American Apparel is attempting a turnaround.
Delivering clothing through the app Postmates is a part of the equation, Cynthia Erland, the brand’s senior vice president of marketing, told Adweek in an interview.
“Obviously e-commerce continues to grow, and in the retail world we all know it’s really leading the pack. A key initiative on that front is that we’re working on improving our mobile experience this year, creating faster payment and order fulfillment,” Erland said. “We just launched this program with Postmates. It’s a soft launch in New York City and San Francisco where [couriers] pick up the products in store and deliver them in four to five hours instead of four to five days. We’re looking at creative ways to make the consumer experience much better.”
American Apparel isn’t the only California-based retailer to implement rapid delivery in New York City and San Francisco. Apparel startup Everlane has a service called “Everlane Now,” through which New York and San Francisco-based shoppers can receive select goods in an hour.
But while a revamped delivery system could make the retailer seem more cutting edge, is that enough to get people to shop there? After all, American Apparel has not had a net annual profit since 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported in January.
American Apparel has a troubled recent history.
The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, though in January, it was announced that a US Bankruptcy Court judged had approved a plan to reorganise, the Los Angeles Times reported. This meant that former CEO Dov Charney lost his final chance to take back his brand. He had presented a $300 million bid to buy back his business.
One reason the company initially faltered was that the company lost its suggestive edge. Though its overt promiscuity might had been subject to criticism, the company appeared to be without an identity when it scaled back on the sexiness.
“Big questions remain around both brand and product. On the former, it is still not clear what American Apparel is trying to change to. We know that the company is looking to be more ethical in its marketing, relying far less on the sexual overtones it has used in the past. However, as welcome as this may be, it does mean that a fresh viewpoint is needed in order to give the company a clear and cohesive brand image,” Neil Saunders, CEO of consulting firm Conlumino, wrote in a note in October.
It appears that American Apparel’s signature sexy edge is coming back, though.
“One thing a lot of people don’t know with all of the Dov [Charney] noise is that all of the creatives are still here, the people who really built the brand. So we’re totally keeping the DNA — the edgy, irreverent [tone] — but now it’s time to kick it up a notch with proper strategy and financial funding,” Erland said to Adweek.
“You know, marketing is fluid, everything evolves, and fashion has evolved over the past 10 years. It’s definitely going to be gritty, real, independent and revolutionary, with young artists. It may be sexual; it may not. It will be how they freely express themselves,” she said in the interview.
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