Digital natives already marked it in their agenda, the Fashion Talks’ breakout session on online luxury branding hosted by Online Heroes, in collaboration with Peter Pilotto’s team! Online Heroes focuses on e-commerce for fashion brands. We asked CEO Robert Sangers and head of branding & pr Stefanie Stroop which marketing & sales trends will play a key role within the online fashion industry in 2020.
On 21 November Flanders DC organises Fashion Talks, the most relevant conference about the fashion industry and how it really works and evolves, giving you a view behind the scenes of one of the most inspiring industries.
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1. Shift towards s-commerce
2020 is lurking around the corner, have you spotted any emerging trends in the past weeks and months that will become booming business next year?
Stefanie: Certainly, over the past few months we have seen many social media channels making the shift towards online commerce. While most brands still use social media as a tool to create brand awareness, these channels are increasingly acquiring features that enable conversion on the platform itself. Take Instagram Checkout for example, an addition to the current shopping opportunities within the app, which will soon not only allow us to see the cost of a certain product, but also make it possible to buy it without having to exit the app. A channel that should not be underestimated, especially for brands that focus on fast moving products and Generation Z.
Robert: Social media will therefore evolve into fully fledged sales channels by 2020. However, as a side note we need to mention that although these platforms are perfect for micro conversions like adding to the shopping bag, subscribing to the newsletter or activating a promotion, the same does not apply for up- and cross-selling. So it's not a question of replacement but of reinforcement, where s-commerce offers advantages for app users as well as brands, and performs best in combination with other sales channels such as your online store.
"Social media channels are focussing more and more on online commerce, with features that enable conversion on the platform itself."
2. Live storytelling encourages ‘see now, buy now’
Speaking of social media, do you think they will unleash a further disruption of the fashion industry in 2020?
Robert: Well, in any case, social media have caused a change in the way we shop online, discover new brands and products, and communicate with brands. They’ve introduced a more inclusive approach into the exclusive world of fashion. By definition, fashion is an emotional purchase, driven by things like look & feel good, fun and enthusiasm. Apps like WeChat are eager to take advantage of this by deploying this ‘see now, buy now’ principle in their live streams. Remember their campaign where celebrities took their followers behind the scenes on the Cannes Film Festival and showed their makeup routines and moments on the red carpet? A perfect example of taking entertainment to the next e-commerce level, since potential customers can virtually share the moment AND instantly buy what they see.
Stefanie: According to us, the phenomenon of live storytelling is a trend which smaller brands can perfectly integrate into their own marketing plan for 2020. Let influencers and team members live stream your next event to grow your reach and spread your brand story. At this point it is important though, to be able to effectively convert these viewers into leads and even paying customers.
3. Viva visual search and Pinterest
One social medium we haven’t touched yet, is Pinterest. Do you think it’s worthwhile for brands to invest in Pinterest in 2020?
Stefanie: Of course! When you consider that there are about 600 million Pinterest searches every month, you know that channel has become one big, visual search engine. Talking about visual content, we’re immediately thinking of the fashion sector, where visuals are the best way to bring new products and styles to the market. Also, the Pinterest team hasn’t been idle lately and with Lens by Pinterest they have a strong trend at hand. The Pinterest Lens allows users to focus their camera on any object after which they will be flooded with ideas, inspiration and products. Applied to our industry, this could be used for street style shots when the user wants to know how to create a certain look and where to shop it. A fun and easy shopping experience for the user, but also a great way for brands and retailers to reach new potential customers and generate more income.
4. Personalization as key asset for your online store
When we make the crossover from social media to the online store, what would you recommend fashion brands to invest in when looking at next year?
Stefanie: One trend that clearly stands out is personalization. In this regard, I’d first like to talk about fashion itself, since fashion has more than ever become a matter of expressing your personal identity. Especially younger consumers (an interesting target audience for lots of brands) are increasingly looking for customizable, unique pieces which they can tailor to their own personal style.
Robert: And that’s just the beginning. Where marketing used to be all about a one-size-fits-all approach, we’re now realizing this is not enough. Although 77% off the marketers believe that real-time personalization is crucial to future-proof their business, only 60% succeeds to do so today. That’s an alarming number, especially since we at Online Heroes know the possibilities and opportunities that lie in personalization. Everything starts with getting to know your customer, and data are the main driver behind this process that is evolving from CRM to CDP, the so-called customer data platform. These data provide valuable insights into your customers, their preferences, shopping behavior but above all, allow you to use this info to send concrete and effective content to turn occasional into loyal customers and create more effective content that will generate more income.
"Everything starts with getting to know your customer, and data are the main driver behind this process that is evolving from CRM to CDP, the so-called customer data platform."
5. The future of influencer and user-generated content
You were just talking about content. In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of influencers dominating the fashion scene. How do you think this phenomenon will evolve in the coming months?
Stefanie: User-generated content, whether by influencers or not, is not dead yet, quite the contrary! Research shows that user-generated content is much more positively received than, let’s say, typical advertising campaigns or celebrity stylings. In recent years however, some influencers have evolved towards stardom, which makes their content less credible. For this reason, we noticed that brands are shifting their attention to micro influencers and customers. These images are not only perceived as more real, natural and original, but also stimulate a strong loyalty and reach more potential customers. Although this is certainly not new within the fashion industry, we feel it is not easy for brands to set up an effective ambassador program in which customers are eager to act as storytellers for the brand.
Curious to know how your brand can implement these trends? Stefanie and Robert are more than happy to answer all your questions during their breakout session‘Digital Luxury Branding: How high-end brands position online’ on Fashion Talks!