Payless demonstrates the power of positioning

-The discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource opened a fake pop-up store in Los Angeles this week called “Palessi.”

-In total, shoppers spent $3,000 over two nights. One even bought a pair of boots for $640, equivalent to a 1,800% markup.

-Payless said the social experiment was meant to remind shoppers that Payless’ affordable shoes are fashionable too.

According to CNN “Payless, a brand known for budget-friendly shoes, opened a fake pop-up store called “Palessi” in a Los Angeles mall and invited influencers to the grand opening. The store was stocked with Payless shoes in disguise.
“I would pay $400 or $500,” a woman says in a TV ad, holding a pair of $19.99 sneakers. Another shopper calls the Payless shoes “elegant and sophisticated.”
The stunt even included a sleek website and an Instagram account”.

Payless said the social experiment was meant to remind shoppers that Payless’ affordable shoes are fashionable too. But will it really work?

People in cities, like LA, are used to going to fancy boutiques and paying top dollar for clothes.  The quality really doesn’t matter, it’s the label and the “snob” factor.  To these affluent people spending $1800 on a pair of boots is like most if us spending $3.00 for a Happy Meal.  Will Payless be successful in communicating that their products are the same as the ones sold in expensive boutiques?  I don’t think so.  It’s kind like putting Wal*Mart goods in Nordstrom.

What the Payless experiment clearly shows is that brand positioning is a very strong factor in how much people will pay for some clothes.  Positioning a boutique in LA with a fancy name is sure to draw in influencers, but will these same people really drive their Bentley’s to Payless?  I doubt it.