Online Clothing Shopping: Latest Trends
The fashion industry is one of the oldest industries in existence, yet it is currently experiencing a renaissance through e-commerce technology. Contrary to the common idea it is at the middle of a crisis, according to the 2014 European Commission’s report, ‘fashion and high-end industries are one of the most vibrant and creative sectors in Europe’. The creativity in this industry does not end with the textiles though – a growing amount of fashion manufacturers and retailers are becoming increasingly creative with e-commerce , creative online stores and social media, ensuring large amount of purchases occur online.
E-commerce & traditional retail stores: multi-channel marketing
Less and less people are shopping ‘in real life’ and prefer focusing on the Internet. The action of shopping changed a lot over the past few years with the advent of social media. The relationship between businesses and customers has turned into an online one, and multichannel marketing (both online and offline retailing) is the new route to market.
Online stores: a level playing ground for new clothing retailers
Direct channels such as physical stores and catalogues have waded in popularity. In 2015, it has proved to be more effective to work on brand image through social media. A global reach can now be achieved through the internet. While traditional distribution channels still provide a great route to market for established retailers, the barrier to entering the fashion market has been greatly lowered and the playing ground has been levelled to an extend by the internet.
A rising trend in online shopping
The fashion industry had to evolve considering the fact people are spending a lot of time on the Internet. While buying online used to scare some consumers, it has recently become easy and almost completely secure to buy online: last year 64% of UK 25 to 34-year-olds bought clothes online and 49% of all UK inhabitants. A brand website and a Facebook page are ‘must-have’, however such an exposure can also be a risk. Customers are keen on comparing brands online: according to D. Storms (2014), 56% of apparel shoppers admit using their mobile devices to compare prices online, and 44% to seek deals and promotions. In essence, the change in the fashion industry has been driven by consumer behaviour and advances in technology that have facilitated easy purchasing.
The Internet: a source of inspiration for customers
Social media is where customers spend most of their time online, but it does not mean you have to flood Facebook and Twitter with adverts. Actually, it has been proved people are more sensitive to a brand and its campaigns when shared online by a friend. The principal objective for you is to stay present and accessible, through a good community manager (for more details on the topic, you can also read this article).
The second one would be to give a good brand image through this media. For the fashion industry, Instagram seems inescapable. Urban Outfitters has 2.7M followers while Brandy Melville has 2.4million. They not only share pictures of their products, but above all they share a bit of their brand identity and inspirations. Customers can easily identify with these pictures that show a universe they idealize. That is why Instagram contributes in inspiring 42% of women aged 18-29 in a purchase decision.
Using apps to stand out in the crowd
To be distinguished from the competitors, another trend in the fashion industry is the digitalisation of the company. An application or an innovation on the website always helps a clothing shop succeed online. It also improves your customer’s experience. This digitalisation can of course be seen through online campaigns, but the setting up of mobile applications meets the growing trend of mobile devices use. Hermes for example introduced Tie Break, a free app that teaches the public how to knot a tie, proposes some games and lets people discovering its manufacturing process. This application combines practicality and fun, generated positive feelings while building a strong and lasting affinity with the customer.
Obviously a mobile application is not compulsory for any business, but as the fashion industry is always more turned to the internet, it would be a shame to neglect this potential market.