We’ve all been down the YouTube rabbit hole when what starts out as a simple search for a how to video winds up becoming a two hour binge. With more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube each day and even more people watching video daily through Facebook, these binges are quickly becoming one of the most successful means of marketing. Consumers are now 85% more likely to buy a product viewed through this media and with video posts gaining a much greater organic reach that photo posts on social media, retailers should definitely be taking advantage of this.
With the recent introduction of Instagram TV, it’s now easier than ever to produce and test content with minimal investment. Although it is important to see strategy works for your brand and your target demographic, remember that this channel is an extension of your brand so you want your content to be authentic and not feel forced. Whilst many retailers are recognising the importance of this outlet and producing professional, relatable posts, others are completely reaching. Let’s be real, nobody wants to see the fifteen different ways you can style a shirt, especially when thirteen of them are completely unwearable.
This is not a means of hard selling so shouldn’t be used to force product onto customers in an obvious, tacky way. Instead, you should use the opportunity to create a feeling, elicit an emotion and create a rapport between the brand and the customer.
Consumers are savvy, they don’t look for good products anymore, they look for good companies. Successful companies use branding to extend feelings, experiences and missions. Don’t be afraid to have personality, to show what your brand stands for. Fashion and politics have always been consciously ket as separate entities, but in the current climate, tasteful, intelligent campaigns can work to acquire a lifelong customer base. Of course I don’t mean that you should be shouting about Brexit or sharing selfies from the picket lines at anti-trump rallies, but if for example your brand believes in female empowerment, don’t be afraid to chime in on the #metoo movement, or dedicate posts to inspirational women. If you are in fact anti Brexit or anti Trump, use your platforms to tactfully highlight the importance of immigration in your business. Tell a story, show the diversity of your team, tell the customer how important skilled workers from overseas are in the manufacturing of their clothes. Subtly, you can voice your views and produce an authentic insight into your brand which customers will appreciate.
The importance of experience and affinity shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to retail, especially with online brands. We all remember the Abercrombie phenomenon of the early 00’s and although most of us will admit we bought into it, how many of us can say that we actually liked the brand? Let’s be honest, it was the experience that drove us into those stores. The dark lights, hot models, crazy loud music and amazing smell which wafted through the air as you walked in. We bought into the experience as they were offering something that you couldn’t get anywhere else on the high street. There’s a valuable lesson to learn here. In such a competitive somewhat fickle industry, buying into a brand goes deeper than the product, it transcends into a lifestyle. Are you a streetwear brand obsessed with gigs and festivals? Why not offer a downloadable playlist?
Are you a sustainable, ethical brand? Why not work with a local charity or set up a relevant scheme to help a community which is important to you and your company? With more and more of the high street giants becoming environmentally-friendly and opting into ethical recycling schemes, being “conscious” is increasingly becoming a basic requirement for successful brands, so make sure that you are offering something which makes yours stand out.
Despite the perceived growth of online shopping, it is still only 11% of retail. Many consumers are still hesitant to purchase online due to trust issues. When ordering from a new site, we all have the following questions running through our heads.
Is the product they will be receiving a good likeness to your imagery?
How can a customer be sure of the quality?
How easy will it be to return the item?
Can they trust the site with their information?
Can they trust that they will receive the product or get their money back?
What is their customer service like?
Is it just easier to pop out to the shop instead of waiting a week for it to arrive?
Where is my item coming from?
Will I get a bill for import duties?
So what can we do to convert consumers with these doubts?
Make policies clear and written in a straightforward conversational tone. We are a generation of demanding consumers who have little to no patience and we skim read everything on policy pages so make them concise and easy to follow.
Offer real time communication and answer queries instantly. Make sure that your site offers instant messaging, that your DM’s are looked at multiple times a day and that you have as much product information available to consumers as possible. This doesn’t have to mean lengthy, fluffy product descriptions especially in such a visual age. Include user generated content, Instagram reviews of product and execute a mobile-first strategy.
Show how your collections work on different shapes and sizes, show the material up close and don’t be afraid to give authentic advice. Does the dress come up small? Tell them. Is there a delay in shipping? Can you offer same day delivery in your area? Shout about it. Don’t be afraid to be friend to your consumer, because ultimately, if they aren’t happy, you will have to deal with heightened returns rates.