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Marketing

Using the digital channel in Fashion

Using the digital channel in fashion

There are a number of emerging trends in digital retailing that will be a major focus for fashion brands and retailers over the coming years.

These trends are being driven by new technologies and new ways of using the Internet to research, find and buy fashion. They include new ways to deliver deals and discounts, a focus on urgency to get consumers to buy, the rise of private sales clubs, social shopping, extreme customer service, multi-channel retailing and the mobile internet.

Deals, discounts, coupons and offers:

Discounting is as old as retailing, but consumer are now armed with real-time, location aware, Internet connected devices and services that let them know the best deals right up to the minute.

Sites like ozbargain.com.au and Retailmenot.com are driving customers to look for coupons and discount codes to find a bargain.

Sites to check out:

·         Retailmenot.com

· Ozbargain.com.au

·         LivingSocial.com

Limited time, limited availability, scarcity and urgency

Nothing drives consumers like the possibility of missing out on a bargain.

eBay.com.au has been the leader in creating this ‘buy now’ anxiety via the infamous end-of-auction countdown timer. They have now been joined by other limited-time retailers such as CatchOfTheDay.com.au and Woot.com offering a single, highly discounted product on sale for a single day, or until sold out.

Time limited offers, such as next day delivery for orders placed before a certain time also work to drive a sense of urgency, a device we’ve used to great effect on the General Pants online store.

Sites to check out:

· Ebay.com.au

· Catchoftheday.com.au

·         Woot.com

· www.generalpants.com.au

Membership, exclusivity, closed sales, clearance and private sales

New private sale and buying club web sites such as Gilt.com, BrandsExclusive.com.au and ClosedDoorSales.com.au are members only clubs that host exclusive sales for a limited audience of subscribers. These sales are usually at a large discount, but happen ‘behind closed doors’, so the brands benefit by clearing excess stocks without being seen to discount themselves.

Sites to check out:

· Gilt.com

· Brandsexclusive.com.au

· Closeddoorsales.com.au

· TheOutnet.com

Social shopping, sharing, recommendations and comment

People love talking about shopping and social networks are creating easier ways for people to discuss and share their shopping online.

Integrating social tools within a brands web site can add a lively community that amplifies the brand’s messages on social networks. An example is the Dotti web site, which includes Facebook features throughout the site to allow visitors to comment on and ‘like’ products that then get shared with their friends on Facebook.

Sites to check out:

· Dotti.com.au

· store.levi.com/#store/friends

· developers.facebook.com/plugins

· Scoopon.com

·

Extreme customer service

The stiff competition for an online sale in more mature ecommerce markets like the UK and US have led to some amazing promises of customer service from online retailers.

Companies like Zappos and Amazon are two examples of customer service taken to the extreme. Zappos provide customers with free shipping and free returns and exchanges on any number of shoes – Customer can literally order a complete wardrobe of shoes and return any they don’t like or which don’t fit, for free and for a full refund.

ShopBop.com, part of Amazon.com, will ship any order over US$100 anywhere in the world, for free, in 3 days or less. With international retailers providing this level of service, it’s very hard for locals to compete.

Sites to check out:

· shopBop.com

· Zappos.com

· Amazon.com

Multi-channel retailing

Any retailer with a bricks and mortar store chain as well as ecommerce can benefit from allowing and encouraging customers to shop across all their channels. By making the shopping experience seamless regardless of channel, retailers can improve the customer experience and increase loyalty, referral and propensity to buy.

Few Australian retailers are providing a completely seamless multi-channel experience, but some overseas retailers are showing the way. Stores like Argos and Boots in the UK, Sears and Walgreens in the US all provide a range of services that make the shopping experience easier, such as allowing online orders to be delivered into a store for pick-up instead of to your home, providing kiosks in-store to allow shopping online from the complete range and allowing customers to reserve in-store products for collection to guarantee availability.

Sites to check out:

· Argos.co.uk

· Boots.co.uk

·  Sears.com

· Walgreens.com

Mobile device access

Smartphones now allow consumers to check prices from competitors whilst still in your store, scan barcodes and look for the same product from online retailers, find their nearest store whilst out and about using maps and GPS and receive real-time offers from retailers that can be redeemed right away.

These new devices are creating a range of new services and products, such as location based social networks like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places, as well as utilities such as RedLaser and StickyBits for barcode scanning.

Sites to check out:

·         Gap Stylemixer iPhone app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gap-stylemixer/id326347260?mt=8

· www.stickybits.com/

· www.redlaser.com/

· foursquare.com/

Mini Case Studies

Dotti – www.Dotti.com.au

Dotti is passionate about the fashion industry and the company is using its new website to look for the next bright young thing in fashion. Budding fashion designers can see their designs brought to life in the site’s “Design-a-bits” section, with a different fashion design brief every month. The “Dotti Nation” site encourages its loyal audience to upload and share their “looks” with their friends via Facebook, building a very active community of devoted Dotti fans and followers.

General Pants – www.generalpants.com.au

General Pants partnered with Reactive to deliver a website which reflects the creativity, style and interests of its customers, including a creative social community campaign “The Bubble’, an ecommerce online store and creative catalogues, look-books and style guides highlighting the range of brands and fashion available from General Pants.

By combining unique and interactive design with high-performing online retail, Reactive helped General Pants deliver outstanding results for sales as well as community building and customer engagement.

Jeanswest – www.jeanswest.com.au

For Jeanswest, Reactive delivered a slick consumer focused website enabling direct sales of products online, as well as seamless integration with backend inventory and order fulfilment systems. Integration with a new CRM system enabled the launch of an enticing new loyalty rewards program in-store and online.

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