Cotton On Breaks the Traditional Sales Rules of Fast Fashion: Have you ever bought a pair of flip-flops slippers from a vending machine?

ihad my holiday recently in Gold Coast, which is the city hosting some of the most popular surf beaches in the continent and the world including. And also, it is the location where Billabong, the surf brand known worldwide, was born almost eighty years ago.

Because of this reason, I put going to shopping a Billabong store at the top of my to do list. Believe me, I am not exaggerating, to see a store belongs to Billabong at each corner in the city is quite normal while wandering through the streets. But to see numerous stores of this brand was not the thing surprised me. But I got really amazed when I met the extraordinary sale and marketing method used by Cotton On.

Actually, Cotton On is another retail company which was born and grown up in Aussie territorial fashion market before having a global identity, like Billabong brand which carries the spirit of surfing on its shoulders. The founder of Cotton On, Nigel Austin, began his business journey by selling acid-wash denim jackets in the boot of his car, when he was a university student. In a short while, those jackets got the popularity, and Nigel could gain cash to carry his business to a professional level. Then in 1991 he cut the ribbon of his first store in Geelong*, named Cotton On.

And today, Cotton On Group plays a prominent role as being a fast-paced retail company in the fashion ecosystem, operates over 1,300 stores in 17 countries, and employs more than 19,000 people. The flagship brand of COG is Cotton On, but it also owns Cotton On Kids, Cotton On Body, Rubi, factorie, Typo, and supré. All those brands make easier to access different age group clients, and at the same time to feed their customers by a wide variety of products, such as clothing, shoes, accessories, undies, home wares, gifts, and stationary products.

It is possible to get more information from its official web page about the history of COG and its targets for the future as well as shopping online. For me, the most interesting one of its targets is this: Global Footprints. Let me explain why I found it so interesting.


untitledOne of COG’s targets is Global Footprints.”


Let’s decipher this picture with that motto in a very simple way: You might purchase one pair of flip-flops, so called thongs in Australia, with a reasonable price from the vending machine located in Cavill Avenue just before heading to iconic Surfers Paradise of Gold Coast, and you might leave the footprints of that brand while walking on the beach.

And consider that as well; this location is welcoming many international tourists, so that as being a foreigner, you might contribute a little to globalize the brand’s footprints when you arrive your own place. Perhaps they did not think in this way while choosing their slogan and placing the machine there. But this might be the other side of the coin.

On the other hand, I could say that marking footprints is so much important for the COG, as well. That is why this target is supported by a continuous sale technique. Furthermore, driving the opportunities offered by technology brings in the Group a distinctive identity different than its many rivals. And definitely it must be accepted that trying to satisfy clients’ needs by using a vending machine is a technique of sale which fits very well to the name of fast-fashion.

Of course, if you bought a pair of flip-flops from a that kind of machine before, this situation may not make you surprised as much as me. But I haven’t done this before, and I saw that vending machine at the time I really needed it.

To be honest, I am used to live in a country where shopping malls are open until 10:00 pm. Moreover, in summer villages, lots of stores are open after midnight, as well.

That is why it is really hard for people like me to guess stores might end their service very early. For instance, in Australia it is quite impossible to find a store for shopping after 5-6 pm- including shopping malls. Therefore, if you don’t have your flip-flops to stroll along the beach, and all those stores are closed, that vending machine may save your sport shoes to become dirty by the golden sand of Surfers Paradise Beach.

I certainly agree that the pleasure of shopping in a store, spending time in shopping malls, and trying on different products is priceless. However, feeling the difference of shopping from a vending machine is something quite different than the way that I am used to. In my opinion, this is exactly the fast-fashion.

It is a curiosity of coming days whether the other ready-to-wear companies will use this technique in different ways or not. But considering that the clients draw the road-maps of companies; if we, the customers, request it, why not they put it into action?

Imagine… You are having a holiday in Melbourne and staying at a hotel in CBD. One day you travel to St. Kilda Beach by tram and while settling in for your beach day you discover you have forgotten your beach towel at the hotel.

Unwillingly you would decide going to the hotel. But at that moment would not it be nice to see a beach towel vending machine just over there?


Resources:
Cotton On Group Official Webpage
Cotton On: The inside story of the retailer’s rise to $1.5b in revenue


* Geelong is a port city in southeast Australia, and it’s the second largest city in Victoria State as well.


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