For all brands working with fashion and luxury, success is all about being exclusive. The creation of a distinctive image is the key to be recognized as the top choice. But the passion for fashion is unstable and tastes evolve with society and new technologies.
Now the fashion industry is on the verge of its biggest revolution. Digital screens and mobile devices have changed customers' needs and desires: as fashion customer experience goes digital, businesses need to evolve to keep pace with clients. Are you ready?
When you think of fashion brands, you might believe it's still all about cutting and sewing, runway shows and glossy magazines. While setting trends is - of course - the main focus of companies dealing with the fashion, luxury and beauty market, in the last few years the experience of shopping has completely changed.
The traditional retail store is shaken by the worldwide competition of E-Commerce firms. Online shopping is slowly - but gradually - replacing the traditional search and browse for clothes and accessories. As a consequence, all fashion companies become - whether they like it or not - digital players in a digital arena.
Digital Customer Experience is now widely accepted as top priority if you want to overcome the challenge of digital transformation. The sense of exclusivity and uniqueness of your brand is built through the years with an exclusive and unique customer experience<.
In markets where the buying power is put to serious test by less favorable economic conditions, there will always be a competitor offering the same product to lower prices. Price, thus, can’t be considered the key driver of differentiation, growth and profitability.
In the same way, you should not overrate the power of products, promotions and places. In the Age of the Customer, we are facing a top-down revolution: customers discover and share differently, using the smartphone to keep all information needed in their hands.
The smartphone becomes the true first screen, and the connection between companies and customers is more and more mediated by mobile devices. This is even more true for fashion brands, whose true 'raison d'être' is precisely the emotional engagement of loyal customers.
The fashion industry shares the same difficulty all other retailers face when dealing with empowered clients of the Age of the Customer: the necessity to improve the retail experience, translating the in-store involvement to the online environment and merging both into an innovative, and more compelling omni-channel customer experience.
Traditional companies, rooted in the analog way of thinking, usually adapt at a slow pace: this is one of the main reasons why the fashion industry has been slower than other industries to adopt new strategies to attract customers (and increase sales). Some still believe that their storytelling and brand identity are more than enough to ensure success.
Wrong. The spread of mobile devices has totally changed the scenario: new information technologies have enabled customers to evaluate fashion customer experience as a complex journey made of physical and digital touch points.
In the near future, the mobile mind shift could have serious consequences for brick-and-mortar stores:
Redefine the in-store shopping experience, promoting the use of technology as a way to create an integrated experience.
Design all channels as part of an holistic structure, relying on the Internet connectivity as a starting point to reach customers everywhere they are.
Take advantage of all different touch points - digital and analog - to foster loyalty and retention, including social networks.
If you want to differentiate yourself from the rest, you have to anticipate customer aspirations by delivering enthralling experiences on all screens, while maintaining an intimate connection with your brand.
You can spend huge budgets in advertising, you can gather all sorts of data about your clients, but if you can’t deliver an improved experience, you will slowly fade away. Replaced by someone who does understand the value of ‘digital’ and ‘mobile’ in the creation of a customer journey map for the new generations.
What should you do to interest digital customers with your fashion customer experience?
DELIVER YOUR BRAND PROMISE
The creation of amazing experiences is not a simply a matter of filling the missing spots in the customer journey; it is about understanding needs, desires and motivations and designing an experience that best convey your true why.
CREATE A BRANDED EXPERIENCE
The essence of your brand should resonate across all elements that create your identity. Start with touch points and align your organization to empower employees to bring the branded experience to life.
DELIVER PERSONALIZED CONTENT
Your engagement strategy should offer a sense of exclusivity; leverage technology to best meet your brand requirements, personalize contents and innovate the shopping experience.
Above all, always stay digitally exclusive! App, Wearables, iBeacon, Apple Watch, mobile payments, digital showroom: you can deliver on the promise of exclusivity with digital only if you stay current on mobile innovations and talk the same digital language your customers talk.
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