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How Can Fashion Retailers Differentiate Against Competition?

24 February 2017

By Ethan Morgan

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In recent years, the online fashion sector has seen rapid growth. An increasing number of customers are now happy to buy clothes and accessories online without touching or trying items first. This has been enabled by fast, free delivery.

According to IMRG, in 2016 the online clothing sector reported an annual growth of 18% compared to 10.7% in 2015 and 12.8% in 2014.

What’s driving this growth? To find out, we hosted a debate panel at IMRG’s Fashion Connect Conference in London.

IMRG Fashion Connect Retailers

Together with our guests from Apptus, Stayhard, Monetate and Blueleaf, we discussed the latest customer behaviour trends and developments in the online fashion sector.

Nowadays, customers have an infinite number of choices, they are chasing instant gratification and a seamless shopping experience has become a critical factor in winning ‘the purchase’.

So how can retailers and brands stand out in the crowd, keep current customers loyal and attract new shoppers?

The answer lies with personalisation and relevance. There are many tools available that enable retailers to truly understand their customers and communicate in a meaningful way with each segment.

volo fashion connect panel paul watson

It is critical to understand the customer journey and adapt your strategy to new, returning or lapsing shoppers. Tailor your offers based on their personal preferences and keep in mind there is a fine line between engagement and annoyance. Here's 3 key pieces of advice:

1. Check your data regularly.
2. Adapt your profiles and personas to customers’ lives and development.
3. If you have a customer that has been loyal to your brand for years, adjust your offers so they remain relevant for the life stage he/she is at.

Another thing to consider is that you need to balance your data with a personal approach. While some analytics insights are correct in terms of facts and figures, you still have to discern if data is truly reflecting customers’ preferences or whether it’s just a trend.

Make sure the data you ask customers for is put to good use. Otherwise, they might get annoyed that you have wasted their time with useless questions without any benefits.

Personalised recommendations should also be a high priority for any fashion retailer. Keep track of preferences, the products you’re recommending and the ones that should be shown less.

Finally, take into account that often customers are in a browsing mood and aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase. Include this aspect in your marketing and sales strategy to find the right incentives to convert ‘browsers’ into ‘buyers’.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the best strategies for growing your fashion business and expanding to new markets, please get in touch with our team.

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