How are consumers buying for 2019 and beyond? There is a huge trend for both in-store and online activations.
1. In-Store Educational Platforms
Companies like Club Monaco and Rebecca Minkoff have started doing a lot of programming in-store. They can be interviews with key people in female empowerment or key female entrepreneurs, highlighting different topics, focusing on small clusters of industry groups and trends, and really capitalizing them in terms of in-store experiences. It shows it’s not just about having a trunk show or a pop-up shop to get someone to purchase, sometimes it’s about adding something of value in a totally different way. The Portland-based small fashion business, Field Trip, does a great job of having macramé classes and tarot card readings, and other ways of getting people to come in store without saying, “hey, this is just a shopping opportunity.”
Creating experiential in-store through education, talks and other kinds of lecture series, have been an amazing way in which a lot of key retailers have been activating community and getting people to come in store to think about their brand beyond just product. MATCHESFASHION.COM did a great job when they launched 5 Carlos Place, a huge operation for them. A multi-story home turned into an amazing experiential atmosphere; 5 Carlos Place now holds events, not just talks and lectures, but also personal styling, trunk shows and other more, to bridge their community. There are many different ways in which people are bringing customers into their stores. Remember, it takes five to six different touchpoints to close a sale. It doesn’t mean that when they come in to listen to one of their favorite people speak, that they’re necessarily going to buy something at that moment. However, get them into your brand and five or six touchpoints later, you’ll have created a brand-loyal fan.
2. Mobile Styling and Chatbots
Stylist brand, Threads Styling, has done an amazing job of harnessing legions of Millennial stylists, combined with the power of chatbots. And with 50 luxury partnerships, they’ve created one of the most influential mobile styling platforms working with today’s affluent Gen Zs and Millennials. The average basket size for someone shopping on Threads Styling is $3,000, a huge differential from a company like Mytheresa, another online luxury platform, selling products with an average basket of approx. $700.
When we’re thinking about buying trends, the consumers want on-demand styling. They want to be able to purchase right away. They want to know there’s someone on the other end with the capability to help style their outfits. Threads Styling started as a very unique offering for a small London hotel, before expanding into multiple markets. The majority of their customers come from the Middle East, and they’re young customers with a lot of cash flow. They want to walk away with something different and something special.
Look for new mobile platforms and ways in which you can engage with customers in real time, while offering amazing styling opportunities. There are tech solutions out there that even work for smaller fashion startup businesses.
3. Seamless Shipping Communications
The final trend in consumer behavior comes out of the shipping company Narvar; they made a really interesting study with over 1,000 customers. They found the majority are looking for more seamless experiences throughout the shipping process (not just seamless checkout). They also discovered that customers wanted to be in communication more frequently with brands as their orders were being shipped to them. Customers wanted updates when orders were placed, when orders shipped, when orders were en route, and certainly same-day communication.
Enterprise Businesses: Invest in technologies that add value to the customer experience as it relates to shipping, shopping or any in-store events. Efforts are not just tailored towards trying to get sales, but genuinely hosting curated events on topics that are interesting and touch on various passions resonating with your customer base. It’s a great opportunity if your brand stands for something and is passionate. Using the opportunity to bring in other guest speakers and to curate opportunities for your customers to meet these people, is a great way of telling customers you care about them, and not just their money.
Growth Stage Businesses: The most important thing is to avoid doing too many things at once. It’s very important you limit your investments to things you’re going to see an immediate ROI on in the next six to nine months. Upgrading your technology is probably the most crucial step. When scaling up, concentrate on outbound marketing activities. You need to capture the data and make sure you have the right opportunities. Invest in infrastructure and technology.
Fashion Startups: You need to know how to get in front of customers. What is the easiest way you can stay on top of these trends? Start by being grassroots. Consumer buying trends are consistently telling us that customers want to have in-real-life touchpoints. If you’re already thinking about your next pop-up shop, you’re already thinking about those opportunities. Double-down on making them the best experiences ever. Make sure they’re real, make sure they’re authentic, make sure they’re Insta-bait moments. You know your customers are going to spread the message and you’re going to have good reverb each time.
Take advantage of the opportunity of being a possible thought leader within your space, as being a CEO who actually could have some influence. While you might be CEO of a small fashion business, you can actually have a lot of reach. If you’re looking at brand strategy to get in front of consumers, don’t forget the importance of your own personal influence and your own personal brand strategy to help get customers to come back to your brand.
If you need help understanding how to apply customer buying trends or you’d like to create a custom portfolio of strategies specific to your business, please do send us an email at email@example.com.