What Happened to Forever 21? 10 Marketing Lessons
What Happened to Forever 21? 10 Marketing Lessons
The popularity of the fast-fashion retailer, Forever 21, was so much so that it was almost synonymous with America’s shopping malls, as explained over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. Therefore, when the company filed for bankruptcy last year, it was always going to lead to questions as to where it all went wrong for them and what lessons we can take from them, which is what this article will attempt to do.
Whenever the topic of the collapse of Forever 21 is brought up, one thing experts agree on, including those over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, is the fact that its overambitious international expansion was one of the main reasons behind its collapse. This only served to rocket costs, particularly those due to rent, without really providing an up-side in sales and increased revenue. This is a lesson we should learn from them, showing the importance of being prudent and careful when looking to expand.
Forever 21 has also had to grapple with a slew of lawsuits over the past 20 years, mostly from designers, as discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, accusing the company of intellectual-property theft. This has not only proved damaging to its reputation over the years, but it has also proved to be quite costly as it has had to settle most of these cases. The lesson we can take from this is the importance of staying out of legal trouble, as it will cost you more than just money.
The leadership of Forever 21 by the Chang family has also been called into question and is yet another thing that has been attributed to what happened to them. Insiders reveal that the Chang family created a culture where authority rested solely on their hands, discouraging teamwork, and accountability. Decisions were made at the top, and couldn’t be questioned, which means that mistakes couldn’t be corrected. A lesson we can take from this is the importance of good leadership and fostering teamwork and accountability.
Its business model
Industry experts, including the highly-rated ones over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, also point out that Forever 21’s business model was all wrong. The company was looking to move into the department store sector at a time when department stores were failing left, right, and center. The company’s voracious appetite for space cost the company big time and is yet another lesson we can learn, showing the importance of ensuring your business model is relevant to the current times.
Declining mall foot-traffic
The company’s business was also closely linked to the fortune of malls, with most of its stores located in malls, and when mall foot-traffic began to decline, so did the company’s business. As is discussed in detail over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, over the last couple of years, the popularity of malls has dwindled, and this has affected businesses whose stores were mostly found in malls, such as Forever 21.
Bad-faith practices with suppliers
The company also didn’t have a good relationship with suppliers, yet another reason that may have contributed to its decline and yet another lesson to take. According to discussions over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, there were lots of cases where the company would hold back payments for orders received among other bad-faith practices that fostered bad blood with suppliers, creating supply bottlenecks that eventually caused the company dearly.
A lack of merchandising strategy
In what is another example of bad leadership by the Chang family, as mentioned above, the company had very poor merchandising strategies. As covered over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, the company didn’t adjust merchandising strategies based on circumstances, which led to a situation where the company would order coats for all of its stores, even though it was winter for stores in one part of the world, but summer for others in a different location. The company also didn’t make allowances for cultural differences, ordering clothes that were too revealing for the Middle East market among other such mistakes on merchandising.
In recent times, Forever 21 has faced increased pressure from online-only companies such as Fashion Nova, and like many brick-and-mortar companies, the growth of online retail has contributed to its decline, a topic tackled in detail over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. The company has been unable to compete with online stores that offer the same products at cheaper prices, a threat many brick-and-mortar stores have had to grapple with in recent times.
The waning of the fast-fashion industry
Yet another reason behind the company’s decline is the fact that, as time went by, fast-fashion began to wane, something that was the backbone of its success. As per the gurus over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, fewer and fewer people want to buy disposable clothing, mostly because the quality is too low, and people want to buy clothes that will serve them longer and that have better quality in terms of fabric.
Fashion became more environmentally friendly
One of the reasons behind the decline of fast-fashion, and therefore the decline of Forever 21, is the fact that fashion companies are now more environmentally friendly, mostly due to consumers being more aware of the costs of environmental damage. The disposable apparels that are the backbone of fast-fashion are therefore considered to be too damaging to the environment. Fashion 21 should have reacted and begun producing an eco-friendlier line, but they didn’t and most of their customers left.