For more than 70 years, ‘Fashion Weeks’ have been taking place in cities around the world, giving fashion brands a venue to reveal their latest collections, enticing editors and consumers alike. In recent years, these have become increasingly digital, expertly bridging the offline with the online to enable social commerce in real-time.
By employing social media, social commerce and using social influencers as brand advocates, numerous fashion brands have excelled in leveraging new technologies to reach young, digitally savvy audiences. This month, leading fashion brands Burberry and Paul Smith announced “Insta-gratification” strategies, allowing consumers to instantly buy the clothes they saw on the runway. Such innovation-led tactics demonstrate how adept brand marketers at fashion brands have become in engaging consumers by placing social at the heart of their brand campaigns.
The fashion retail environment is one of the most competitive and evolving industries on the planet. It is therefore important for fashion retailers to develop an innovative model for effective social marketing, merchandising and planning. Here are a few lessons that brands outside of fashion can take away from this dynamic industry.
1. Analyse your social data to plan product lines
By using social tagging, brands can individually analyse online consumers’ content preferences over time, in real-time. Here’s how: marketers can tag posts and updates on social networks like Google+, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram with a chosen taxonomy, and then review which content themes and products get the most reach, engagement and resonance. With this actionable data, the brand marketer can then effectively plan and adapt product type, quantity and placement with timely precision – across multiple digital channels. This also lends itself well to measuring ROI, as a brand marketer can correlate clicks to tagged content.
2. Turn your website into a social-selling hub
Two thirds of the content in the ‘digital universe’ is created by consumers and research shows that consumers are far more influenced by credible and authentic content created by their peers, over glossy imagery created by brands. Leveraging user-generated content (UGC) is a useful tactic that turns consumers into brand advocates.
The fashion industry has been at the forefront of embracing its own brand enthusiasts and actively promoting them as authentic brand champions. Many fashion brands have incorporated ‘call-to-action’ buttons on social content to drive engagement as well as sales. For example, the Net-a-Porter-owned NetSet selects social media content uploaded by influential online users and makes it instantly shoppable.
Adding ‘buy buttons’ to enable purchases directly from social content is more likely to both drive brand engagement and generate a sale, as consumers are more receptive to buying directly from content they find engaging, as opposed to disruptive interstitial ads from brands.
3. Showcase your influencers in-store
Implementing in-store social displays with curated consumer content provides a fun, tailored and interactive shopping experience. Fashion retailers now have the digital display infrastructure to bring social media into the store to encourage shoppers that they’ll look great in the outfit by ‘selling the look’ or ‘completing the package’ through targeted upsells. Such innovative tactics engage in-store shoppers to generate a higher volume and value of transactions through the checkout.
As we make our way through 2016, consumer-generated data will continue to increase across numerous social channels. Brand marketers and retailers across different verticals stand a lot to gain from social commerce. By taking a page out of fashion’s playbook, they can take on strategies to better optimise product performance, engagement and drive socially-referred commerce for seasons to come.