Over the past decade, “fast fashion” retailers have dominated the retail industry, giving rise to some of the most recognizable and profitable brands today like H&M, Zara and Forever 21. But Now the fast fashion industry is at a point where retailers are struggling to maintain growth: many powerhouses are seeing weaker sales, while smaller US-based brands like those in the Fashion District of Los Angeles, are completely wiped out.
As this fast fashion business model crumbles, smaller B2B brands that have traditionally manufactured for fast fashion retailers are exploring direct-to-consumer strategies to appeal to today’s market. The adaptation of this new business strategy causes a radical change in the fundamental functioning of the fashion industry. Brands are now forced to become more consumer-centric. The fashion industry can be volatile and only a few brands implementing this business model are successful.
The direct-to-consumer model means that garments go directly from production to sale, primarily through a digital platform. Brands can skip the traditional, time-consuming process it takes to secure prime placements on brick-and-mortar retail floors. They are starting to sell direct to consumer outside of traditional fashion business cycles, using the power of digital to create and grow their own market.
This big shift happened not because of the brands themselves, but rather because of a shift in demand. Due to advances in e-commerce and social media technology, the influence of digital commerce has increased and the barriers to entry for selling online have dropped significantly. It’s now so much easier for digital brands to disrupt the market and give consumers what they want, when they want it. With the power of digital, brands can speak directly to their consumer and collect important data that will help the brand make strategic business decisions. Nearly half of shoppers have no brand loyalty, so businesses must compete fiercely and pay close attention to what consumers are looking for.
After talking to hundreds of retail e-commerce fashion brands trying to implement their own direct-to-consumer strategies, we found that most business owners struggle to invest their marketing dollars effectively. Here are some tips on how to successfully bring your fashion business directly to the consumer using the power of digital:
1. Invest in a strong digital foundation
Building a brick-and-mortar brand has its own barriers to entry, from building your first location and attracting foot traffic to generating sales. Fashion business owners who have operated this way for decades must realize that creating a successful digital sales channel requires just as much strategic planning and investment. It starts with a well-developed e-commerce site that is developed and optimized for sales, although it takes more than a beautiful website to create a viable and profitable digital business channel. The website should be strategically built from the ground up with the goal of generating traffic and revenue: everything from the layout, structure, coding, to the images themselves should be properly optimized for these purposes. This is one of the main reasons why many brands fail – they cut corners through low budget websites. As a result, they fail to generate traffic and revenue.
2. Create data-driven, consumer-centric strategies
Over the past decade, marketing has evolved to be more scientific and data-driven than ever. Most brands are still tied to a narrow marketing strategy based on traditional media placement. However, collecting and analyzing data will give brands a competitive edge in understanding their consumer, as well as formulating and executing the right marketing strategies that are perfectly aligned with the demands of their target audience. Brands can start collecting data by simply setting up analytics tools to help them collect the data needed for analysis and using it to help the brand make better business decisions.
3. Establish visibility
Just as a physical business relies heavily on foot traffic to generate revenue, it is equally important in digital to allocate budget to generate traffic online. There needs to be a holistic approach to driving traffic and building a customer base. This includes the right mix of search marketing, social marketing, and online advertising. All in all, it takes patience, hard work, and investment. A real visibility effort for a new fashion brand can take months or years depending on the quality of the digital strategies and the number of resources the brand has to execute them.
In the fashion industry, our biggest challenge is to make sure customers understand how important this part is to their success. They often start with a do-it-yourself approach or the wrong digital partners, which leaves them tired and frustrated after many failed attempts to drive traffic to the site and improve their revenue.
4. Maintain true fashion brand image
Those looking to enter the market and establish a direct-to-consumer brand should remember that the traditional aspects of building a fashion brand are just as important as the quality of the clothes they sell. Fashion brands do not sell basic products; they sell a lifestyle, a feeling, and a sense of purpose and belonging. The brands people choose to wear are a reflection of who they are. Knowing how to execute the right visuals, social presence, products and pricing, customer service standards and staying relevant with fashion trends will be the key factors for long-term success in the future of the industry. of fashion.
Building a fashion digital business can sometimes be frustrating as today’s marketing is very technical and scientific in nature, while fashion marketing is still largely based on creativity. If brands can establish a solid digital foundation, use a consumer-centric approach to make better business decisions and increase their visibility, the brand may have a chance to break through the noise and create a viable revenue stream with its digital channel. .