Stitch Fix taps Keegan-Michael Key to get men to buy new clothes

Dive Brief:

  • Stitch Fix has enlisted actor-comedian Keegan-Michael Key for ads aimed at men who need new clothes, the online apparel retailer said Wednesday. More than a quarter of men surveyed by Stitch Fix said they often wear items more than a decade old, and Key is one of them.

  • Feeling intimidated about dressing for events like weddings (36%), first dates (34%) and funerals (27%) also keeps men from “reaching their full style potential,” per a company press release.

  • Stitch Fix introduced men’s in 2016, and expanded that assortment two years later. In recent quarters, men’s sales have been under pressure at the e-retailer, which runs a website as well as a curated box option with a styling fee.

Dive Insight:

Women’s apparel represents the bulk of Stitch Fix’s sales, but the company apparently sees opportunity in men’s. The kinds of problems identified in its survey of men could be especially well addressed by the company’s original sales model — where human stylists curate a box of clothes, from a personalized inventory determined by an algorithm fed by a sales quiz and other feedback.

Whether through that service or its recently introduced e-commerce site, Stitch Fix’s men’s business could use a boost. In the most recent quarter, men’s sales fell an unspecified amount, Chief Financial Officer Dan Jedda told analysts in March. The men’s business was “slower to reaccelerate” last year during the pandemic period, CEO Elizabeth Spaulding said in December.

The recently launched campaign with Key addresses longstanding reasons why men buy fewer clothes than women. In one spot, he sings about how he’s ready to “break up” with old duds from his college years.

In another, holding onto a box from Stitch Fix, he talks about his multi-faceted life — work, play, special occasions — and changes into an outfit appropriate for each.

Stitch Fix has problems beyond falling men’s sales, however. In addition to the many demand and supply challenges of the last couple of years, the retailer is grappling with its own particular difficulties, brought on by major changes to its sales model.

After the company added traditional e-commerce sales, for example, it faced a greater level of cannibalization of its box business than it had anticipated. Stitch Fix also recently abandoned its idea to withhold search in order to let its algorithm guide customers.

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