Fashion this season is different with “casualization” and sustainability both taking a front seat, as heard on The McKinsey podcast, “The Postpandemic State of Fashion.”
Shopping behaviors have also shifted, with 40% of all sales happening on digital platforms, even as fashion retailers re-open. Some of us like to shop in our pajamas, in the middle of the night, uninterrupted. Others enjoy creating Pinterest boards or browsing through our Saved Collections on Instagram. In the past 18-months, many of us have benefited from curbside pickup, contactless delivery, and the always-reliable Prime Wardrobe service.
So, how can fashion brands and retailers stay relevant and competitive in a market where consumer behavior is so rapidly changing?
We’ve pulled together the top three things that have helped our fashion e-commerce clients successfully navigate this new landscape and hope that this becomes a guide for any brand that wants to capture the hearts and minds of today’s online shoppers.
Omnichannel Marketing is the New Standard
Digital Agency Network (DAN) recently named us a Best Fashion & Retail Marketing Agency in the USA and we are honored to receive this recognition.
In their article, DAN highlighted our case study on North Gens, a Canadian footwear brand that we support with an omnichannel approach to overcome the #1 challenge of selling shoes online: the consumer's inability to try them on.
By surrounding the customer with messaging on a number of channels, at various stages of their brand journey, we utilized organic social media to establish a brand identity, paid social media to drive traffic into their website for discovery and conversion, and email marketing to foster engagement during the decision-making process and retain loyal customers post-purchase.
For a new brand lacking an existing customer base, product reviews, or even a retail presence for in-person interaction, the marketing content needed to deliver customer education, intentionally communicated product details, and very flexible return policies to encourage purchase.
We were able to leverage this omnichannel approach to help NorthGens establish its brand presence and build a loyal customer base.
First-Party Data is Your BFF
Due to the iOS updates and the rise of privacy restrictions, many e-commerce businesses are experiencing a limiting impact on their performance marketing. We’ve learned that first-party data - such as your email marketing database, website visitors, and SMS lists - are more valuable today than ever before. Why? Because if you have a direct relationship with your customers, then you can continue to nurture and grow that relationship - despite what Apple, Facebook, or Google decide to do with information sharing. And that’s empowering, isn’t it?
Ironically, Google published an article about developing a first-party data strategy here. It is filled with jargon and complex terminology, but basically, they also agree that engaging directly with your audience can “help to deliver better customer experiences and drive business results.”
For our client GRT Active, growing and monitoring their email list has given us tremendous insight into their consumer’s purchasing habits, product preferences, and content engagement behavior. One thing we learned through first-party data was the importance of emphasizing the product features of their performance-wear line. Like the challenge of shopping for shoes online, shopping for athletic wear online is difficult because a consumer cannot touch or feel the fabrics in order to judge how durable, sturdy or flexible they will be. GRT Active items do so much more than help you to look good and we made sure that our content reflects that in every way:
Cultivate a Community, Not Just a Lookbook
A very common trend in this period of uncertainty is the isolation and emotional toll of the pandemic. Consumers have flocked to social media to feel connected to the people and brands that they love. As a result, social media apps have also fine-tuned their existing offerings related to social commerce (or social shopping), with eMarketer reporting a 35.8% increase to $36.62 billion in 2021. Facebook recently concluded a summer livestream shopping series and Walmart partnered with TikTok to livestream events with popular creators, while Snapchat and Pinterest bank on the success of their AR try-on tools as reported by RetailDive.
Although the new features and functionality are quite exciting - and we really do love experimenting with them for our clients - it is important to note that social media’s primary function is to be a space for consumers to connect with one another or to connect with brands that they love.
Brands that continue to approach social media with the intention of entertaining their audience and providing value to them, will be the ones who create long-standing relationships with consumers.
Autumn Adeigbo is a sustainable fashion brand, whose Instagram account we not only adore but helped manage. Every post contains a story about the designer or the fabrics used and gives context to the person in the photos wearing the dresses - especially when there are posts featuring celebrities wearing her clothing. This approach makes everyone who follows the account feel like they are part of the community - that by owning a piece of clothing designed by Autumn, they too belong with the likes of Emily Blunt, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Lizzo… because they all share something in common: a great taste in fashion and an undeniable connection to the brand.
If you are a brand or a company looking to hire a team of category growth experts to support you as you scale, we would love to speak with you. Please contact us here to book a discovery call.