Course: MSc Global Business Management

Forever 21 is a fast fashion retailer multinational company that deals with clothes, accessories, beauty products, home goods and footwear. The current headquarter is in Los Angeles, California, United States. It is a private company which was founded on April 16th, 1984, by Do Won Chang and Jin Sook Chang. The store was originally operated as Fashion 21 in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Now the company's parent belongs to Authentic Brands Group, Brookfield Properties and Simon Property Group. Winnie Park is the current CEO of Forever 21With its increasing popularity among its audiences, the fast fashion trend company, Forever 21's assessment of the launch of zero-waste sustainable clothes in the United Kingdom market follows in this report.

Unit - Strategic Marketing

Question: A report on the design of a marketing strategy and implementation plan for a new or improved product or a service of your choice underpinned by academic and professional literature.

Product Description

Many forward-looking MNCs, regardless of the nature of the operation, have opted for sustainability. Especially post-pandemic, sustainable development practices are the key focus of every visionary company, including Forever 21 (Langley and Rieple, 2021). The company has initiated a big response to the urgent call for sustainability. Forever 21 has launched sustainable clothing in the United Kingdom, but it does not yet make zero-waste clothing, which will be one of the biggest competitive advantages for the company in the current global conditions.

The current need and want of many customers, suppliers and investors who are seeking measures to contribute towards a sustainable future; this desire has been smartly evaluated by Forever 21 as an opportunity and launched zero-waste sustainable clothing in the market. Apart from consumer satisfaction, it also provides a sense of fulfilment of social responsibility. The additional value of the new product by the company offers various benefits not just to its potential customers but also to the company itself, including its stakeholders (Kahupi et al., 2021). These sustainable fashion clothes are trendy as well as economical, affordable and recyclable. Compared to other clothing, which is dyed in chemicals and potentially causes health issues like rashes, skin irritations and allergies, these sustainable clothing are made out of natural materials and do not pose any threat to health. Moreover, the new launch by Forever 21 offers participation to its potential audiences towards awareness of sustainability that no other product provides (Langley and Rieple, 2021).

Market Analysis

Key Market Trends of the Sustainable clothing market in the UK

The UK market is one of the major choices of every marketer to launch their products or expand their business there. The fashion industry has been changing from time to time. In developed countries like the UK, the concern for the environment has been increasing day by day due to the rise of pollution and climate change issues (Fahy and Jobber, 2019). Due to this reason, there is a huge demand for sustainable fashion products in the UK market. According to sustainable fashion statistics, the demand for sustainable fashion products is higher among men rather than women. It is observed that about 53 per cent of men purchase fashion products from sustainable brands, while the percentage of women buying sustainable fashion products is 47 per cent (Fahy and Jobber, 2019). Due to the continuous rising awareness of environmental issues among UK consumers, the market growth for sustainable fashion products is increasing. According to sustainable fashion data, it has been observed that nearly 39 per cent of consumers in the UK assume that sustainable fashion products have a huge importance in the present time (Peters, Li, and Lenzen, 2021).

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Key competitors in the UK market

A huge competition has been observed among fashion retailers in the UK. There are several fashion retail competitors who not only manufacture and operate their business in the UK but also operate their business across the world. The most popular fashion brands in the UK are Clarks,

Adidas, Levi's, Next, Nike, Primark, Reebok, Dr Martens, Puma, New Look and many more. In comparison, Clarks has the most popular among all brands. Near about 72 per cent of people provides positive opinions about the brand Next (Ahmad et al., 2020). After Clarks, Adidas has the most popular among customers in the UK. Due to the repositioning strategy, Clarks has generated huge profits in the last year. The company reported an operating profit of 61.7 million pounds in the year 2022 (Prasanna et al., 2019).
Current customer attitudes/behaviours in this market

The purchasing pattern, behaviour, and attitudes of every customer are not the same. It is a variable factor which changes from time to time. In order to launch sustainable products in the new market, it is important to understand the customer behaviour, purchasing pattern and preferences of the new market where they want to operate their business. The figure above shows the textile waste in the UK and the rising demand for zero-waste fashion in the UK market. Forever 21 can closely analyse the buying patterns of the customers by following the customer behaviour theory. Customer behaviour theory focuses on the analysis of a customer's decision while purchasing any product (Zephaniah, Ogba, and Izogo, 2020). This theory helps the organisation to find the factors which influence the customer's decisions to purchase any products. The number of premium customers is high in the UK market. So most customers prefer to purchase quality products from premium brands. It has been observed that women are likely to purchase more sustainable fashion products than men. Moreover, zero-waste products are observed to rise in the fashion market due to the rise of their demands globally. According to the consumer behaviour report, it is also found that near about 65 per cent of customers in the UK are considered loyal shoppers (Atherton, 2019). The company can gain extensive competitive advantage and attain support from consumers with the launch of zero-waste products in the fashion sector. The current goodwill of the company has been jeopardised due to the lack of sustainable development of the company, which will be helped through the launch of zero-waste fashion products in the UK market.

Main issues or opportunities for Forever 21 while launching Zero Waste clothing in the UK Before the pandemic, the sustainable fashion industry has been growing rapidly. However, the rapid growth has been interrupted due to the negative effects of the pandemic. The sales of sustainable fashion products have decreased at a significant rate (Andoni et al., 2019). However, the pandemic brings a new opportunity for fashion brands. Previously most of the customers preferred to purchase the products from retail stores. So fashion brands have to depend on their store sales. However, after the pandemic, several customers have started to buy sustainable fashion products through online shopping (Singh et al., 2019). So Forever 21 may use this opportunity properly to increase the online sales of zero-waste fashion products. There are already huge competitors who offer sustainable fashion products to their customers. They have already built brand value and reputation in the market of UK. So Forever 21 must have to provide enough effort into their product quality and business strategy to attract the attention of the customers of the UK. However, the UK market is considered a business hub. It provides the opportunity for every organisation to expand their business. Forever 21 can also expand its business in the UK market by implementing a proper business strategy in alignment with the needs of the consumers.

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning

Market Segmentation of Forever 21 in the UK market in case they launch Zero Waste Sustainable Clothing

The UK market is considered a key market for every business. In order to launch sustainable zero-waste clothing products in the UK market, Forever 21 first has to understand the customer behaviour and purchasing preference and then needs to satisfy the customer needs. Any company will not be able to fulfil the needs, demands and requirements of all the customers at the same time. Due to this reason, market segmentation plays a significant role in satisfying customer needs (Mothersbaugh et al., 2020). In case Forever 21 wants to launch sustainable clothing products in the UK market, then they divide the UK market into three segments which are the behavioural segment, geo-demographic segment and psychographic segment.

Behavioural market segmentation will help the company to divide the market according to the behaviour of customers (Mothersbaugh et al., 2020). As the company will know the behaviour of most of the customers in this market segment, they will easily be able to meet the satisfaction of the customers by offering quality fashion products according to the needs of the customers in this market segment. Geo-demographic segmentation allows the company to divide the market according to the geographic area or region basis and based on the demographic profile of customers, such as age, gender, income level, occupation, nationality, and education (Stevenson, Mues, and Bravo, 2022). Dividing the market based on the geographic area allows the company to become more specific in targeting the market. They can start their business in such a location where the survival rate is high. The most popular places for starting a business in the UK are London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff, and Liverpool. According to psychographic segmentation theory, Forever 21 can also divide the UK market based on the mental and emotional attributes of the customers. These attributes include the attitude, personality traits, values, interests and lifestyles of the customers (Nadanyiova, Gajanova, and Majerova, 2020). By analysing these attributes of the customers, the company will be able to get valuable insights into the customer's motives, needs and preferences and can easily design the products which are most related to this segment.

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Profile and persona of the UK target market

After market segmentation, the company can use the mass targeting strategy to get a competitive advantage in the fashion industry. Forever 21 is well known for providing unique features and offerings in its products. So it can easily target the market and the customer groups by offering them the best quality and unique fashion products. Forever 21 has been operating its business for a long time and manufactures a wide range of fashion products for all categories of men and women. It manufactures clothing products for all age groups, from kids to adults (Ryan, 2020). Though it offers its products to all categories of customers, the main target customers of Forever 21 are the young and middle age generation who prefer to live a stylish and comfortable life. The age group ranges from 18 to 45 (Osipova et al., 2022). Apart from clothing products, it also manufactures the footwear products such as boots, sandals, loafers, heels and so on, which has huge target audiences in the UK market. They design all their products in such a way that they can fulfil the needs and requirements of all the target customers.

Product Positioning

In order to survive in the new market and get competitive advantages, the company needs to position itself by maintaining a value-based positioning strategy. Forever 21 can position itself by offering stylish, trendy and quality fashion products to customers at an affordable price. It is also important to promote their products in the new market so that they can reach all the potential customers and maximise the brand presence in the new market. One of the most effective ways to explore the brand and product positioning is to focus on the two major factors of the competitors, which include price and fashionability (Iglesias and Ind, 2020). Forever 21 can make it's brand or product positioning strong by offering its products from low prices to high prices. The large product portfolio and the sustainable fashion products also help the company to position itself in the UK market. It can also make their brand positioning stronger by adding USP to their business. A unique Selling Proposition will help the company to become different from the other brands through which they can get extra competitive advantages in the new market (Kompella, 2019). They need to be unique because the fashion industry is a design-driven business.

Recommended Marketing Mix Product

Forever 21 has been operating for many years, offering a wide range of custom, fast, paced products in all categories for men and women. One of the reasons behind the brand's strong position in its line of business is its product strategy (Venaik and Midgley, 2019). The product strategy of Forever 21 is pretty straightforward. It offers various options of trendy ultra-fast fashion articles of clothing, footwear and accessories at a low price to gather as many customers as possible and build strong customer support. This commencement of differentiated products in the market might benefit the company in generating desired revenue pre-pandemic. However, the market environment and consumers' tastes and preferences have shifted a lot from impulsive buying to sustainable purchasing (Adams, Freitas and Fontana 2019). This divergence should be acknowledged by Forever 21 and turn into an opportunity which is exactly reflected by the new launch of zero-waste sustainable clothing in the UK market. Sustainable zero-waste clothing options should highlight designs that are unique and, at the same time, comfortable, targeting audiences of all ages and gender. This can help the company to attract potential customers and increase sales volume (Venaik and Midgley, 2019).

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Pricing Strategy

The company has been operating its pricing strategy on the basis of strategic pricing techniques. It offers great pricing deals as per the demand for fashion goods. Forever 21 has been able to generate great responses from its target audiences, along with an increase in brand valuation across the globe. Premium pricing improves the perception of the company and adds to the brand value (Dash, Kiefer and Paul 2021). Not only does it help in creating a high-quality reputation for the product, but it also yields a higher profit margin. Setting high prices for trendy sustainable articles of clothing in the UK market puts an entry barrier for new entrants. Taking advantage of this opportunity creates competitiveness, ensuring hurdles for other companies to compete with the sustained product from Forever 21, leading to the rapid establishment of product authenticity. Applying a premium pricing strategy allows the company to increase its market share in its line of business (Chou et al., 2020). The company can use this pricing strategy as zero- waste sustainable clothing manufacturing can be expensive. The suppliers are observed to be limited. Moreover, the premium pricing adds to the value of the product with respect to consumer perception in the UK market.

Promotional Strategy, including Digital Media

Forever 21 has successfully entrenched a strong online presence. In order to guarantee the success of its new launch of sustainable clothing in the UK market, the company can take advantage of its social media presence. It benefits the company by improving customer engagement and relations with all prospects. Apart from its traditional advertisement tools like magazines, appointing celebrity brand ambassadors, ads on digital platforms and so on, the company can implement content marketing, social media marketing, referral marketing, event sponsoring, influencer marketing and email marketing (Goworek et al., 2020). These new marketing tools will increase the brands' mass coverage depending on the capitalisation of their own market share. Especially post-pandemic, the nature of the market has shifted from physically stored-based marketing to digital media. As the number of internet users had a growth surge, Forever 21 should base its promotion of sustainable clothing on creative ads and taglines that highlight good brand messages. Bloggers and content creators on digital platforms like Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc., can be hired. The advertisement should be in the latest popular meme or short video format in such a way that it generates referrals (Katsikeas, Leonidou and Zeriti, 2019).

Channel or Distribution Strategy

The company already has a networking channel for the distribution of its product and services across the globe. Particularly in the United Kingdom, the original distribution network that includes suppliers, vendors and franchise owners reflects a strong supply chain. However, the company can add exclusive discounts from the purchase of Forever 21 products from the company-owned apps and website (Katsikeas, Leonidou and Zeriti, 2019). It should maintain open communication with the retailer and focus on a diverse market. In order to attract as many customers as possible, the company can implement an intensive distribution strategy. This strategy makes their brand apparel available extensively across the UK. This easy accessibility of products with consumer footfall will ensure good sales volume. The fashion company will also be able to ensure a steady supply chain, effective retail distribution and proper storage (Gazzola et al., 2020).

People, Process and Physical Evidence

It is essential that people who represent the brand or deal with consumers' quarries, including the non-human chatbot, are adequately trained into sales professionals with proper knowledge of the goods and services and the ways these goods are benefiting the consumers. Therefore, Forever 21 should hire professionals or train their exciting employees in a manner that sufficiently represents the new line of sustainable clothing.

The process of delivery to the customers should be based on maximum regulation and responsibility. Since they are launching sustainable items as their product in the UK market, the company should ensure that the process is eco-friendly or viable focused (Dash, Kiefer and Paul 2021).

Forever 21 should incorporate aspects that prove the brand's existence and that the process of purchase took place with their customers. They should ensure the packaging, the physical design of the product, the layout of the premises and the company website in such a way that it represents their motive of business which is sustainability. The company should make sure that the tangible cues of the quality of customers' experience should provide the highest level of satisfaction to their customers. The service should be forced pre-purchase but also post- purchase; this ensures repeated purchases and attracts new customers via referral (Ahmad et al.,2020).

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Issues relating to coordination with other departments

It is essential for every organisation to facilitate smooth coordination internally as well as externally. While coordinating within a team does not generate as many issues as it does coordinate with other departments. It is inevitable for conflicts to arise when two new departments work together (Tee, Davies and Whyte, 2019). However, it is important for leaders to improve coordination among themselves because it reduces indifferences and potential conflicts and minimises delays by reducing the wastage of time and energy. In order to mitigate risks of conflict and facilitate coordination, Forever 21 should encourage seamless communication with honesty and transparency starting from the top hierarchy since the employees follow their leaders. The company can also develop a reliable communication network where the identification of any disagreement is accompanied by prompt action to solve it for effective coordination. Continuous positive feedback should flow between departments to avoid miscommunication and build good work relations (Kaminski et al., 2020).

Internal Marketing
Internal marketing can be considered an efficient method to uplift the work environment, company culture and services within an organisation, which leads to an increase in overall productivity. This can be achieved by effectively solving internal issues related to employees. The accompanying leaders should provide adequate training, product knowledge, clear job descriptions, directions and positive feedback to the employees. They can also frequently educate employees regarding their individual and organisational long-term goals. Moreover, the company should consider employees' ideas and thoughts during decision-making, welcome open feedback and allow grievances to be heard and accept criticism without retribution (Huang, 2020).

Resource and capabilities required to implement chosen marketing strategy
Since the company's operation has added a different brand that markets sustainable clothing instead of traditional fast fashion clothes, Forever 21 requires various resources and capabilities to implement a market strategy that results in the desired outcome. Firstly the company requires professionals and their innovative ideas to design and estimate the budget, human capitals requirement and appropriate suppliers of sustainable materials. Thereafter marketing should be in such a way that it gives the correct message of how the company supports the notion of sustainability for a better future. Existing employees should be provided with training for the new process of operation (Katsikeas, Leonidou and Zeriti 2019).

Forever 21 has successfully established itself as one of the prominent multinational companies in the fashion industry. The company's popularity has been increasing among youngsters because of its fashionable trendy products and its effective pricing that allows accessibility to a major class of people. However, the change in the current market environment (post-pandemic) and the adoption of sustainability measures by many of its competitors calls for an urgent need for the company to focus on innovation with authenticity. This gap between the market need and output supplied by Forever 21 can be filled by the introduction of zero-waste sustainable clothing in the UK market and eventually expanding this opportunity towards major market hubs such as Asian, EU and American markets.

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