To: Dave Dyler
Subject: Land’s End Custom Tailoring
Custom tailoring is something that is widely thought of as being expensive and only for the wealthy. That being said, it is difficult to find pieces off the shelf that fit everyone. Shoppers will shop where they get the best fit, and if that does not happen at Land’s End, customers will be lost.
The internet market is a growing and more profitable market than catalog sales. People want more for less money, and for less time. Internet shopping is becoming increasingly common, especially with the ease of use and flexible return policy. Companies like Dell adapted early to the mass customization trend. Land’s End followed fairly quickly and started the trend in the clothing retail business.
Even with limited financial data, one can tell that online customization has benefited Land’s End. Customers are willing to pay for this benefit and even though numbers show that profit margins per item are equal, overall profit is higher due to higher prices. It is clear the customization effort by Land’s End has been successful due to customer demand and profitability, but simply implementing this technology option will not be enough to keep a competitive advantage against other competitors.
In order to determine how quickly competitors will be able to replicate the idea, concept, and implementation of custom tailoring, the four barriers need to be reviewed: IT Resources, Complementary Resources, IT Project, and Preemption.
In terms of IT resources, anyone can get this technology and implement it on their websites. It does not seem like it is too hard of a concept to execute. Complementary resources is where Land’s End can and should leverage a competitive advantage as the database with customer fit information is necessary. IT project is another barrier that could be leveraged as the relationship with ASI required proprietary information. Preemption is a concern, as there may be other technologies that would provide competitors the same results.
These four barriers need to be analyzed in greater depth and corrective action plans put into…