MARK 230: RETAILER STRATEGY ANALYSIS
Retailer Description and Background:
Campus Closet is a project started five years ago by entrepreneurs, students and Catherine
Mack. The main idea is to give an opportunity for students to wear an appropriate clothing for
their first interviews and job fairs. Camosun college students and faculty will run this facility.
All clothes, shoes and accessories will be rented free of charge to Camosun students. Moreover,
Catherine Mack strongly believes that even if their service will become popular or flop among
students, campus closet will never charge anything to students.
It took an unbelievable amount of time and work for Catherine and students to open the Campus
Closet. They faced problems such as lack of space, lack of financial support and of course, no
inventory. Apparently, when the President of Camosun college Sherri Bell looked at the project
she happily helped financially and morally. After a while Cath’s team got a space to open their
dream project. During that time period, many other instructors get involved and offered her
their help as well. A lot of new and used clothes were donated and a lot of marketing work was
done. After a while, Cath started getting donation of clothes and money from a community. A
dry-cleaning company provide services at discounted rate. Now Campus Closet is almost ready
to be open. It is located near the staff parking and close to Interurban road at Interurban
Campus. It is almost renovated from inside and got everything it needs to get started. It will
also offer some volunteering hours for students in Camosun College.
Besides facility will be run by volunteers, it has an effective business strategy to successfully
enter the market. Thrift shops and Value village which offer a wide range of different type of
clothes and accessories has become really popular among students who cannot afford formal
clothing. As Campus Closet is non-profit organization conventional sale strategies will not be
effective for it. Effective business strategy for Campus Closet could be “Multilevel marketing”.
This strategy can be described as leverage friends, family, and other personal networks to
recommend products and act as a sales force. This strategy is popular among retailers as Avon,
Mary Kay, Amway etc. It is common knowledge that people always share with each other
about best places and value for money and in this case, the services provided by Campus Closet
are up to the level and this will spread like forest fire. So, this strategy would not only help to
increase awareness to rent formal clothes for free, but also get more students involved to give
their volunteer hours to Campus Closet.
Strengths of Campus Closet:
● Free of charge for students.
● Good location for business students.
● Branded clothes and accessories.
● All clothes and shoes are clean and hygienic.
● Volunteer work encourages students to support their community.
● First on Vancouver Island.
Weaknesses of Campus Closet:
● Shop is small and cannot fit a lot of people
● Lack of clothes and shoe sizes.
● Risk of being unsuccessful.
● Bad accessibility for students from Lansdowne campus.
● Will be open for a couple of days per week.
● No proper strategies made yet for its operation.
Currently, Campus closet isn’t open yet but it’s near to its opening. Everyone is excited about
this concept because this will be one of its own kind on Vancouver Island. There is no direct
competition for this and no problems are coming in its way to open. Campus closet is on a
pretty safe side in its attempt to compete with its competitors in town. As it will not charge
students a single dollar for renting out clothes which are also trending and premium whereas
indirect competitors like Value village and Thrift stores offers only out of trend and used old
clothes. The advantage is every student can go and rent clothes from there which will make
them look professional but on the other hand there is not a good collection of clothing in other
stores. People have to pay to buy clothes that do not even make them look professional at all.
Campus closet can be described as non-profit specialty store because it will not charge students
a single cent for renting clothes and it has wide variety of clothing for males and females. It
not only offers clothing line for both sexes but also has different kinds of accessories that will
make them look professional in business attire. It has clothing line from different famous
brands, so that students should feel comfortable wearing these.
There are some environmental and economic factors that will affect the retailer. Campus closet
is not located at a very good place. It’s hard to find and to tell directions about it because it is
a separate small building somewhere near to parking lot and bus stop. Students might can feel
shy going to campus closet in front of other people because some people do not like to wear
clothes wore by others and do not want to show that they cannot afford new clothes. Besides
these, it would be a challenge to convince students who thinks these kinds of clothes could
contain bacteria and viruses. People from every culture can have this mentality. It would be
tough to make a positive image and attraction of people towards campus closet because now
people seems excited about it but no one is sure whether it will create a positive image or not.
It could be hard to find people who would like to do voluntary work for campus closet as the
hours are in between the school hours. There is no proper arrangement for getting continuous
financial support to run it. Moreover, it is very expensive to dry clean some of the clothes and
There is no certain time limit for a rental and if someone rented it and other guy comes who
also needs that rented attire, then he/she might have to return back home without getting it.
There is no guarantee that if a graduate student who borrowed clothes from Campus closet will
ever return back or not to return the clothes. There will be one or two change rooms, ambience
music and CCTV cameras. Besides all of this, Campus closet has the ability to do better than
we could think. The point is many students spends mostly all of their savings and earnings on
school, rent and food. They are not in the condition of buying expensive clothes during school
days. So, they can use the clothes for presentations, meetings and interviews. They can borrow
the clothes as many times they wish until their first pay cheque and by that time they can at
least save their money by just renting clothes. There will be students who will not hesitate
renting from there and there might be some who would not go there because of their public
image. Examining the diversity and love among each other on college campus, there can more
chances it would be success and after a period, campus closet will might need a full-time
employee rather than volunteers. There is no hassle to get clothes from there. Students need to
show their student id and checking with the employee/volunteer there that for how long they
can keep the clothes. There is not much expenses for Campus Closet. It is only dry cleaning
expenses and startup cost. Furthermore, technology and e-commerce helped a lot in this whole
process and will continue to do so. Founder of Campus Closet, C. Mack, got this idea from
other universities and colleges in the United States through the means of technology. She came
to know more about it by searching more information about it. It’s been so many years now
and we all know about campus closet because of social media, news and through college
website. There is not even a single flyer printed out to advertise for this and collected donations
through internet popularity. So, technology plays a crucial role in overall popularity and to
make campus closet trending.
Campus Closet being even as unique organization has competitors. It does not have any direct
competitors yet as it the only one place on Vancouver Island which rents out different type of
clothes without earning any profit from it. However, it has a lot of different type of indirect
competitors. This includes chain of Thrift stores, Value village, and even some small groups
on Facebook such as Victoria Clothing Swap, Shop & Sell.
In comparison with all other competitors Campus Closet has some significant weaknesses. First
of all, Thrift shops and Facebook groups has bigger target market than Campus Closet. They
offer wider range of products and sizes. For example, in Value Village there is a huge section
for men as well as for women full of different sizes and styles for different ages. So, all
customers’ preferences could be satisfied there. Secondly, all the competitors usually open
longer than Campus Closet and has better location. For example, Value village open till 11pm
on Friday and Saturday and till 10pm on Sunday-Thursday and is in Downtown. Their flexible
hours give students opportunity to go there even after late evening classes, as a lot of students
are busy during the day. Their location also attracts students due to easy accessibility.
Another reason is that not many students right now are aware about Campus Closet, usage and
location. They have only heard about it but do not have other information about it. As a new
facility, it needs different means of advertising to make students pass by the shop.
However, Campus Closet has some undeniable strengths. Firstly, it provides students with free
good quality clothes. As many students do not have enough income or forgets to wear on the
interview day, they can get it from there. Campus Closet will be an appreciable solution for
graduates or co-op students who just started their career path. Second, Campus Closet staff will
also give advice to young adults, who do not know what type of attire will suit them better and
will be appropriate. Hence, Campus Closet will not only provide students with free good
looking and quality clothes and can also seek advice from the staff.
In comparison with its other competitors there is a limited number of business strategies
available for Campus Closet. The main reason for that is Campus Closet is not focused on the
revenue. So, it cannot use some effective strategies which are used by big retail stores. As it
was mentioned earlier “Multilevel marketing” will work best for it. However, to attract and
make their customers loyal, they can also use such techniques as trying to become a little casual
to get their honest opinion and it will also help them in advertisement on social networking. As
Susan Solovic mentioned: “In 2015 small business owners will look at the big picture and
design their own ‘marketing blend’ that includes several marketing strategies. This means
merging traditional tactics.
Campus Closet helps students compete. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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RSU Career Services Launches Campus Closet for Professional Attire. (2016, March 04). Retrieved
February 10, 2017, from http://www.rsu.edu/rsu-career-services-launches-campus-closet-forprofessional-attire/
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