In 2005, the first Cache Cache store opened its doors in China. Today in 2020, the brand has over 700 locations around the country, and even more across the 21 total countries in which the brand is present. Cache Cache describe themselves as “a ready-to-wear fashion brand which puts optimistic and ambitious women in the spotlight,” and their parent company, the Groupe Beaumanoir, claims the brand as a “firm-favorite.” And with a parent company with a total revenue of $1 billion USD, being the favorite is a nice position to be in.
But it’s not all roses for the French brand. According to Roland Beaumanoir, founder and president of the group, a large number of Cache Cache stores in China closed temporarily during the pandemic this year, and those that were open received little to no customers. Additionally, the brand’s appeal to younger generations is not as strong as it once was, and their ability to keep up with desirable trends is likely their biggest hindrance.
The combination of these circumstances has no doubt put Cache Cache in an uncomfortable position, but as one of the few mid-level European brands still standing in China, their potential has yet to be unleashed. If Cache Cache can understand precisely what their Chinese customers desire within the context of market trends, they’re set for a long life in Asia. And there’s a solution: trend forecasting can provide accurate insights into what consumers want and when they want it, allowing Cache Cache to better plan their collections to satisfy their audience in China.
Cache Cache and the Chinese consumer
It’s no secret that when it comes to fashion trends, what works in one country, may not in another. Cache Cache is no exception: in their home country of France, the brand’s identity is oriented towards women in their 30s and above, while in China their audience is largely women from the ages of 16 to 24. The brand’s simple, classic styles are not universally desired by the same consumer segments. But why is that?
In China, Cache Cache is not as widely recognized as a French brand as one might think: the brand’s assortment in China, while still similar to France, tends to lean toward Japanese and Korean styles. The issue with this approach is that the Asian market is saturated with these styles, naturally, so this makes standing out quite difficult to do. As Cache Cache is a French brand, their difference can serve as their strength: French style is very trendy in China, especially among younger female consumers. Take one look at Taobao, a major e-commerce website in China, to see just how trendy the classic French it-girl look is.
Furthermore, Cache Cache orients their collections toward much younger audiences in China than they do in France. For example, Cache Cache includes in their Chinese collections what is known as “technical fabric,” which typically entails modifications to a fabric to render it more functional, such as heat tech or waterproofing. In the case of Cache Cache, they include technical fabrics which are out of the ordinary, including scented, color-changing, and skin moisturizing apparel. While this is no doubt a fun addition, it may not appeal to edgy and trendy girls, and even less so to older teenage girls and young women.
But this is just one example of the importance of knowing your audience. Cache Cache’s bright, minimalist styles appeal to a large number of consumers. But to target more than just mainstream consumers, the trick is getting a backstage pass to what your customers want, without them needing to tell you.
Trend forecasting: Taking Cache Cache higher
Cache Cache requires a sharper understanding of what their customers want from them, and luckily, there exists a solution. Fashion trend forecasting is the act of predicting the market behavior of particular attributes and products in order to create collections that consumers will desire. There exists an approach to trend forecasting which uses artificial intelligence to power its image recognition technology, which scans approximately 3 million images per day on various social media channels. For instance, data drawn from Weibo would likely prove most useful to Cache Cache’s strategy in China, while in France, Instagram would be the better source.
Once these images are analyzed for over 2000 different attributes, including color, texture, shape, and more, this data is then transformed into useful insights for each trend:
- Consumer segmentation
- Magnitude on the market
- Growth rate between years or seasons
- High seasons and optimal launch times
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Having access to such an in-depth look into trends can open up new doors for Cache Cache. For one, they can better capture the tastes and desires of their target audience, especially because consumers in the age range of 16 to 24 are those most active on the Internet and social media. And beyond this, such insights give a greater look at the whole market and not only a brand’s typical or desired customers. Cache Cache can use macro trends happening in China to round out their decisions about their collections, because these tend to give a comprehensive, long-term view of which trends are flashes of lightning and which are closet staples.
Looking forward with Cache Cache in China
Trend forecasting based on artificial intelligence technology is one of the many ways the fashion industry has become increasingly receptive to digital solutions, and for good reason. With trend forecasting, brands can avoid a series of common problems in the industry, including overstock and waste, assortment miscalculations, missed trends, and more. Cache Cache is in a unique position this year: European apparel brands in Asia seem to be at a point of make-or-break due to a combination of covid-related consequences. The good news is that Cache Cache has managed to be quite successful in China since its arrival to the country 15 years ago, so predictive analytics could serve to append the brand’s field experience in order to better align with customer desires. The future is digital, and it’s here.