Following two of the most important weeks in the fashion and retail calendar, Paris Fashion Week and London Fashion Week, we have been inspired to look at how some brands are becoming more customer focused. It’s no secret that the retail sector is changing at a rapid pace; faster than ever before in fact. As James Mullan of GDR Creative Intelligence states ‘Retail is going to change more in the next five years than it has in the last fifty’ (GDR Creative) and this isn’t limited to retail. The brands that adapt and change will be the leaders in the industry, marrying product innovation directly with customers and social.
7 years ago when creator of The Cambridge Satchel Company, Julie Deane OBE, was launching her satchel brand, she used bloggers and social media channels to promote her products. In 2010, Julie sent her bags to bloggers who were attending London Fashion Week, with the idea that they would all be photographed by the media wearing her satchels. She was right, and her production steadily climbed from three bags a week to nearly a hundred. Stunning images on social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram show how wearable the product is and features bloggers from all over the world wearing the bags and accessories.
Omni-channel retailing is providing the customer with an integrated shopping experience, moving seamlessly between shopping online on a desktop, tablet, or phone, and bricks and mortar stores. Shopping has never been more integrated and easy to do, because of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the amount of information companies are collecting and effectively using. GDR Creative Intelligence founder, Kate Ancketill, discussed how there is no bigger subject at the moment than the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the Big Show in January 2017. Experience and customer engagement is winning over everything, consumers want to feel involved and immerse themselves in a shopping experience.
We saw this from the likes of Victoria’s Secret at London Fashion Week, they have an online hub with a comprehensive offering of Apps and social media to involve the customer in fashion and buying experiences. They have created a huge social media following and used the likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid to promote their brand and social media channels, with models engaging with consumers more and more using online video such as Snapchat and Instagram. Not only this, brands, models and influencers are using their social media channels to launch communication campaigns to reinforce their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). During New York Fashion Week, we saw Planned Parenthood pink badges everywhere, with the slogan ‘Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood’ to raise awareness for the non-for profit organisation and show support. Brands are aware that consumers are increasingly interested in where their products are coming from, where they are manufactured, and how ethical they are.
We see the likes of Missguided stores targeting social media users with their first flagship store, which is fun and interactional, and designed by leading design consultancy Dalziel & Pow. Their bricks and mortar stores use mannequins that look like unicorns and display cool polaroid photos around the stores. It features a bright pink monster truck, and their launch night served cocktails with names like ‘Unicorn Dreams’ and ‘Cup of Slay’, feeding into current trends. In an age where everything is documented on personal social media channels, it’s brands like this that are moving with the technological and social changes, tapping into emerging trends and emerging generations, that will stay relevant.
Get excited about emerging trends, social media and innovation, take a look at some of the most sought after industry influencers on the planet for your event or conference;
Kate speaks at conferences around the world, encouraging big retailers to be as excited about innovation as she is
James helps clients and consumers identify shifting and emerging trends in people’s behaviours and attitudes, and their evolving relationships with brands and retailers.
Sahar founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m.
With just £600 to her name and the unerring support of her mother, Julie has succeeded in creating a business worth in excess of £40million in just under 5 years.
Green & Black’s was started with just £20,000 of Josephine’s savings, and has grown into a brand worth approaching £100 million worldwide in less than 20 years.
Cate has helped brands such as Chanel, Galeries Lafayette, Marks & Spencer, Metro Group, Samsung, House of Fraser, Lego and EE innovate and create world-leading retail ecosystems.
Images: Forbes & Missguided