Today, with shoppers highly dependent on the internet for all their needs, it has become imperative for fashion brands to pursue digital strategies.
When fashion brands were launched in the market, they were built on exclusivity. They combined traditional sales and distribution channels with direct-to-consumer channels like self-branded stores to reach out to consumers. Digital media was not active then and the brands were able to strike a chord with the Indian consumers via traditional mediums such as television, radio and outdoor media. However, today with over 450 mn internet users and 80% of the internet consumption done through mobile phones, India is sitting on the cusp of digital revolution. This revolution has touched all aspects of the life such as banking, fashion and retail, eating out, booking movie tickets, education and healthcare.
For brands, staying out of the online fray meant staying behind of shoppers and investors. Today, with shoppers highly dependent on the internet for all their needs, it has become imperative for fashion brands to pursue digital strategies. They realised that by diving into digitalization, they will not only be able to connect to consumers in an efficient manner but also attract more sales. The digital tools and platforms combined with powerful data analytics enable brands to directly engage with customers, improve their shopping experience, and gain valuable data at every point of their shopping. Brands that were solely depended on brick-and-mortar realised the need to step into the digital arena and create new revenue channels.
While the developed markets have already tested the digital waters with leading global brands adopting ‘Digital First’ strategies, developing countries like India is slowly inching towards digital strategies. Fashion and beauty retailer ASOS had started online first. ASOS built a robust brand, and then expanded to physical stores. Going digital is slowly becoming a norm for fashion brands. For instance, leading sportswear brand Adidas has decided to focus their marketing strategies to digital channels only. Digital has thus enabled people to shop with a click of a few buttons on their phones, without having to visit a physical store! Indians from far-flung corners of the country are now able to access local and international brands, choose from a variety of styles and get them delivered right at their doorsteps.
The shop that never closes
Brands are now reimagining their marketing and sales strategies and engaging customers on the digital medium. They are looking beyond traditional retail formats and television advertising to attract digitally-savvy customers. Buyers now look forward for a reliable, friendly and efficient service that enables them to shop anytime, anywhere. A majority of the population, especially millennials, consume most of the information online, which means brands need to leverage this opportunity and create consumer journeys online. Brands need to create strong digital experiences, continue to attract new customers and gain their loyalty. According to a McKinsey study, more offline customers are shifting online with younger and more digital-oriented shoppers joining the ranks of these consumers each year.
Brands can pursue consumers in various ways online. They can do so by creating engaging content on social media. The content offered should be interactive and allow consumers to communicate with the brand and provide suggestions and feedback for improvement. Done effectively, social media-driven engagement efforts can help build brand loyalty and drive direct-to-consumer sales. These brands should be able to monitor the shopping preferences and patterns of consumers, spending abilities, geography and churn out strategies accordingly. This will enable the brands to customise their products in line with customer needs and help build the brand faster. For fashion brands, having a digital platform has become the need of the hour. In fact, the future can see brands going digital first and then expanding their services offline. In the end, it is all about getting closer to consumers and enabling them to recall the brand at the time of purchase.