As the State of Fashion report of 2017 noted, online sales in the fashion industry increased and are expected to keep growing in future years (+12% as of 2020).
This is all fine and good but you’ll ask me: how can your fashion business benefit from this trend?
This is exactly the subject of today’s article. We interviewed Juan A. Montilla, Creative director at Mortimerland Design about the success factors of selling fashion online.
There is no doubt that the digital revolution in fashion business is about immediacy and straightness. Purchase decision processes are nowadays more instinctive and brief than they have ever been. People decide what they want in a few seconds. They get suddenly excited about a bag or a dress they are viewing for the very first time on Instagram; and in matter of seconds they are praying to find it on the online store. They just can’t wait.
And the most amazing part is that all this sequence takes place in less than thirty seconds! In the old times the same process would have taken an entire evening going from one store to another. The point is that if you are unable to satisfy this brief excitement with the fastest, easiest, most pleasant, and most sophisticated experience, you are definitely loosing the train.
What are the key ingredients to make a fashion brand successful online?
The key factor is undoubtedly the capacity to become part of your customer’s “social persona”. It is no wonder that we are all two different persons online and offline, although 90% of people won’t ever admit it. Your “social persona” is the projection of all your aspirations, goals, and expectations, come true in the magic land of The Internet.
Your “persona” is the way you want everybody to see you: successful, trendy, interesting, outgoing, intelligent, fun, etc. And that is exactly the field where fashion brands have to play the game, in the social aspirations of customers. For instance, by interacting with brands like Aston Martin, Louis Moinet or Hacket you are trying to define your social persona as a young, sophisticated, outgoing gentleman. If your brand becomes a useful factor for people to build their online personas, there is no doubt you will be also one of their first options while deciding where to buy their new dress. Furthermore, if their customer experience is good enough, they will become evangelists of your brand, providing you with free brand exposure on digital media for a long while.
The benefit of selling online seems obvious when it comes to ready-to-wear designers. What about Couture designers? Is selling online applicable to all kinds of designers?
Of course “Couture” shopping behavior is different to “prêt-à-porter” one. Couture customers are looking for high-end, personalized experiences. Nevertheless, the decision to buy clothes and accessories is usually taking place online, so if you are not there to show not only your clothes but your brand experience, they will find other clothing references to follow and your brand will be pushed into the background. In the case of Couture designers it is more about starting friendly relationships with your customers, interacting with them, talking to them, giving them advice, etc. in order to drive sales to your firm and build long lasting relationships with them.
What would you recommend fashion brands to do to ?
We should keep in mind that every brand is a single universe that should be targeted towards a specific area of customer’s brain. Becoming a relevant part of people fashion interests is not an easy task. You will need to develop such a singular, interesting, strong, coherent personality that stands out from the current, overcrowded, fashion business establishment. Your fashion DNA must be something unique, something precious. True brand experiences are successful because all the people involved understand its fashion DNA and work together in the same direction to keep the coherence in all the branding actions.
Fashion DNA, as human DNA, needs to be unique. It makes no sense to imitate other brands. The brain of your customers is a wide universe where most of the opportunities are undiscovered. Just try something different, something only yours.
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