Fashion marketing in a digital era
It goes without saying that fashion has been in the public eye for decades, however the way in which it is presented to the public has changed considerably over that time. That means marketing has had to ramp up massively along with the innovation that goes with it. All brands of all sizes have had to adapt to fit in with the worldwide digital transformation. In the world of fashion marketing it's become a case of evolve or face extinction.
Pre-pandemic fashion relied on both digital product marketing alongside more traditional bricks mortar sales too. It's not surprising though that Covid brought a significant and unavoidable shift towards digital selling with online sales featuring more heavily in marketing strategies. It's true that this progression was becoming clearly apparent in less physical footfall and more virtual shoppers. Having said that though, the shift from paper to digital was naturally evolving as ecommerce sites were coming into their own anyway - the pandemic merely acted as a catalyst for what was already an organic change.
During Covid digital marketing gave fashion design a lifeline and strengthened hybrid home shopping habits when industry needed it the most. Consider this alongside what were already becoming time-starved, convenience craving consumers and it's not difficult to see why shopping habits and associated fashion marketing had to adapt.
Making an impact matters more now than ever
Unless you've been living on Mars you'll be aware that making an impact in the fashion industry on all channels matters more now than ever before? Did you know though that the UK fashion industry in 2022 is estimated to be worth around a massive £60.1 billion and employs in excess of 555,000 people? What's more, the e-commerce sector, (the largest portion of the e-commerce market), is estimated to reach more than $953.1 billion worldwide by the end of 2024. So, if you want a piece of that fashion pie it's essential that you make an impression now. More importantly having a marketing strategy in place to make the right impression, reaching the right audience at the right time is paramount.
So let's take a closer look at what's been happening in digital fashion marketing...
Fashion brands have fallen into two camps when it comes to marketing communications as follows:
- Digital leaders: This is when a brand's online sales make up 30-40% of total sales, and the value chain is significantly digitalised. It also means that online and offline channels are to some extent integrated.
- Laggards: This is when online sales make up less than 20% of total sales. In this case the value chain actually has low levels of digitalisation, with online and offline channels being largely separated.
It goes without saying that Laggards have considerably more room for improvement when compared to their counterparts. Becoming digitalised however is pretty simple to do and can (when planned well) fit seamlessly into your marketing communications. For both camps the rapid integration of new technologies is a significant competitive advantage for companies, whatever stage they are at. So the mantra remains the same, adapt now or fall behind. Let's face it life with the fashion dinosaurs wouldn't be much fun or very fruitful.
Modern ways of shopping are paved with issues, many of which can be remedied with the shift to digital sales. Digital transformation can actually bring the following:
- Adapt online and in-person shopping to the needs of the modern consumer
- Boost steps along the value chain, including the actual supply chain
- Transform and align key teams within fashion companies
- Improve existing processes, making them more sustainable
- Address new consumer values for example inclusivity and transparency
- Help with trend forecasting
The role of ecommerce
We think that you'll agree e-commerce has progressed into being an indispensable tool in the fashion industry. So much so in fact that a growing number of brands now have no actual bricks-and-mortar store at all - that's right, no actual shopfront whatsoever. Marketing campaigns are regularly steered to virtual CTAs (calls to action) as shoppers enjoy home deliveries or a quick click-and-collect store visit.
A diverse range of garments and products are now increasingly available within an online culture. The proportion of purchases that consumers are now making online as opposed to in-store clearly shows that the pattern of shopping is changing massively - especially since the start of the pandemic.
Recent reports highlight that 43% of consumers who had never made an online clothing purchase online began doing so in 2020-2021.
With that in mind it's clear to see not only the importance of doing ecommerce for fashion sales but doing ecommerce in the right fashion. Standing out from the crowd is key to survival and yes you've guessed it, digital is the way to do that. Contemporary business management demands it.
Engage your audience...
Building customer loyalty with your brand is essential - that goes without saying. You must remember though that your brand loyalty won't happen overnight, it takes time. Have patience and above all be consistent. If you want your customers to feel connected with your brand, they need to know that you are actually listening to them and that you are a familiar presence in their lives.
Through regular engagement your customers will gradually build trust in your brand, recognising it's honesty and reliability. It's all part of your company's professional development plan.
It's that sence of community which will become vital especially if you want consumers to return to your site again, bringing repeat business with them. So, this is where engagement comes into its own within the word of fashion design.
Encouraging consumers to interact with giveaways, responding to customer questions on social media or sharing interactive Instagram stories are all useful methods. Take note, all types of engagement helps - big time!
Retarget, Retarget, Retarget
So, even if a potential customer has visited your site and left you can still often expect a sale following a site visit or when they've clicked onto an advertisement. That is all part of common consumer behaviour. Even if your fashion brand hasn't enticed them to make a purchase the first time around it doesn’t mean you are not still on the consumer’s mind. Done well, your digital marketing will continue to work its magic.
Many potential customers will often still think of a memorable digital marketing campaign or a website that stuck with them. You can target previous visitors by presenting secondary ads to remind them of the product they came across beforehand. There are many ways to tempt a purchase in the fashion industry, particularly when it comes to digital marketing strategies.
Discounts work wonders...
Another method for retargeting visitors is to offer exclusive discounts after a consumer has abandoned their shopping basket. This technique is a great way to get consumers over the final hurdle and commit to their purchase.
Quality Counts in Fashion Marketing
You want quality results right? OK, so when it comes to fashion marketing imagery the best will only do. Let's face it, in the fashion industry image is everything. Exquisite statement pieces, cutting-edge sportswear and seasonal must haves must be shown in all their glory. More importantly their colour, texture, style etc simply must be shown in their true form. Poor imagery may only lead to disappointment when goods are received, if garments are not as expected by the customer.
Digital Marketing Seasons, Occasions & Events
Planning your fashion marketing strategy goes beyond the obvious dates such as Christmas or Valentine's Day (albeit they are welcome money-spinners we hasten to add). Digging more deeply into the events which may entice the consumer behaviour within your brand's demographic is the way to go. In addition to national days such as St. George's Day or St. Patrick's Day, think about occasions such as graduations, weddings and more.
Tools for Filtering & Searching
Make life easier for your customers by introducing filters and search functionality on your fashion marketing site. Enabling easier access to your garments is essential to your fashion marketing.
Help your site visitors to refine their search for the right size, colour and style. Gove them the option to find what they need quickly. Making your site easy to navigate is integral to your online marketing strategies. Digital marketing must look through the eyes and actions of the consumer.
Guide Your Audience
Demonstrate your expertise along with your clothing as part of your fashion marketing strategy. This can be achieved easily with a handy style guide for your online visitors to refer to. Showing examples of how to create those sought-after looks is a simple way to boost your fashion marketing. So how do you do this? Well, by combining a range of products from your website into one piece you'll illustrate your expertise in putting clothing and accessories together.
Confident showcasing will give your customers confidence in you and your fashion design. What's more shoppers will gain the confidence to do the same as they select key pieces from virtual pegs popping them into virtual baskets. This personal and professional development will inevitably grow on your side and your consumers with continuity of ecommerce interaction.
OK, time to get social with your fashion marketing. Social media provides a way in which to get your brand in front of a much larger audience. Fashion photography and digital marketing go hand in hand.
Remember that it's quicker and more convenient for shoppers to scroll through posts than it is to physically shop. More and more people now do their window shopping online, so it's time for you to make the most of it.
There are some starter-for-ten points to consider when maximising social media for your clothing brand which are as follows:
- Use all the in-app shopping features
- Create Facebook groups
- Make the most of influencers and fashion bloggers. It goes without saying that Instagram is a fashion brand's best friend
- Include hashtags (the right ones not randoms!)
- Share reviews & testimonials
- Ensure your social media profiles are eqiuipped for customer service
- Video - make the most of it!
- Home in on the personalities in your business
- Include behind-the-scene pictures in your fashion photography
- Use social media to create urgency for up-and-coming product releases/marketing campaigns
- Remember that customers love a 'live stream', so why not try to live stream fashion shows? Don't be afraid to put your creative skills to the test.
- Hook abandoners - hey they're not lost, retarget them
- Expand your content marketing
- Go social with your style guides and fashion styling tips
Much like many of your garments, when it comes to the professional development of your social media it isn't always a case of 'one-size fits all'. Too many fashion brands take a generic approach to their social media.
With so many tools available on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram there's no reason not to add that personal touch to your social posts. What's more it's easy to reach the right demographic for your brand through the power of social media. By making social media part of your business management you'll inject a natural way to propel your fashion marketing even higher.
How do the fashion marketing giants show us their best bits?
Ok, now we've looked at why digital marketing is so important in today's world of fast fashion it's useful to take a sneaky peek at how a couple the BIG players are using digital power.
Take a look at how Gucci feeds seasonal 'winter in the park' and 'warm-weather getaways' into their fashion marketing strategy. Tapping into those seasonal trends (in addition to events and occasions) assigns a marketing context to digital strategies.
Adidas attribute digital marketing as being the force behind their ecommerce success and feel it is the ideal way to build a direct relationship with their customers. Back in 2015 Adidas launched a 5-year digital strategy, naming it 'Creating the New'. Describing itself as a 'digital company' spending 90% of its marketing budget on digital campaigns and social media.
In 2019, Kasper Rorsted, Adidas CEO shared,
"We had a successful start to the year, delivering double-digit sales increases in our strategic growth areas Greater China and e-commerce as well as another strong profitability improvement."
Going on to say:
"We confirm our full-year outlook and remain confident about the top-line acceleration in the second half of the year. 2019 will be an important milestone toward achieving our 2020 targets."
It's true that a physical presence remains for the leading brands we've come to know and love however we're brought ever closer through the power of digital.
How can Digital Media Team help you?
Consumer behaviour is constantly developing within the fashion world. For brands of all sizes it is essential to keep up with industry and consumer trends. Meeting expectations is essential to succeed. Here at Digital Media Team we work with you to shape data-driven marketing strategies which will help your brand thrive.
Contact us to find out what our experts can do for you.