July 27, 2016
Skechers PR Problem Has Lagging Sales
There was a time when Skechers were all the rage. The brand hit the American consumer scene in a big way, back when Airwalk “skate” shoes were the fashion choice of anyone not wearing Air Jordans.
The scene was ripe for competition. Enter Vans, a nearly identical brand to Airwalk, the pair creating sort of a Coke-Pepsi rivalry. But there was room in the market for a new brand, similar to the skate craze, but more of a fashion sensitive shoe. Something “cool” and “edgy” but fashionable enough for more cliques in the teen scene. Enter Skechers. The ultra thick soles and a wide range of uppers grabbed huge numbers of teens and college kids’ attention.
Then, slowly at first, Skechers peeled more and more of both the “skater” and “basketball shoe” crowd, eventually becoming one of the top brands on the market. But that heyday was a lot of years ago. Countless fashion fads have come and gone in that time, and these days are not quite as bright for Skechers. Recently, a massive selloff sent Skechers’ stock tumbling by a whopping 24 percent.
The problem, on paper, is sales. But, in reality, the problem is a combination of cyclical style and the fact that Skechers has lost some of the uniqueness that made it different and edgy. Now, consumers don’t immediately know they’re looking at Skechers, and in the Notice Me world of teen fashion. That’s not a good place to be.
How bad is it for Skechers? Well, the stock has lost roughly half its value in the past year. The company is blaming “market challenges” that forced heavy advertising and promotional deals. In other words, they had to convince customers to buy rather than customers rushing out for their brand.
That’s the death knell in the sneaker scene.
With any teen-centric fashion trend, continued success must be bolstered by the enthusiasm of the market for your product. If the kids don’t want it, and you try to sell it to them, good luck. Teens don’t exactly love being told what to do and what to buy. But if they WANT it, there’s no force in the world that will keep them from getting it.
The job, then, for Skechers is not to complain about market challenges … they just need to figure out a way to connect with today’s kids the way they did with their parents.