New Customer Acquisition & Conversion Strategies for Your Fashion Startup

Here are a few key insights into what’s happening in the marketplace, how to get customers to visit your points of sales and how to get them to convert and engage with your brand.

Leverage Social Media.

Dov Charney founded American Apparel- now he’s back, bigger than ever, with Los Angeles Apparel. He realized your first business isn’t always your last business, and that’s an important rule for us all to recognize. He’s been taking a radical approach to how he’s approaching social media for his business. Meaning, he is getting on social, going live and talking about the industry. It’s not in a pretty, highly-edited, highly-curated fashion. In fact, it’s really raw and radical, and it’s getting people who are interested in the American Apparel brand fascinated with him and what he’s been able to create.

As we’re seeing with social media, we’re moving away from the glossy stuff. We’re moving into an era of rawness, realness, and engaging one-on-one. In fact, I’ve been seeing more and more people taking advantage of the live two-way conversations. Meaning, I can get on social on Instagram Live and say, “Hey, who wants to have a conversation and talk about their business?” I can invite you and we’ll be face-timing in front of a live audience. Radical ways of looking at social media are amazing for capturing the audience and being able to fully engage with them. Open the door to show visibility of who you are as the CEO and founder and people will love that authenticity.

Use Buzzworthy Merchandising Strategies.

Next, look at really interesting ways you can start to develop your merchandising. For example, there company VETTA produces five pieces and shows you how to wear them in 30 different ways. It’s a collection built for organic brand marketing. When you start to take a look at their merchandising strategy and what you’re developing, ask yourself:

  • How is this going to translate into marketing?
  • How is this going to take on life in terms of how your customer experiences it?
  • Is it going to create word-of-mouth buzz?

Creating new customers to fall in love with your fashion startup also means finding new ways of presenting and talking about your merchandise. You can’t simply be the Uber of X anymore. You can’t be the Everlane of a certain industry. We’re tired of copycats. You need to start to branch out and think about what kind of space you’re going to own and how you’re going to make that an innovative and attractive marketing strategy that runs deep with your product development and execution.

Utilize Conversion Rate Optimization.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can mean a lot of different things. For the purpose of this article, think about things like heat mapping to understand how people are navigating your site. While we’re thinking about getting new customers and new acquisition strategies, we also have to be thinking about how you’re going to convert. Heat mapping or integrating with a heat map plug-in into your website is going to give you extreme visibility into how people are navigating your site and where they’re spending most of their time. Of course a cursor is different than eyeballs, so there’s going to be a certain margin of error. However, it will give you an idea if someone’s hovering over something often but clicking on something else more.

In addition to CRO strategies, aside from heat mapping, A/B split test your website. The average website for e-commerce converts at a little over 1%. The top 25% of e-commerce sites convert over 6%. How do you move the needle from 1% to 6%? Start to engage and interact with conversion rate optimization strategies. Don’t just do A/B split testing, do A, B, C, D, E, F, G split testing. Make sure you’re staying on top of UI/UX and how consumers are truly interacting with your products.

Execute Effective Influencer Collaborations.

We all know influencers are making a big splash. Everyone’s talking about how to work with them. Start looking at how companies like Tommy Hilfiger, for example, are approaching influencer strategies. They’re not just leveraging influencers to use in campaigns and catalogs as many brands are doing these days. They’re actually making collaborations and partnerships to develop and design new products. Nordstrom did this, Tommy Hilfiger succeeded with Gigi Hadid. Start to think about who the key influencers are that you would possibly want to collaborate with. Meaning, it’s their brand and your brand. It’s a true collaboration- not just them wearing your brand.

This is a great customer acquisition strategy because when you start to think about the synergy and synthesis of the different worlds we live in, we all follow certain key influencers whether friends, style influencers, food influencers art influencers…. We’re also continuously looking to consume more content and we’re shopping. We’re in an amazing era when it comes to retail and fashion. The synthesis of these two worlds becoming more and more the same is really important for you to get involved with.

Don’t go around picking influencers just because they have big followings. Make sure they’re on-brand for you. Otherwise, while those collaborations may drive sales, followers and engagement ranks temporarily, they may not be good long-term strategies- make sure the brands are deeply aligned. You might have many followers because of a collaboration and then suddenly lose them because your marketing and advertising isn’t truly in the essence of that collaborator or influencer. Make sure everything is really succinctly aligned for the sake of your fashion startup.

Harness the Power of Live Stream Technology.

Lastly, tapping into global markets is one of my favorite topics these days. Companies like ShopShops allow you to sell your products in the United States via virtual camera. You’re basically selling through Skype. Imagine setting up a collection of products in your showroom or studio, being on camera, talking about those products, and really pushing them and selling them to a new market and new audience. Companies like HelpJess, and ShopShops, among others, have really made it a focus to try to bridge the relationship between global markets and domestic U.S. brands and other brands from around the world.

ShopShops, for example, sources their local constituency in different markets in China. These are people who want to shop, who love American brands, and really want to buy something new and exclusive that isn’t oversaturated. Traditionally, in emerging market countries, the first to market are the Guccis, Pradas, Chanels… all the licensed products, and then slowly we start to see bigger brands come in to sell to luxury consumers. However, things are changing. For example, advanced contemporary brands, contemporary lines, and more niche luxury designer brands based in the states are making their China debuts. Definitely experiment with attracting a more global audience. You’ll discover that the Indian and Chinese markets are really hungry for products in the categories mentioned above.

If you want to read more about getting into international audiences, see our blog post on the new technology allowing you to expand into these markets. And if you’re looking for a juicy download, get your free copy of Creating Fashion Websites That Sell – an amazing, tried-and-true book. It’s fantastic and really walks you through the nuts and bolts of creating a really great e-commerce platform that allows you to convert in the best way possible.

When you’re ready to start experimenting and you’re ready to find innovative strategies to grow your business, email us at hello@scalingretail.com. We can’t wait to work with you and help you grow your business.

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