With so much happening in the fashion industry, it’s easy to lose track of new and upcoming customer habits and market behaviors that affect brands and retail.
As brands focus on staying relevant, it’s important to keep your strategies aligned with new dimensions of the fashion business.
In this post, we’re going to list and analyze 5 important trends that are affecting customer behavior, and are impacting many strategic decisions for fashion brands: from branding and communication to distribution and sales.
With no further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
Polygamy describes a shift in the way customers build relationships with their favorite brands. Customers are not loyal to one brand anymore but entertain different “love affairs” with different brands.
In marketing terms, what this means is that with lower loyalty and retention, your customer lifetime value may decrease, and therefore your customer acquisition cost may be more limited and affect your advertising budget.
Helpful Tip. What this also means is that heritage luxury brands that have always had a very high emotional value, are now leaving more space open for the competition from faster, more fashionable brands that are better able to attract customers from other brands, because of their decreased loyalty.
Nomadism is intended in both a physical and psychological sense.
From a physical sense customers are traveling much more than they used to, but at the same time, psychologically speaking, customers are also evolving in taste at a much faster pace.
As a result, in fashion retail, the habits that customers have built by shopping in fast-fashion retailers, with intensive distribution and high-paced inventory turnover, have impacted the way they perceive retail experiences in higher-end boutiques.
Tip. What brands are now required to do is to re-invent their distribution by leveraging the opportunities provided by mobile ecommerce platforms while developing a deep experiential dimension.
As a term of comparison, we can look into flagship stores, to create a truly omnichannel dimension of retail that creates value for customers. If you’d like to read more about this topic, we recommend taking a look at our case study on Burberry’s flagship store in Regent Street, London.
#3 Competent, Demanding, Selective.
The wealth of information freely available to consumers allows them to go beyond the front-of-the-house of a firm, and really collect information about a brand’s competitive advantage, social currency, and sustainable practices.
As a result, the standards in customer service that your staff is able to provide are going to be put to a challenge.
It will be increasingly harder for a shop assistant to tell customers something about the product or brand that they don’t already know, as most of the customer journey will be conducted online.
Tip. As you develop your customer service operations, make sure you’re taking into consideration the higher expertise and information available to customers, so that your customer service will maintain authority and persuasiveness.
#4 Price Sensitive.
Customers are overwhelmed by cheaper shopping experiences and are becoming much more demanding in terms of what type of deal they are getting.
This is also a consequence of trend #3 as with more information, more opportunities to buy cheap are made available.
Tips. Digital distribution has always acted against the exclusiveness of fashion, putting brands at a disadvantage in comparison to businesses in other sectors (like traveling and hospitality) where technology has allowed them to access a much broader audience.
To counter this challenge, brands should stop marketing the product and start marketing the value associated with the product. To understand how to approach the market differently we advise reading this article which discusses “Jobs to Be Done” as an innovative approach to understanding how your customers use your products.
#5 Open to Collaborative Consumption.
With share economies, customers are getting more and more used to the idea of accessing experiences as opposed to purchasing stuff.
Companies like Rent the Runway, for instance, are pioneers in the space of collaborative consumption. As early entrants in digital fashion, they were able to create a business that allowed fashion to be entirely experiential.
Now, we have a much broader market in collaborative consumption which spans from rental services to pre-owned and vintage markets. Now that wearing pre-owned clothing is considered not only acceptable but a responsible and sustainable practice, customers are much more open to this model of service.
Tip. If you manage an online store, make use of unsold inventory to allow access to your products at a lower price by developing a pre-owned or second-hand marketplace.
You can even develop buyback programs and offer discounts to purchase new merchandise by collecting clothing at the end of their lifecycle.
Great! Now that we’ve covered all 5 trends, it’s time to draw a few conclusive remarks.
There you have it! In this post, we’ve analyzed 5 very important trends that are becoming more and more widespread in the fashion industry.
These 5 trends are not entirely new, but they are becoming very prominent and as a result, fashion brands should stop ignoring them, and address them as an opportunity to gain a stronger competitive advantage.
It’s important to remember that in order to stay relevant and current a brand needs to be aware of those changes in customer behavior and habits that can really impact your bottom line. Sometimes, small changes can have a huge effect on your business’s profitability.
By looking at the 5 trends listed in this post, you’re now able to compare and contrast some of your business operations against new customer expectations, to make sure you’re up to speed. Maybe not all 5 trends will apply to you, but it’s good to know where customer behavior is heading in the future.
At the same time, as your brand becomes more well-known and established, it will also develop certain features and characteristics that become unique to your vision of fashion, making the organization more resilient to market changes.
The fashion industry, however, is at a constant pace of evolution and it is important to always stay on your toes, ready to jump on the next wave.If you’d like to read more on the topic and learn about the new frontiers of the fashion business, don’t hesitate to explore our blog where we’re providing a wealth of free information on fashion marketing and retail. Enjoy!