A different price band of clothing demands a different approach to marketing. The main reason for this is that there is a differing idea of what a customer expects from a premium brand than a lower-priced brand. What does this mean for their marketing strategies? In this article, we explore the differences in approach.
Where the fashion industry stands
Let’s look at the current field for the fashion industry. With the introduction of e-commerce, shopping through social media, and a rise in technology-driven customers in recent years, the fashion industry has experienced a shift. So, what are some of the main issues of the sector today?
Looking at The State of Fashion Report 2018, we can see some of the most noteworthy changes in the industry:
- Personalisation — More customers are looking for products that no one else has through customisable, unique or limited-edition products.
- More demanding — Customers are becoming more demanding based on what they want from fashion retailers — convenience, quality, values orientation, newness, and price.
- Influenced by peers — With the use of social media still prominent, customers are becoming more influenced by what they see and read online. They readily share peer-to-peer information, reviews, and opinions. In fact, 55% of consumers purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews and 74% of customers’ purchase decisions are influenced by social media.
- Lower brand loyalty — As the ability to compare brands becomes easier, customers are less loyal than they once were. One statistic reveals that among millennials, two-thirds are willing to switch brands for a discount of 30% or more.
Between customer demands and environmental concerns, what are the top points for fashion brands to look out for?
- Quicker supply chain — Retailers in the industry are running at an accelerated pace, as they try and reduce the time taken for a garment to go from design to customer. The digital consumer is becoming accustomed to next-day deliveries and instantaneous access to product ranges online — and brands must find a way to keep up.
- The problem with fast fashion — One topic that’s on the lips of members of the government and eco-conscious individuals is ‘fast-fashion’. This is where consumers purchase a low-cost fashion item, wear it once or twice and then throw it out. Often, these garments are not recycled, and this is a growing concern.
- A focus on sustainability — Clothing retailers now realise their responsibility to be eco-friendly. With the growing problem of ‘fast-fashion’ becoming a widely discussed issue, it’s important for brands to make changes. We can expect sustainability to become an integral part of the supply chain and operations planning systems in the coming years too.
The main difference between premium and low-cost sectors of the fashion industry revolves around the online world. Currently luxury brands are still relatively focused on face-to-face interactions. To extend their reach further, premium brands are collaborating with alternative platforms and broadening their target market online.
Over with low-priced brands, the online world has so many online-only shops. These differentiate through celebrity endorsements, unique product categories, and through social media. In this sector, customers are less focused on the brand and more on the price — in fact, evidence shows that customers are less brand loyal than they once were, and low-cost fashion brands know this too well.
Both premium brands and lower-priced brands are catering to the fashion industry, so there are bound to be some similarities to their approach in marketing. One such shared goal concerns their customer relationships.
Brand loyalty is important to premium brands, so they focus heavily on building a customer rapport. They do this by taking the time to understand their audience. It’s important for premium brands to build up long-lasting relationships with their customers, and they do this by taking the time to understand their audience. Trilogy Stores, specialists in premium straight legged jeans, say: “An important part of our business is truly understanding our customer through the one-on-one relationships they have with our stylists. This allows us to tailor new brands towards their needs and develop our premium ranges further in relation to what we know about them. For example, our ‘Only at Trilogy’ designs are designed in partnership with our best brands to create exclusive styles to us in the UK. This keeps our customers brand loyal”.
Premium brands are increasing their online presence, but they maintain their need for physical stores. Therefore, they must understand the importance of customer service and experience. Often a tailored service is provided, with employees offering a personal shopping service for those who visit and taking the time to understand what the customer is looking for. Premium customers often enjoy a sensory experience too. An example of this is Rolls Royce who diffuses a blend of mahogany wood, leather, and oil for their cars. When potential buyers sit in the model, they’re overwhelmed with the nostalgic smells.
Low-cost brands prefer to build short-term relationships. This is done through social media influencers and celebrity endorsements. These marketing techniques bring the brand onto the customer’s feed without them fully realising it. However, the same influencer could promote another brand’s clothing after six-month and this could lead to the customer’s loyalty to stray. One of the main things that these brands compete on is price, and they must be innovative in how they present this to the customer. For example, one online womenswear retailer offered a ‘minimum wage’ category where everything was £7.50 to appeal to their younger market.
The industry has certainly evolved over the last ten years, and it will no doubt continue to change its approach. Premium and low-cost fashion brands must keep in mind that, although they operate in the same industry, the way that they connect with their customers is entirely different.
This article was researched and created by velvet jeans retailer, Trilogy Stores.