Digital-first fashion brands are now competing with high street stores who have successfully developed their own digital platforms. With all these options, consumers have more places to shop than ever before. Brands need to work harder to find ways to appeal to shoppers. Whether a company is online, offline or both the goal is very much the same, to entice consumers, to increase revenues and grow their business.
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the best ways fashion brands can increase their sales in 2022.
Appeal to Gen Z
Generation Z describes the age group born between 1997 and 2012. Amounting to around a third of the world’s population, this generation has become one of the world’s most powerful consumer age groups. Controlling an estimated annual spending power of $143 billion, successfully appealing to Gen Z can future-proof a brand’s sales for years to come.
According to research published in Vogue, 60% of Gen Z shoppers are more conscious about their fashion purchases and carefully consider the positive or negative impact of the money they spend. Today, fashion brands need to align their values with the consumers and have a clear point of view. Sustainability. ethical management and the environment are top priorities and brands that make a positive impact in these areas are likely to be embraced.
Embrace Gender Diversity
Staying with Gen Z, it is worth pointing out that as much as 56% of young shoppers are ignoring the male or female fashions, choosing to wear what they like regardless of gender. Brands such as H&M, Pangaea and Zara have all introduced genderless lines while other brands will deliberately shoot the same apparel on both male and female models. Female shoppers now will happily buy a sweater modelled by a man.
Brands looking to increase their appeal and therefore increase sales can consider embracing a genderless line and being more creative in their photography, choice of models and styling. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Y2K inspired brand, TAKA Original, lists apparel by type, not gender, and all items are photographed on both male and female models.
Buy Now, Pay Later
In 2022 we find ourselves in a global cost of living crisis with shoppers everywhere having to make changes to their spending. For retailers, who are also looking at increased costs, lowering their prices isn’t a viable option. More and more retailers, particularly online, are offering easy buy now, pay later services.
Interestingly, the modern consumer credit system was established by General Motors to sell cars. The process typically involved assurances from the bank that the consumer could make the payments. Now, in our interconnected digital age, a store using eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce can bypass the bank. In a few clicks, fashion brands can integrate a plugin app that will automatically approve and grant credit to their shoppers. Paying for special purchases in bitesize installments is available from Klarna, Afterpay, Affirm, and Openpay.
For consumers, the convenience and freedom to pay later is a welcome option that can encourage them to add items to their basket that might otherwise get left on the digital rack.
Use Smart Sizing Tools
With an estimated 52% of eCommerce returns occur due to inaccurate sizing, and Shopify reporting cost increases from each of the major carriers, including USPS, UPS, DHL Expressonline, fashion retailers face increasing logistical costs managing deliveries and returns. But fashion brands can increase their profits by reducing or mitigating some of these costs. By adopting smart consumer sizing tools such as Sizer, online retailers can suggest a more accurate fit and reduce the likelihood of costly returns.
Once the true size of the consumer is in a retailer’s system they can also offer a more personalized shopping experience. Online fit assistant platforms can automatically highlight a shopper’s best fit whilst the search feature can be adapted to only display stock that is the right size. Other platforms also learn from shoppers’ previous purchases and ‘likes’ to learn their unique style and augment their experience accordingly.
Sizer’s AI technology and deep-learning algorithms calculate customer’s precise body measurements through its easy-to-use app, providing consumers with a more personalized shopping that helps them find more of what they love, increasing their confidence and simultaneously reducing the time, money and energy used to manage avoidable returns.
For stores that exist online and offline, there is often confusion about what the role of the traditional store should be. Nike’s flagship New York store offers a customer experience designed to create excitement. Other stores have DJs or live demonstrations and personalisation. These events work in conjunction with the online store, to grant virtual shoppers the opportunity to visit the real store and have an unforgettable branded experience.
Besides events, one way to make the physical store and online shopping experience more integrated is to empower staff and shoppers to request items be sent to the high-street store. Staff should be able to order items for shoppers to try on and online shoppers should be able to reserve an item to try before they buy at a local store. Since 2017 Nordstrom has offered a Reserve Online & Try In-Store Service. They found that 80% of shoppers who tried the service once continued to use it.
While different shoppers, particularly in different age brackets, have differing desires to try, before they buy – all shoppers expect a seamless on and offline shopping experience.
Exclusivity and Scarcity
Every shopper wants to own something no one else has. In 2022 H&M launched a limited-edition collaboration with Iris Apfel that secured press coverage and triggered sales. By creating exclusive lines that are limited, and therefore likely to sell out quickly, brands can trigger excitement.
To be clear: Scarcity is the phenomenon where, when a product is limited in availability and becomes more attractive to buyers. It taps into the human FOMO (fear of missing out) and can be seen online everywhere from booking hotel rooms to dating apps.
Brands can create genuine scarcity by launching limited-edition lines and generating excitement and anticipation up to the launch date. Alternatively, they can trigger a sense of scarcity by listing stock numbers and making shoppers aware that if they don’t buy it now, they could easily miss out.
Fashion brands face a challenging year ahead and to come out on top they have to adapt to the changing environment. These changes can be big, like changing a company’s sustainability pledge or small like introducing online stock counts. But, knowing the consumer and making the changes that will most appeal to them is key. Boosting revenues and scaling up in 2022 requires a combination of innovation, creativity and insight. The companies that adapt now will be the brands that shape the future of online retail.