The store that’s a nightclub – breaking codes

Call it what you want, "Blue Ocean Strategy", Disruption (BDDP’s thang), or more simply, differentiation. In today’s busy brandscape, being brave enough to break codes and stand out pays off.

I experienced this last week during a morning of shopping heaven in New York, when I visited the flagship store of Abercrombie & Fitch on 5th Avenue. It blew my mind. I blew quite a bit of cash. I went back to take photos.


Its like no other clothing store I’ve seen:
Clothing store codes                                         Abercrombie & Fitch
Enter and see clothes                        —–>       Get your photo with a model
Glass windows, clothes on show         —–>       Shutters: what’s in there?!
Bright lighting inside                         —–>       Dim lighting
Music as background                          —–>       As loud as a nightclub
Staff to help you                                —–>      Staff as models

The last point, staff as models, is literal, as I found out from their website. The sexy, six-pack hunks and gorgeous girls in their ad campaigns are cast from store associates. Eye candy example below:


And its not just show and image/sizzle. The clothes themselves seem well made, using good fabrics and nice design details (buttons, stiching, motifs etc.). The company describe it as "authentic, vintage-inspired sportswear, with sexy effortless style". And not too expensive either, so good value for money.

Does it work? Well, on both days I went people were queueing to: i) get in, ii) try stuff on, iii) pay. A bit more robust data on the company’s performance from Seeking Alpha : 55+ consecutive quarters of earnings per share growth and 5+ years of 25%+ Return on Equity.

Another examples which seems to show that it does pay to be different.