Is Ken Bone The New Kate Middleton?

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Has the Kate Middleton Effect been replaced by the Ken Bone Effect? Maybe for the next 15 minutes. With all the things that could be effected by a presidential debate, there’s one thing people don’t usually think of, a retailer’s supply chain. During the back and forth discussion of the two candidates in the second debate, one person that has stood out in YouTube videos and Twitter memes across America is an undecided voter by the name of Ken Bone, presenting a simple question regarding energy policies. All while draped in a now life-defining red, Izod sweater.

No matter what you may think of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Ken Bone himself, the sweater has been flying off the shelves in stores and online the week after and retailers have had trouble keeping up with demand. Along with the sweater, costume packages are being designed for Halloween, along with knock off sweater versions from different companies.

With such an incredible surge in popularity surrounding this sweater, what can be done to help retailers react quickly to capitalize on these suddenly in demand products? “You’ll definitely need to have human intervention to catch [the demand spike],” says Pam Nau, Principal Consultant at Logic Information Systems. “But you can use all the tools Oracle puts in your toolbox to facilitate and react quickly.” One such Oracle tool that was mentioned was Commerce Anywhere. “If a sweater is out of stock in a store, they can order it from the nearest store,” says Allan Terre, Technical Architect at Logic. “Oracle will create a transfer order send it directly to the customer.”

The Ken Bone Effect is not the first instance of this. Another example is the Kate Middleton Effect, which has been evident in the UK (and around the globe) since her November 2010 engagement to Prince William. According to Newsweek, the Kate Effect may be worth $1 Billion Euro to the UK fashion industry. Everything Duchess Kate wears, from engagement ring, to wedding dress, maternity clothes, and now her children’s clothes, is sure to sell out. A designer even reported that her factory was temporarily forced to stop production of its other models to exclusively produce one of Kate’s dresses to keep up with demand. Designers are thrilled with the perks as they have seen website traffic increase, increased sales of other items as well, and for some, an unknown label has turned in to a high-profile name.

While the popularity of Kate Middleton’s fashion sense is not expected to diminish anytime soon, time will tell what the demand will be for Ken Bone’s now famous red sweater in the coming weeks. One thing is for sure, retail tools for inventory management and predictive analytics will definitely be needed to help retailers manage the difficult task of keeping this sweater, and other popular items, in-stock where they are most in demand.

– Darren Fan, Consultant, Logic Information Systems

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