Fast-Fashion Brands And Their Business Strategies

Unveiling the Tactics: Analysing the Business Strategies Employed by Fast-Fashion Brands


30 May, 2023

Table of contents

Maintaining a Fast Strategy in the Fast-Fashion Market

It is imperative for a mass-market, or as we better know them, the ‘fast-fashion’ brands, to maintain a “fast strategy” to keep the attention of the consumer and to create diversity amongst the other retail structures.

As far as the strategic distribution process goes, mass-market brands typically prefer to sell through monobrand structures, however, not all mass-market brands can afford that or would like to stick to only one point of selling. Hence, come in the picture the multi-brand/department stores. As stated in, Getting The Luxury Fashion Business Model Right, by Pierre Mallevays, “A brand benefits from increased awareness, more prestige, and a stronger, more complete image as a result of its own retail presentation.”

Customer Service and Precise Supply Chain

One of the brands that is dominating the fast-fashion market of today is Zara whose high brand image and powerful establishment can’t be questioned. A majority of mass-market brands are often looked at with negativity and can be known at times for their “self service” environment. Zara prides itself on exceptional customer service, quality and a precise supply chain set-up encompassing their retail structure. The brand has mastered fast-fashion by churning out new collections almost every week.

One powerful advantage of Zara is the control that they maintain over their brand, as stated on Unique Business Strategies, by Andrew Pearson, “Ninety percent of Zara stores are company-owned; the rest are franchises or joint ventures.”

The Impact of Brand Control

Let’s go toward an example of United Colors of Benetton that allowed the franchiser full control on the store space, which ultimately caused degradation to the brand’s image. Benetton faced a serious rebranding issue for its merchandising, marketing, staff training, and overall store aesthetics and environment. All of this was totally misaligned with the brand’s mission, vision and values. The brand’s reputation went down, and the positioning of the brand was shaken; the positioning that has now been stirred, rejuvenated and realigned without a tight control.

For other fast-fashion brands such as Forever 21, Bershka, Pull&Bear and such, you may even struggle to find someone to direct you to the fitting room, let alone even be there at the cash-counter. Typically, there is no one to help, no one to ask questions, entering into an unwelcoming environment. However, many of these brands have still succeeded with strategic moves such as the establishment of “impulse buying.” H&M plays on this strong concept, rather well. It has items from umbrellas to socks, notepads or jewellery, just waiting for that customer to grab one more item while waiting and before proceeding finally to swipe their credit card (don’t worry, we are all the victims of this scheme).

Balancing Efficiency and Customer Experience

To survive as a fast fashion brand, it is compulsory for each retail brand to diversify and to outplay the aggressive competition. Forever 21 established a strategic and resilient business model. They kept a very tight return policy that ensures any returns, even gift returns, are exchanged in the store, for a strict store credit and in addition, will only be achieved within 21 days of the purchase. Forever 21 also shares the “impulse buying” strategy, which includes a mix of accessories, including hair, jewellery, key chains and sunglasses directly next to the counter.

Diversification and Resilience

The brands offer a complete merchandising mix that encompasses any type of style, for any type of shopper, and maintains a large diverse customer base. The buying process is strategically developed to have each store order strictly in small batches of each garment, each item, which forces shoppers to buy at that moment, with urgency, before the item is gone. Quick turnaround leaves the consumer without time to contemplate, just make it and make it fast.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

Every Fast-Fashion brand must continue to stay ahead of the game, stay ahead of the competitor and stay alive in the world of fast fashion/high street fashion. Through innovation, clever cost saving, time efficient strategies and by mastering the craft of supply chain. Mass merchandisers maintain an active availability of new merchandise between seasons, “a flash strategy,” stealing the competitive advantage of the latest trends, and continuing to stay on top of the competition. A business strategy of which is so foreign to any luxury and high street fashion brand, is now the ordinary to survive; in the at-times, gruesome and gruelling fast fashion world.