively new since it was established in 2019 out of a collaboration between Kim Kardashian, an American model and businesswoman, and Jens Grede, who is now the company’s CEO (Yola). The company has significantly increased its value over the years due to its popularity and a high level of demand in the market. Indeed, as the company representatives state, “the launch exceeded our expectations with tens of thousands of orders in a matter of minutes and more than half a million unique visitors with an extremely high intent to purchase” (Yola par. 5). Its presence in the market is characterized by a positive brand reputation and recognition, which is based on the company’s mission and philosophy.
The company’s mission is based on the philosophy of respecting and appreciating body types in their variety to bring confidence to every woman’s life. It states that “from technically constructed shapewear that enhances your curves to underwear that stretches to twice its size, our goal is to consistently innovate on the past and advance our industry for the future” (About par. 1). More specifically, the brand works for women, validating its concentration of female clothing lines.
The advantages of the organization’s performance are numerous; they stem from meticulous and multifaceted marketing strategies. Indeed, “the combination of broadcast TV and press, influencer reviews, wide celebrity support, and Kim’s social channels created a truly synergetic effect with over one billion media impressions at launch” (Yola par. 5). Moreover, the company uses innovative technological solutions with “heavy bonded materials that smooth and flatter, seamless technology that sculpts and lifts, compression that cinches in the waist, and lightweight, breathable fabrics for comfort and ease” (Yola par. 7). It is inclusive in sizing; the sizes of the sold items range from XXS to 4XL. Another beneficial feature of Skims is their diversity-conscious clothing line that offers a significant variety of nude shades to recognize the needs of women of all skin types and colors (Yola). In addition, the versatile cooperation of the company with vendors and other brands, such as Harrods, Nordstrom, Selfridges & Co., and others, creates advantages for the company (Stockists). Furthermore, the prices of the products are accessible, which allows for attracting an economically diverse population of consumers.
At the same time, there are some disadvantages in Skims’ performance that should be emphasized to create an objective context for the company overview. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of the entity is its adverse reputational history conditioned by cultural and ethical considerations concerning its first brand name. Indeed, when the company was first launched, it was called Kimono, which ignited a wave of criticism online with accusations of cultural appropriation and disrespect toward Japanese cultural heritage (Yola). Nonetheless, the brand adequately responded to this negative experience by renaming Skims. Moreover, one might consider that the focus on solely female clothing in the company’s fashion lines is a disadvantage. Indeed, the limitation to female clothing only discourages the engagement of a significant body of male consumers who might benefit from the company’s competitive advantage and presence in the fashion market for both men and women. Thus, given the history, mission, advantages, and disadvantages of Skims, it is relevant to develop and outline the proposed promotional ideas.
Promotional Ideas for the Business
The description of the Skims company has demonstrated that the organization is a successful and striving profit-making brand with a recognizable image and good reputation. These characteristics are based on the professional marketing and business strategies that help Skims create a solid competitive advantage in the fashion industry. Given such a strong business foundation, the company might benefit from expanding its opportunities to solidify its competitive advantage and diversify its customer base to gain more numerous and loyal buyers. This section outlines the promotional ideas, the objectives, and implementation plans which will be presented in the next section of the paper.
The first promotional idea that might significantly benefit Skims is launching a male line of clothing to meet the needs of male customers admiring the company’s philosophy of body positivity and confidence. It is validated by the growing relevance of the male fashion industry that is characterized by inclusion, body positivity, and gender role recognition (Gazzola et al. 1). According to research, the new generations of fashion industry consumers are more mindful and responsive to trends, with male customers’ engagement in fashion growing (Gazzola et al. 2). For that matter, it is relevant for Skims to launch a new line of clothing specifically designed for men, including loungewear and comfortable pieces of clothing for men of different sizes, ages, and skin tones.
The second promotional idea is related to the first one and specifically proposes launching a male shapewear line. Although it might be perceived as controversial due to its diminished exploration, the scarce competition in this fashion industry segment might be considered a boosting factor for Skims to launch such an undergarment line for male customers. According to research, “body-centered market assemblages consist of sets of objects and discourses that simultaneously define and reflect the social positioning of the body in a consumption environment” (Zanette and Scaraboto 184). However, most body-positive and body-centered brands are targeting women, which leaves the niche of male shapewear production and sale free. Thus, it is a promising opportunity for Skims to expand its body positive and inclusive philosophy by recognizing and meeting male customers’ needs.
The third idea for promotion for the Skims company is the facilitation of sustainable strategies by adhering to green manufacturing and promoting environmental protection messages. The overview of the company’s website and the analytics did not demonstrate Skims’s comprehensive and explicit sustainability policy. Without a clear and straightforward message on sustainable goals the company supports, Skims might lose the opportunity to engage and attract the segment of consumers who are concerned about environmental issues. Moreover, sustainable development is a trending issue in business today, validated by extensive research. Indeed, with the growth of fast fashion and the concerns with the non-sustainable manufacturing and disposal of clothing, the corporate responsibility aspects of fashion businesses have become pertinent (Thorisdottir and Johannsdottir 2). Therefore, it is recommended that Skims integrate sustainable production elements and disseminate sustainability-related public messages to express its position and connect with a wider target population of consumers.
Finally, the fourth idea is to expand the company operations globally by opening more brick-and-mortar shops in Europe, Asia, and America. Indeed, the analysis of Skims’ sales sights has revealed that the company is particularly reliant on e-commerce due to the majority of sales being conducted through its original website and the websites of its partners (Stockists). The physical stores are not numerous and are predominantly concentrated in the USA (Stockists). Therefore, the company misses the opportunity to reach its customers through brick-and-mortar facilities in other countries. Indeed, there are several Skims shops in the developed European countries; however, it is possible to expand its outreach by opening new shops in more countries.
Ideas’ Objectives and Their Execution Plans
Promotional Idea 1: Launching of Male Clothes Line
This idea is based on expanding the company’s clothing line to include male customers. The purpose of implementing this idea is to increase the company’s outreach to consumers beyond females and cultivate the trend of male body inclusivity. The objectives of this idea include researching consumer needs, designing competitive clothing, and marketing body-positive value behind the male clothing line to the target audience.
This objective holds that Skims should research the industry of male fashion and home clothing to identify what the consumers expect so that the offer would meet the demand. Moreover, external research would demonstrate the trends in the male clothing industry and competitors’ offerings. The information obtained from such data collection and analysis will inform further design and marketing decisions. The plan to achieve this objective is as follows:
- Survey prospective customers to identify their needs and expectations from the brand;
- Identify and research competitors;
- Outline opportunities for filling the gap in the industry.
The second objective of implementing a new male clothing line by Skims is related to the designing and manufacturing of the clothes for men. In particular, the company’s operations should be based on the findings of the research and comply with the overall company philosophy on body positivity. When achieving this objective, the company should adhere to the following plan of action:
- Apply innovative technologies already available to the company to design comfortable loungewear for male bodies of different types;
- Launch a new production line to manufacture the pieces of clothing;
- Initiate a quality-assurance program to detect possible drawbacks in the design.
Finally, the third objective is to initiate a marketing strategy by Skims to promote the new line of products to the target audience. Given the organization’s successful performance in its prior marketing efforts, the integration of formerly used techniques is encouraged. In particular, the plan for this objective implementation includes the following steps:
- Create a compelling message to reach and engage male consumers;
- Launch an online campaign by posting advertisements on social media platforms;
- Initiate collaboration with other brands to raise awareness of the prospective customers’ of the new line;
- Use conventional media to post advertisements.
Promotional Idea 2: Launching of Male Shapewear Line
This promotional idea aims to expand the values of body shape diversity appreciation beyond the limits of the female community. Since the improvement of body image as a tool of empowerment in a consumerist society has been predominantly attributed to female figures, it is only natural that in the context of gender equality, males should have access to technology-assessed body-shaping clothing (Zanette and Scaraboto 185). Thus, the objectives of this idea include researching the needs of the target audience and the offers of competitors, designing, manufacturing, and marketing the new line of shapewear.
The first objective of the idea for launching a male shapewear line is to identify consumer expectations and needs. The plan for achieving this objective would include
- Conduct a survey with prospective consumers;
- Research competitors in the market of male shapewear;
- Identify the most accessible and cost-efficient ways to meet the identified needs.
The second objective implies developing a technology-based design of shapewear to accommodate different bodies of prospective male customers. To achieve this goal, the company should adhere to the plan:
- Launch a science-based project to identify the particularities of different male body shapes;
- Cooperate with designing entities to integrate the findings into a shapewear design
- Test and approve the design.
The third objective aims to produce the approved design of the line of male shapewear at a full scale. For that matter, the company should:
- collaborate with manufacturers;
- find cost-efficient suppliers of materials;
- produce a sufficient estimated amount of products ready for sale.
Finally, the fourth objective is aimed at marketing and selling the products to the target male consumers. In particular, Skims will:
- develop a strategy for marketing an appropriate set of products to the target population;
- integrate its body-positive ideas into the male social context;
- generate a compelling and strong advertising campaign;
- Employ targeted advertising using multiple media sources.
Promotional Idea 3: Facilitating Sustainable Policies
This idea is validated by the overall trend of shifting toward green production in the fashion industry. While Skims targets a diverse population of consumers, it should ensure that the brand addresses their values and beliefs concerning environmental protection (Gazzola et al. 2). For that matter, the objectives of this idea include launching a sustainable line of products and advocating for environmental protection in its public messages.
The first objective is to launch a clothing line based on a green approach to manufacturing. This approach implies minimal waste and pollution at all stages of production. The plan for this objective is as follows:
- Research opportunities for greed fashion manufacturing;
- Collaboration with sustainability-driven production companies;
- Produce and market sustainable clothing items.
The second objective is related to promoting environmental protection messages by the brand via its multiple channels of communication with its consumers. The company should adhere to the following steps to implement the plan:
- Promote sustainable consumption of clothing through advertising;
- Collaborate with influencers who advocate for environment-friendly consumption;
- Raise awareness about fast fashion through advertising and social media postings.
Promotional Idea 4: Global Break-and-Mortar Expansion
The final promotional idea is a far-reaching and long-term endeavor that requires international actor engagement. In particular, the rising relevance of in-store experience to the consumers whose purchasing activity is limited by the advancement of e-commerce triggers the need to meet the expectations of high-income consumers to visit physical stores (Alexander and Kent 1-2). Thus, the ultimate purpose of this idea is to expand the body of loyal consumers on a global scale by opening brick-and-mortar shops in foreign countries.
The first objective of this idea is the development of unique in-store experiences for the customers. The plan for achieving such a goal is as follows:
- Open new facilities through cooperation with available partners;
- Utilize franchising principles to maintain the branded culture in interior and service;
- Propose unique in-store experiences such as custom designs, technologically-assisted measuring, and others.
The second objective targets high-income customers due to their assumed likelihood of prioritizing in-store experience over online shopping. The achievement of this objective should adhere to the following execution plan:
- Implement an income-based segmentation of the market;
- Survey customer expectations regarding in-store experiences;
- Initiate an effective feedback platform to facilitate service quality assurance.
Skims is a growing and successful American fashion company specializing in body-positive women’s clothing. The overview of the company and the identification of its strengths and weaknesses have informed the creation of a set of promotional ideas for Skims. Firstly, it has been proposed that the company launch a new line of loungewear and comfortable clothing for males to address the needs of the male consumers appreciating the brand. Secondly, another promotional idea is related to the first one and specifically proposes designing and launching a line of shapewear for male body shapes. Thirdly, sustainable manufacturing and environmental programs were recommended to be integrated into Skims’ corporate responsibility profile for a more explicit appeal to environment-friendly consumers. Finally, globalization of brick-and-mortar shops was recommended to facilitate the customer base by offering unique in-store experiences. Implementing these ideas will benefit the organization in a long-term perspective by securing it a solid competitive position with loyal customers and a sustainable business strategy.
Alexander, Bethan, and Anthony Kent. “Change in Technology-Enabled Omnichannel Customer Experiences In-Store.” Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2020, pp. 1-11.
Gazzola, Patrizia, et al. “Trends in the Fashion Industry. The Perception of Sustainability and Circular Economy: A Gender/Generation Quantitative Approach.” Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 7, 2020, pp. 1-19.
Thorisdottir, Thorey S., and Lara Johannsdottir. “Corporate Social Responsibility Influencing Sustainability within the Fashion Industry. A Systematic Review.” Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 21, 2020, pp. 1-64.
Yola, Robert. “What Kim Kardashian West Got Right with Skims.” Forbes.
Zanette, Maria Carolina, and Daiane Scaraboto. “From the Corset to Spanx: Shapewear as a Marketplace Icon.” Consumption Markets & Culture, vol. 22, no. 2, 2019, pp. 183-199.