Fashion is one of the most dynamic consumptions that require constant relevance and effective delivery. The consumers of fashion products are usually diverse and fragmented with high expectations and little patience for brands that cannot keep up. Therefore, to remain afloat and maintain a competitive edge in the fashion industry, the brands have to constantly adapt to the evolving consumer needs, marketing technology as well as cultural influences. This essay will explore the current fashion marketing trends, identify two most critical trends that will still be relevant in the next five years and finally examine their importance, challenges and impacts they will have on international business growth.
Social media channels are without a doubt one of the biggest and most powerful fashion marketing trends whose performance has been consistent since the dawn of digital marketing. According to Burberry, in 2014, the first big fashion house to live-stream its catwalk shows on the social media and which has over 40million followers across the twenty social media platforms had its online sales accounting for 6% of the total $250 billion revenue, a percentage that has been on the rise since then (Katie, 2017). The most important thing about that statistic is that even the remaining 94% sales taking place in shops, in the research that involved analysis of 7000 shoppers, 75% of these purchases were highly influenced by the social media content the consumers were exposed to (Katie, 2017). The effectiveness of the social media marketing is due to the fact that, on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, it is easier to build an emotional connection with the consumers. The consumer preferences are shifting from corporate feel, which appears cold, to brands that have a human feel. This has been effectively been accomplished through social media third-party endorsement by popular bloggers, journalists and even celebrity (Kirsty, 2017).
The efficiency of social media channels marketing will not be fully achieved without addressing the growing customer urges for excellent store experience. Major retail brands such as Topshop and Dior, Fashion Weeks catwalk events, and luxury smartwatch stores are increasingly adopting Virtual Reality technology in fashion marketing to increase both scope and profits through superior customer experience. Consumer studies show that personalizing a shopping experience is much more effective than having a wow factor attached to it. Virtual reality does just that. According to Avex (2017), Rebecca Minkoffs sales records show that since the incorporation of the virtual reality technology, magic mirrors, in their stores, the sales have increased by about 50% annually from 2014. With help from this technology, customers do not have to try different outfits ten times just to get the one that fits them right. Virtual fitting, installed in dressing rooms as mirrors, allows the customer to view different outfits by simply swiping without wearing the outfit. Additionally, with this technology, the client can get the store experience from anywhere in the world and this creates perfect refreshing ways of brand-consumers direct engagement. Therefore, investing in virtual reality technology has already proved to be an effective marketing tool. Fashion brands that will invest in the trend will realize the full value of their investment (Awane, 2017).
Although technology has been an effective tool for the fashion marketers, the access to ever-growing amounts of data is also becoming a challenge for the brands marketing departments. According to D'Adamo (2017), over a third of the brands in existence today, have not been able to use enough of the pool data available to them to increase customer engagement or track their target customers journey. This will be a great challenge for the in-store retail shops since the world is moving to big data where measurement of data and analytics perspective will be vital for the long-term consumer lifecycle management. As the technology advances in future, more and more consumer data will be available and this will change the current challenge to a threat for a third of the brands which cannot even use the consumer data for marketing.
Another challenge that is already and will continue to be critical in the future of fashion marketing is the social responsibility. According to Noemie (2017), over 85% of the millennials today correlate their purchasing decision on the social responsibility efforts the particular brand is making. They are ready to recommend the brand to their peers if its goals are towards the social good. This means that the brands will have to shift their marketing strategies towards social responsibility, which is not only budget intensive but also vulnerable to social networks that have made it possible for the consumers to share their views on a particular brand.
Despite the mentioned challenges, social media channels and virtual reality marketing tools will have a great positive impact on the international business growth. For the social media marketing, the major impact on international businesses will be the globalization of both fashion brand and the business closely connected to the fashion industry. Because of social media platforms ability to reach the global audience, fashion brands that were previously limited to a smaller geographical location will now get exposed to international markets and this will give them an opportunity to carry out trade worldwide, which ultimately lead to increased sales.
For the virtual reality marketing, the main impact will be an expanded global client base for the brands. According to Peggs (2017), the VRs potential to generate $ 1 billion more in 2017 than the previous years is going to steadily phase out the traditional 2-Dimensional e-commerce applications currently dominating online international businesses today. Another impact of VR trend will be the growth of the wearable technology industry itself. (Gartner, 2017) stipulates that sales from wearable devices generated total revenue of $28.7 billion from the sale of estimated 15 million VR units worldwide in 2016 alone. With the same report predicting a sale of about 22.5 million VR units for retail use only by the year 2018, this trend will not only boost the sales for retailers but also enhance peoples lives globally by creating more jobs in the fashion and complementary industries.
From the above analysis of the major fashion marketing trends, it is clear that the future of fashion consumption will be greatly be influenced by the growing need for improved customer experience through technological innovations. Therefore to survive in the fashion market, it will essential for the brands, small or big, to adjust to these trends as soon as possible.
Awane, J. (2017). 4 Reasons Why Fashion Brands Are Adopting Virtual Reality.. HuffPost Canada. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/awane-jones/virtual-reality-fashion_b_10069340.html
Avex. (2017).How Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Change the Future of Marketing. (2017). Marketing And Growth Hacking. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://blog.markgrowth.com/how-augmented-and-virtual-reality-will-change-the-future-of-marketing-36c2ff1f8c8
D'Adamo, A. (2017). The Biggest Challenges Facing Fashion Marketers Today | WMI. Womensmarketing.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://www.womensmarketing.com/blog/the-biggest-challenges-facing-fashion-marketers-today-wmi
Gartner Says Worldwide Wearable Devices Sales to Grow 18.4 Percent in 2016. (2017). Gartner.com. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3198018
Katie, H.(2017).How social media is transforming the fashion industry. BBC News. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35483480
Kirsty, O.(2017).Fashion marketing trends: what's hot next season?. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://www.homeagency.co.uk/blog/pr/fashion-marketing-whats-hot-next-season/
Noemie, B.(2017).Fashion & Technology | The challenges of future Fashion | futur404. futur404. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://futur404.com/future-of-fashion/
Peggs, M. (2017). Is Virtual Reality The Future Frontier For Ecommerce? -. Ezsitebuilders.com. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from http://www.ezsitebuilders.com/blog/virtual-reality-future-frontier-ecommerce/
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