Fashion brands now find themselves in emerging in an entirely new climate since the lockdown, due to Covid-19, began just over 3 months ago.
With consumer behaviours changing considerably, now is the time to re-evaluate and realign your business priorities and marketing efforts, pivoting to adapt to this unchartered climate.
The New Normal
Broadly speaking, the consumer groups have gone down one of two paths over the lockdown period. The first being those who have had a re-evaluation of lifestyle. They have treated the circumstances as a reset and are now embracing new habits such as fitness or new skills. The second group remain largely the same. For brands it is now about capturing both of these groups in ways that cater for their needs and bring them safety in such uncertain times.
For brands right across the board, a significant drop in demand was swiftly seen in non-essential fashion goods. Whilst figures continue to recuperate, consumers are undeniable displaying behaviours of frugality with their purchases. Having time to reflect on consumption whilst unable to visit stores, some consumers may be in a period of hyperawareness, and limiting their spend. With high job losses and reduced incomes, a heightened consciousness of cost has been instilled.
Whilst brick and mortar stores remained closed, consumers embraced e-commerce more than ever, accelerating its adoption. As lockdown eases this behaviour is likely to remain, due to the health worries and store restrictions in place which may deter shoppers. Online has never been more crucial. With many continuing the work from home, your consumers are online much more.
Many brands have been working to increase presence online, with inflated spend on social media, advertising and google ads. By evaluating your brands media and messaging touch points you can understand where your consumers congregate online and react accordingly. Embrace digital transformations and the tools you can use to promote your brands which you had not considered before.
Focusing on your existing customers rather than trying to expand is advised, building loyalty and sustaining connections where possible. It is important to maintain a mindful tone regarding Covid-19 in order to reassure your customers and make them feel comfortable and acknowledged. those with the strongest brand awareness are predicted to recover the fastest.
The consumer wants to instantly know what they are buying and who from so this needs to be evidently clear. Evaluate whether your digital channels convey the personality of your brand, and is your messaging consistent? Could this be achieved by utilising personalised emails or providing amazing customer service? The aim is to create a trusting connection between the consumer and yourself, so consider how you can establish this using social media as your tool.
Brick and Mortars
The future of stores as we know them remains incalculable. With such a focus on e-commerce, some may struggle to attract consumers back into physical spaces. In-store innovation will be critical in their re-opening and they must provide an experience which can only be delivered in-store to entice people to visit. Retail futurist Doug Stevens states that they must completely reinvent and find alternative ways to drive traffic before falling victim to online. New experiences can include a food and drink element which has been implemented in large stores already across the country, to in-store exclusives and pop-up events.
As Imran Amed, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Business of Fashion says “brands should use this time to reinvent, bring consumers new alternatives, new value and take the situation as an opportunity for innovation. Take this time to expand what you thought possible and most importantly listen to your consumers“.
Join our Selling Fashion Online webinar on 22nd July for in depth guidance on building customer loyalty and increasing online sales.
By Frances Smith