As I've mentioned before, I work at Old Navy. I've got to give the brand some credit for its efforts to stay a step ahead of its competitors in this economy.
Even in tough times, there are some things people cannot- or will not- go without. Luckily for Old Navy, one of these things is clothing. That is not to say that the brand hasn't seen its share of stress. Kohls, Target and JCPenny have all surfaced as strong competitors in the market for affordable fashion, and all of these brands are fighting to maintain their piece of the shrinking pie.
Here are some clever marketing techniques Old Navy is using to try ensure that people are spending what budget they have for clothes and accessories in their store:
- "One Day Wonder" sales that feature jaw-dropping prices on popular merchandise. The first of these was on May 23 and was a promotion for $1 flip flops. Last Saturday was $3 graphic tees. There have been hints that more of these sales are coming in the future, although the items and the prices have not yet been named. These sales help drive traffic into the store and, even if consumers do not end up buying much more than the door buster, raise awareness about the store's other products and sales. They also help raise awareness about the brand through word-of-mouth as people tell their friends and family members about these great sales.
- Beach passes: during the month of May the company distributed cards that would get stamped each time a customer bought an item for the beach, like a swim suit or a pair of flip flops. Filled cards could then be redeemed for 40% off of one item. This promotion helped to keep people coming back to the store and, in turn, rewarded them for doing so.
- The company had a buy-one-get-one free sale on its famous $5 flag tees Memorial Day weekend. This helps emphasize the values the company is known for, and also puts popular fashion within reach of virtually everyone. It is also clever to tie the sale with a holiday.
- Upcoming men's sale: June 7-21, all men's "stuff" (the term the company uses on its marketing materials) will be 50% off. There will also be a free gift giveaway with the purchase of men's denim in the spirit of Father's Day (while supplies last).
- New "Yay for Tuesday" promotion: Old Navy cardholders get 10% off their Old Navy card purchases on Tuesdays now through August. Non-cardholders will have the opportunity to get 10% off on Tuesdays as well (details pending). These promotions reward loyal customers while also building loyalty among non-cardholders. They also serve as a sort of "thank you" for shopping at Old Navy.
- New line of advertisements featuring the "super modelquins," a tacky and corny set of ads that treats mannequins as if they were celebrities in a dramatic reality series. These ads help catch consumers' attention and at the very least help keep Old Navy memorable in the back of their minds. It also represents a return to the fun, quirky advertising that had worked for the company in the past.
- Going back to the basics: Old Navy is returning to the old values for which it has always been known. The company is going back to cheerful greetings, a retro mix of music and mesh shopping bags. It has also redesigned its new employee orientation and re-trained existing employees to emphasize a focus on the customer. These efforts help associates assist the company in repositioning the brand and its image.
- Though it had been trying an edgier angle for a few years, the company has also returned to its core of offering affordable, reliable fashion for the whole family. This represents the company's choice to do today what it knows has worked in the past. It also represents a choice to sell the types of goods that people are looking for- and can afford- in today's economic times.
Although only time will tell how effective efforts like these are- or if they are enough in these tough economic times- the company seems to be doing the right things as far as thinking outside of the box with their marketing to stay ahead of the curve.
Have you noticed the changes at Old Navy? Do you think they are effective? Do you think they could be doing more? Do you see other stores making such an effort?