Building Trust With the Hardest Consumers: Trend Consumers
No doubt, the fashion industry moves fast. What was in yesterday is old news today.
Gone are the days when designers stuck to one line for each season. With new trends constantly popping up, designers are modifying accordingly. But how can you blame them when the pressure to stay relevant in this ever-evolving industry remains high?
The “trend consumer,” in particular, thrives on this speed — following fashion daily and understanding today’s look and tomorrow’s movement. And with companies operating on a business model of low quality and high volume, fast-fashion merchandise is priced lower than the competition. This strategy triggers the need to buy as much as possible as quickly as possible.
A trend consumer, however, presents a good opportunity to establish brand loyalty. If you can understand what that customer likes, then your product offering is going to be ahead of the game. As valuable as these consumers can be, keeping their interest isn’t always easy.
In Elizabeth Cline’s book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” she explains that a designer’s fashion calendar is set up to deliberately make the customer feel off-trend after the first wear. According to Cline, companies like Zara are attracting the attention of trend consumers with new deliveries to stores coming in twice per week. Other companies — such as Topshop — are introducing around 400 new styles per week on their websites.
With information like this, it can be intimidating to pursue this fickle target, but it’s important to remember that it’s not impossible. It just takes a little finesse.
How to Attract the Trend Consumer
Your success in fast fashion will be defined by how well you can give the trend consumer what she’s looking for tomorrow today. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Keep your customer informed. Customers want to know the where, when, and who of your products. Providing insight into the designers and product makers is important because it creates a stronger sense of brand loyalty.
- Implement social into your brand. When it comes to marketing, social media is your best friend — providing immediate feedback on what’s attracting your customer. For example, online clothing boutique Shopatrend leverages its fashion sense to gain a following through its Instagram page. Photos showcase the stylish lifestyle that customers aspire to have while effectively conveying an overall sense of the company’s personality.
- Give your customers exposure. In the “selfie” age, people love attention. Online jewelry retailer BaubleBar, for example, uses customers’ selfies to display merchandise on its homepage.
Similarly, retailer Urban Hilton Weiner gave customers a $10 coupon if they tweeted a selfie of themselves trying on clothes using the hashtag #urbanselfie. This campaign not only encouraged more people to visit its stores, but it also capitalized on the popularity of the selfie.
- Track customer activity. Systems such as Listrak track customers so you can stay connected to their wants. Based on products viewed, your website can personalize a customer’s shopping experience to highlight her areas of interest.
Retail giant Forever 21 takes this one step further by sending out emails notifying a customer when an item is left in her cart. You can easily emulate Forever 21’s method in your small business, ensuring that time is optimized rather than wasted.
- Establish a flash-sale model. Online shopping website Gilt uses a flash-sale model to establish brand loyalty by instilling a sense of FOMO — fear of missing out. Because the sales only last for a limited amount of time, they attract the fast-paced trend consumer.
Attracting trend consumers to your small business and keeping them can seem like a daunting task, but these methods will help you establish trust with your trend consumer, increasing her likelihood to stay. If you can get your customer to come back, it’s more likely she’ll be with you for life — and that’s what it’s all about, right?
Contributed by Clay Bethune, a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of 9th & Elm. Clay has been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years and has started and sold many businesses in various industries. His passion is taking an idea from a simple concept and turning it into a profitable endeavor. He’s constantly working on perfecting efficient processes and loves problem solving, all things “startup,” and brainstorming with young entrepreneurs about the next big thing. Clay is married to Elly, his business partner and co-founder of 9th & Elm.
Photo Credit: Photo provided by Social Monsters with permission to share.