468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fossil: Thoughtful Marketing

When you walk through a mall, what is the first thing you see that draws you into a store? For me, it’s the exterior layout of the individual stores. A store’s transition zone establishes a change and makes it obvious that the space will provide a different experience. How the company designs this space has an effect on customers walking by as it may be their first impression of the brand. Fossil, an American designer and manufacturer of accessories, has put time in effort in establishing a consistent theme, not only with the physical aspect of the stores, but also with their products and marketing materials.

Fossil was founded in 1984 by Tom Kartsotis and his brother Kosta. Most business established during the early ‘80s centered their brand based on their products, its features, and its benefits. Fossil, however, based their brand on their design. During the time, Tom and Kosta were hesitant on basing their brand off of design; however, the success Swatch made with creating affordable, design-driven products gave them hope. The company IPO’d in 1993 as Fossil focusing was on fashion watches with a retro look before introducing leather goods in 1990 under the Fossil brand and Relic line of watches.


With an average store size of 1250-1500 square feet, every square foot needs to be taken into consideration when trying to create a comfortable environment for customers to shop in.

The layout works well for all three types of shoppers. The variety of products shown in a small amount of space allows navigation, and also an easier way for the shoppers to browse which markets to the general plan and unplanned shopper. The products are also organized into their own sections so it also guides mission shoppers to where the product they may be looking for will be.

The displays of the products are also thoughtful; not only are the products in their individual sections within the store, the spacing of the products (specifically leather) between each other, encourage customers to remove the products from the shelves and try them on. There are shelves around the store allows there to be a display of the variety of products the company offers. Islands in the middle of the store are low so that customers can see the entire store without any shelves blocking their view. The lighting in the store would highlight the products and makes the environment feel warm, cozy, and comfortable. These different considerations contribute to the overall modern vintage aesthetic.

Smaller details

Diving into other promotional materials Fossil considered to facilitate their theme and brand is their packaging and other point of sale materials. Fossil establishes consistency that extends beyond the physical layout of the store and products that customers buy. You can take even more of the store back home through their packaging: the vintage tins.
There were countless times when I would walk by the store and become attracted to Fossil’s display of vintage tins; there were times when I wanted to buy a watch just to get the tin. Tim Hale, the creative director of Fossil since 1987, says "The identification of Fossil with the tins is almost on the same level as the identification of Coca-Cola with the hourglass bottle." The popularity of the tins have resulted in the decision of having dates and serial numbers assigned to them to foster an urge to collect more.

Overall, Fossil has spent a lot of time in fine tuning what their brand is through the variety of products they offer, the store décor, and promotional materials. It has taken years to build this brand and it will take continuous efforts to maintain this brand image to the public. 


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