This is my first pass through a seasonal release, or at least my first pass knowing what is going on around me; during the initial pass in December/January I was Bambi-grade naive about the whole process.
Today I was browsing again in Giorgio Armani Munich, where the attendant ladies now recognize me, and I spotted immediately the new pieces that had not been there even a week ago. Naturally I selected some new garments, one of them a pair of trousers that remined me of the wonderful “gliding drape” shot earlier in the blog, the one of Bellucci, Bruni and Christensen striding gracefully toward the camera. Naturally the VIP discount kicks in, even on the brand new stuff, saving about $100.
This gradual release of a new collection got me thinking about the seasonal process at a Giorgio Armani boutique. Clearly these clever guys do not just drop all the new season’s clothes into the shops in one awe-inspiring delivery. Rather, they phase, stagger the release of clothes so that there is always a reason for regular customers – addicts – to check in again during the entire season. They tease you, letting you know something new is happening or coming soon, or that some event is planned for shortly in the future, giving you a reason to return and shop.
This is very intelligent strategy. By aligning product release with customer cashflow, Giorgio Armani can smooth their sales profile across the months, and I start to see the careful thinking that goes into running a brand like Giorgio Armani. I realize too that I am in a position to be able to chart the changes in Giorgio Armani marketing strategy week-by-week, plotting waves of seasonal releases, the discount policy ebb and flow, and the alignment with significant events like the big shows.
This is something I may well try to chart in a while. But already the broad strokes of how this business operates are becoming quite clear, and once you see the skeleton of their strategy it does have it’s own internal shape and elegance. It is a marketing machine, certainly, but there is a subtlety to it, and if you weren’t watching you would not notice what is happening.