Put the Fashion back into Fashion Retail

The L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival is with us – you can feel the anticipation in the air from young and old fashionistas alike.  Creativity and inspiration has always been synonymous with the fashion industry.  With the changing online & social landscape – what does this mean for the future of fashion retail?

A few of us FRANk crew were lucky enough to attend the LMFF Herald Sun Marketing Breakfast on Wednesday to get some perspective on the future of retail.

Key note speakers Chris Clarke (LBi UK) and Kevin Panozza (Engage P/L AUS) both gave thoughtful commentary around the new world of brand & consumer.  A few highlights covering:  building meaningful relationships between brands and customers, engaging the technology empowered consumer and transforming customer experience.

Brands are embracing & testing social, with great examples for the likes of Diesel, Jimmy Choo & American Apparel.   From global corporations to corner shops, retailers are making social an extension of their brand and consumer.  Off the back of the LMFF Herald Sun Marketing Breakfast and in conjunction with some brand examples – we’ve highlighted a few core concepts for fashion retailers to consider in social media.

1.   Don’t forget this IS and HAS ALWAYS been about the consumer!

No one doubts the fashion retail industry has changed.  There is, however, an uncertainty and fear residing in “what next”.   Moving this aside, it’s important to remember what fashion means to the consumer.  Fashion remains exactly what has always been – a passionate creative outlet.  Regardless of marketing trends & social tools, the heart of fashion will always lie with the consumer.  Think of them first, and then build your social strategy.

2.  The opportunity for fashion brands to connect is more exciting than ever

If anything, the social space has inherently given the fashion world a whole new audience.  Take for example 13-year-old ‘Style Rookie’ Tavi Gevinson .   Fashion is one of the most visual categories, giving way for social media to provide the perfect display platform.  With the immergence of Pinterest, and Facebook gearing more towards visual sharing, the shift in social media is aligning to be a great tool for the fashion industry.  Within this framework, the possibilities are endless how you want your brand to be represented and shared.  Check out this recent example of fashion blogger Christine Martinez  using Pinterest to do ‘live pinning’ from a photo shoot.   

3.  Fashion is Sharing

The consumer bible of fashion commentary has always been fashion magazines.  So when we refer back to point 1, the cultivation of fashion & branding hasn’t changed …just the who & how of sources.  Fashion blogs are one of the highest viewed blogging categories online.  Once brands can relinquish a bit of content control, you will find you have a new network of connected ambassadors.  A great example of blending brand & sharing is fantasyshopper.com.     Fantasy Shopper allows consumers to browse through style brands and create an ideal wardrobe.  This linked to Facebook allows their friends to see, comment and suggest.

4.  Start Fashion with a Social Business

1 in 10 full-time workers on the planet are in retail.  These are not just employees, they are your ambassadors.  They are the last interaction the consumer has before deciding to purchase or not.  Put on your consumer hat – how much more likely are you to purchase from a person that is engaging, knowledgeable and friendly.  Make sure they love coming to work.  This doesn’t just apply to in-store,   your ambassadors can be online & ready with the “engage a live person” chat mechanic.  Engaged consumers online are x4 more likely to purchase!  See tedbaker.com as a live example.

So, no…the world of fashion retail is not doomed.  In fact, we are excited to see what innovations will emerge when brands and consumers work together to start making it all about fashion.  On the 30th March, FRANk will be hosting our own FRANkademy session , covering a broad spectrum of Retail & Social Business topics.   Would be great to see you there or hear some nice examples of fashion in social.



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