Assessing the Monsoon brand

Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, MarketingWeek.co.uk looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars.

Monsoon: Overall rating **

Brand***

Monsoon has until very recently been a very distinct brand. The brand’s ‘look’ was very clear in its target customers’ mind; slightly bohemian, very feminine and influenced by eastern textiles and fashion.

Lately Monsoon has attempted to become more fashion-orientated and youthful, using the faces of Liz Hurley and Sophie Dahl. This has resulted in consumers becoming slightly unclear about what Monsoon stands for and what its proposition is.

Experience***

If you shop by colour you will love Monsoon, with its products arranged within colour categories. However, the stores can sometimes appear cramped. Despite this they are well laid out and where possible, there is plenty of browsing space.

There are good sightlines throughout the store, pricing is clear and the stores are all well presented. Staff members were not really noticeable – no one likes being followed round but some sense of acknowledgement and manning of the changing rooms would not have gone amiss. Overall, it is an enjoyable shop to browse.

Product**

The introduction of the Fusion range (aimed at younger, more trendy female shoppers) is clearly demonstrated. However some of the designs were just not quite right; the catwalk inspired print dresses were in the wrong colours, the length of the shift dresses not always quite right and the range of wedding outfit dresses limited. Overall there was little breadth of range, with relatively few key colour ways. The children’s sections have a good range with plenty of choice. Monsoon seems to be lacking a consistent brand image – it is no longer clear who the target customer is and what the core style is.

Value Positioning**

Prices are relatively high for the perceived product quality. Particularly with the Fusion range, prices seemed significantly higher than elsewhere on the high street. A simple A-line dress costs £25 in Zara and £38 in Monsoon.

The same can be seen in other categories ? a silk wedding outfit dress for £135 with a near identical style in Coast for £115. Many of Monsoon?s products are distinctly unique and can therefore warrant a slightly higher price tag. However, for the Fusion range there is less apparent product differentiation, resulting in perceived higher prices. The children’s clothes pricing is also high for the quality of the products.

Recommendations

1. Examine the Monsoon brand values and identify and evaluate any shifts that have taken place.

2. Consider lighting – stores can be dark which gives the impression of limited space.

3. Encourage greater staff / client interaction – this could increase conversion rates as well as ATVs by encouraging outfit shopping as opposed to single item purchases.

4. Develop a distinct look for Monsoon Fusion which is closely aligned with the inherent Monsoon brand values.

www.pragmauk.com

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