Plus-Sized Inclusiveness: Yes, Inclusion is for Everyone!
We’ve noted many times that diversity and inclusion policies can help companies’ bottom lines. Diverse and inclusive companies tend to be more creative and have a better understanding of their diverse markets. But inclusiveness isn’t just important within the confines of a business itself. Companies should also consider inclusive policies with respect to their customer bases. This may sound obvious. However, many organizations effectively turn away business because they aren’t offering products or services as broadly as they could be.
Fashion Brands Could Use More Inclusivity
A prime example can be seen in the plus-sized clothing market. For decades, fashion brands have focused their offerings on clothing that fits certain body types. This extends to marketing efforts like television and magazine ads and even mannequins in stores. Increasingly, companies are recognizing that this image doesn’t reflect reality for millions of consumers, leaving those customers feeling like the company doesn’t want their business or at least doesn’t have them in mind.
In an article for BBC Worklife, Nadra Nittle says that independent fashion brands and multinational organizations in the UK and North America have taken steps to extend their size ranges. In fact, she says, the plus-size market is growing at a clip that is twice as fast as the non-plus-size market. Alice Rodrigues, a senior consultant at Alvanon, an international apparel-business consulting firm, who she quotes in the piece, indicates that in the UK the plus-size market has grown at a rate of 1.9%, while the clothing sector overall has experienced a slight decline of .8%. “Even amid the pandemic, as fashion consumption drops, the plus-size clothing industry’s profits are projected to grow,” she writes, pointing to similar trends in the US.
Inclusion is for Everyone
Companies have been taking notice of that largely untapped market as well, expanding size and style offerings to service plus-sized markets. “Following in the footsteps of companies such as H&M, Nike, Anthropologie, Asos and Reformation, Lululemon Athletica is one of the latest retailers to offer ‘inclusive sizing’,” writes Nittle. “The yoga outfitter announced in September that it had expanded its apparel to a US size 20 (UK size 24).”
This is just one example of how a product misses the mark in terms of serving all potential customers. Chances are, though, that you may discover similar gaps in your own product offerings and, especially, in terms of how you communicate about them. Are your marketing communication efforts inclusive enough to represent the needs of your entire market?
Diversity and inclusion are important qualities to strive for within any business, but they are also important when dealing with customers. It is these customers, after all, that supply the revenue that keeps companies running. An inclusive approach helps ensure the pool of potential customers is as broad as possible.
Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has strategic consulting, leadership development and inclusion learning solutions and that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.