How digital marketing is transforming the fashion industry

Like most industries around the world, the fashion industry is being heavily influenced by global digitisation. Digital transformation means that fashion brands can no longer be passive and the industry as a whole is undergoing large-scale changes as a direct result of the rise of technology and its impact on consumer behaviour.

Fashion brands must move with the times in order to keep up. Those that choose to embrace digital transformation and the opportunities it offers will thrive. Those that don’t may find themselves left behind. The fashion industry covers a huge range of business models, from large global discount retailers to exclusive luxury brands to boutique stores found in some of the world’s biggest and smallest towns and cities.

Digital marketing

Fashion is a key driver of the global economy and has an impact on many of the things we see around us. From interior design to website design, the latest fashions trickle down through many other industries. Many of the world’s leading fashion brands, however, are lagging behind when it comes to digital transformation, and in particular, digital marketing.

Brands are failing to move with their customer’s expectations. No longer are customers happy to be passive purchasers of fashion items. They want a fully immersive experience that often begins online. The growth in the use of digital technology has empowered consumers to expect more. Instead of passively purchasing products, they want to be immersed and involved in every step of that buyer journey. They want to be entertained, informed and educated and they want to be taken on a journey with the brand before they even add anything to their cart or think about heading to the checkout.

The shift in consumer behaviour

One of the biggest challenges for fashion brands is the shift in consumer behaviour. Social media in particular has become a hugely influential factor, not only for fashion brands but for consumers themselves.

People care how they look, both out in public and on social media. Not only do they care about how they look, but they also care about the perception of the goods they buy and own. This means that digital platforms such as social media and brand websites have become an integral part of the buyer journey, something that was not as important a decade ago.

Consumers have access to a lot more information when it comes to making informed purchase decisions and they are taking to digital platforms to research their purchase decisions across all industries including the fashion industry. Digital marketing is opening up new opportunities for fashion brands to interact with their customers and to provide a whole new level of customer service and experience.

Fashion brands that are thriving in this environment are the ones that are moving away from a product focus to becoming a brand that considers the needs of their customers and enables them to make informed decisions through the content they serve across their multiple digital channels.

Learning from other industries

There is much the fashion industry can learn from brands across other industries that have successfully made a digital transformation. Many of these brands are in industries where the customer experience was typically an in-store experience. Think about the way we used to shop 20 years ago. There was less opportunity to browse and research the latest fashions. We relied on magazines and catalogues and even then, it was difficult to compare or to see items from multiple brands in one place.

One of the industries to successfully make the switch is casinos and online sports betting brands. Typically, you would need to visit a casino or a bookie if you wanted to place a bet, however, the rise in online gaming opened up new opportunities, not only for existing brands but for new players to enter the market. One of these brands is Betway Online Casino and sports betting. They have embraced the opportunities that digital marketing channels present, growing their business online not only in the UK but around the world. They have supplemented their digital activity with strategic partnerships and sponsorship agreements, helping to grow their brand awareness and online presence.

There is much the fashion industry can learn from these successful digital transformations, however, it is also a unique industry that faces different challenges from many other industries.

Managing the brand and reputation

One of the biggest challenges faced by fashion brands is bridging the digital divide. It has often taken years for a brand to build up their reputation, however, it can only take a short time to destroy it if the digital transformation is not managed properly.

Taking the plunge into the digital world brings with it new challenges for fashion brands. With more consumer channels to managed and the “always on” nature of social media, the risks to the business are much faster than in the past. Whilst the broader geographical reach is one of the appeals of going digital, it is also one of the drawbacks as you now have to managed multiple time zones, not to mention language barriers and other regulations across different markets.

Managing the digital transformation for fashion brands is not as straightforward as it might seem, however, those that successfully manage it are reaping the benefits. Brand and reputation must be at the forefront of any digital transformation and your move into the digital world needs to be strategically planned and executed.

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About the Author

Stella Cooter

Journalist, traveller and mother, Stella writes about fashion and style, luxury and adventure.

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