This is a really important topic because we make promises all the time. When you think about yourself as a brand owner, it can be easy to blur the lines between clever and effective marketing and fancy copywriting. Then, ultimately, what does your customer truly experience? What do they get at the end of the day?
Back in 2017, Everlane launched a new pant and it was claimed to be the most flattering pant for everyone. Being a huge fan of Everlane for a long time, I thought – “this is amazing,” I want to buy these pants. When I bought the pants, let me tell you they were not the most flattering pants in the world. In fact, I felt horrible in them.
Of course I wrote them an email telling them how awful I thought the pants were, and I sent them back. Now, I get it, everyone wants to make sure they’re touting they’re the best, they’re the softest… and it’s the most luxurious, it’s the most incredible…. And I get it, it’s important to be able to have creative, flowery, emotional language that really gets the point across. However, when you’re dealing in a market as sensitive as women pants, and men, we know you understand the feeling out there too. It can be really difficult to find a great pair of pants.
In any case, I was extremely dissatisfied. I really wished they had said what style of body type this would go well with, meaning the perfect pant for the blah blah blah body type, or the perfect fabric for the blah blah blah who’s sensitive to whatever. Going niche in this case and making it more specific would have largely gotten a lot of people purchasing the product who really identified with belonging to that core customer demographic.
In this particular case, these pants went to everybody, including people like myself, cases where it wasn’t exactly a flattering fit. Now fast forward to 2018, companies like Estée Lauder and other businesses are starting to take a closer look to see if their product claims really actually live up to the things they say and do. For example, in 2018, Estée Lauder went back and looked at a lot of the brands they sell and said, “how can we make sure that this research and development is actually making the real claims that it says it’s going to? How do we make sure that we’re making true to our brand promise?” However, this doesn’t just apply to wildly popular digitally native brands and legacy giants – successful clothing startups take care to live up to their promises too.
You do need to make sure you’re highlighting the best aspects and features of your brand. It’s especially important that you do not overly embellish around fit and function. Why is that? Successful clothing startups and established businesses alike know it can lead to severe backlash. Well, as in the example of Everlane, and I’m sure you have tons of your own personal examples, when you overly glamorize or speak too flowery or really try to make claims about fit and function and you live up to those claims, all of a sudden you lose trustworthiness. It’s very important that you maintain a sense of trustworthiness with your customers who are willing to take a risk on you.
Packaging is important. If you tout yourself as being a high design luxury brand and the packaging you use for your products are lackluster – or they don’t have the fine attention to details and don’t exude that luxury experience, again, you’re missing the connection between what you’re saying that you stand for as a brand and then ultimately what you’re actually delivering. It’s so very important that your packaging truly matches your brand value. Think of all of the successful clothing startups and beauty brands you know. They had to take care from day one to prove they lived up to their brands. The new $1.2 billion unicorn, Glossier, just a startup 7 years ago, comes to mind.
One thing that I think is so great, MATCHESFASHION.COM and a few other businesses out there have opted to have more of a two packaging format. One is the luxury packaging – signature, high quality, beautiful, attention to detail – and the other is the eco packaging. Eco packaging is great. It’s simple, understated and more eco-friendly. This gives the customer an option to say, “yes, I want to ascribe to this luxury packaging that’s going to come in with my purchase or I already know the packaging is amazing, or the packaging doesn’t matter to me, so I’m going to go with the eco-friendly option”. However, they have two options. They’re not taking a $5,000 dress and stuffing it into a plain cardboard box. There are different ways in which we need to deliver the product in order to be able to get that resonance with our consumers.
Follow Up and Customer Care
Follow up with customers to find out…
- Why they made the return
- What was it about the product that worked and did not
- How you can improve on the actual product
This information can be incredibly valuable for implementing changes and pivots within your business. Definitely take the time to find out more about your returns. For brands that sell online, it can be the difference between struggling and successful clothing startups.
Even ask customers who didn’t return their items if they were happy with their purchases. They may not have returned their purchases, but still may never buy from you again. Never assume a customer who purchases the first time is going to become a repeat customer. Make sure that you’re surveying and talking to your customers and even sometimes getting on the phone with them to make sure they’re happy and satisfied. These are really amazing things you can do as a business owner. They ensure you’re developing great products, that your brand communication really delivers on your brand promise and that you’re actually building trust and loyalty with that consumer.
You must be excited about starting to align your messaging, starting to get everything all tied up in a bow. Packaging is certainly a big deal in this instance. I highly suggest you read our blog post on how the best brands produce their packaging. We go in depth into the latest great places where you can start to produce your packaging. It’s really fantastic because packaging these days has become easier than ever- and yet there are so many options. It’s important to go to the experts where we suggest you start to do your sourcing for packaging.
Lastly, make sure your social strategy and content strategy truly reflect your brand and brand promise. Check out our free download on the five ways you can analyze your social media to make sure you’re delivering the right content that speaks the right language to your consumer. From successful clothing startups to long-established beauty brands, brand owners and executives know the power of consistent messages and the importance of even the smallest details.