The black new feature of today’s customers is that their shoping behavior cannot be predicted as done in the past. And changing customer behaviors requires a change in brands’ communication and marketing strategies, too. Omni channel marketing, at this point, has become the emerging style of way to reach the customer while surrounding him or her via the best timely information and service.
With the help of the advances in especially digital communication ways, customers can experience the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase stages at once no matter the order of them is anymore. They can search for the product they want to buy; or they can just purchase and comment on it even with no pre-purchase phase formed by brand awareness, knowledge, consideration stages on their mind. And here, the fast and quick offerings of mobile applications cannot be underestimated.
According to the MIT’s recent report, “Beyond The Checkout Cart” for the year 2013, there were 1.1 trillion dollars of store sales influenced by the web where 12 billion dollars of retail sales were made on smartphones. Eighty percent of the store shoppers check all the prices online and the e-retail sales in the US were recorded as 252 billion dollars for 2013.
But before summarizing the tips for using apps related experience, it had better to recall the main idea of omni channel marketing: sloting into customers’ feet to be aware of customer needs and ready to meet them. To do so, your brand’s communication strategies must answer the questions like what the usual shopper do during shoping time, what habits he has, what the unmet needs are as well as whether he checked all prices inside or near to the store, whether he shares his wishes or complaints on social media, and so forth.
After considering those points, now the turn is to touch them via your apps to connect customer fastly into your offerings. As Fashionbi experts suggest, mobile apps for omni experience can be divided into three as at store’s window, in store and in fitting room.
To begin with store window experience, apps can be used to provide customers with entertainment and ease due to no salesperson pressure. Here, you might heard of Ray Ban’s virtual mirrors commanded via the touch points on the store windows. As you might remember, it is not an innovative act for the brand because the concept was formerly launched in 2008 to provide brand’s online visitors with trials of the glasses via a cam application in their pc’s. A similar content was offered by Bloomingdale customers while giving them also the printed pictures if they want. In this way, Bloomingdale also provided entertainment during trials according to the comments in the New York Daily News.
The same concept was also used by Tissot collections as well. The brand provided customers with trials of watches without wearing them in 2010 at Selfridges London and in 2011 at Harrods stores’ Windows.
On the other side, there is Triumph offering an innovative experience for its clients in London. This magical omni touch provided the customer to be able to see a real model in the Essence lingerie collection captured on the store window via thie iPads where the lingeries were simply represented on mannequins.
For the in store experience, you can use apps to provide easy product search and easy purchase. It is known that although many shoppers compare products and buy online, some stil prefer to pick up the goods in person from actual stores. For example, Oasis, an clothing brand, uses apps to prevent the customers from waiting in the purchasing queue or the possibility of that garment is not in store at that time. Sales assistants via iPads available on shop flor and changing rooms to check size, colors and styles which are not in the store. With this system they established in 2011, it was recorded that twenty percent of daily purchases became online.
Marks and Spencer’s “At Home” app was again designed to be a free iPad app which was the second app of the brand, and launched in September 2012. The app has focused on home items from M&S catalogue and provided realistic views of how that product would look in customer’s own home. This visual digital journey in the store can also be shared on Facebook or Twitter to ask for a second opinion about the product.
In this way, customers can still maintain their in-store habits while provided with more channels to be integrated with the brand. As Macy’s, one of the leading omni channel using retailers, focuses on, the aim is to “close the gap between, store, desktop and mobile.”
Lastly, the fitting room experience, as its name implies, is simply about innovative approaches for virtual fitting and social shopping in the dressing rooms. In this way, many customers who do not have enough time or who do not want to waste time for trying on off processes can also be satisfied.
With the help of Augmented Reality (AR) and/or Natural User Interface (NUI) Technologies, for instance, customer’s gestures, voice, other natural user face elements can be integrated into the shopping process within an innovative and funny engagement.
In the fitting rooms, customers can find “magic mirrors” which is able to transform into a digital screen to represent multimedia content for different products and ranges. Thanks to RFID (Radio-frequency identification) technology, the RFID labels can be inserted into the garments and the garment related stock and quality kontrol can also be pursued.
Burberry’s biggest flagship store in Asia, at Shangai Kerry Centre, can be shown as a real nice example. As decribed above, customers entering the dressing room is welcome by magic mirrors which helps them to feel special and to integrate with social commerce.
Creating difference for your brand is no more about your products and their simple marketing processes only. You need to put some technological innovation into your marketing paths and come up with new strategies to communicate with your customers. Namely, now it is time for not just communicating with, but also surrounding them as the phrase is. Providing easy, fast, relax and entertaining brand experience to your customers would be the best way as an omni-channel strategy. And the apps would be your hot shot to reach the customers of especially the new generation.
On Fashionbi, March 9th, 2014
The more technological advancements have arisen, the more they are inserted into business and recent business world has gotten to proceed within more mobile and digital year by year. One of the reason behind this drift is of course gettin closer to the customer and, especially in the marketing field, the experts are working on the issue.
Proximity marketing, at this point, enables advertisers to deliver ads, sponsor services, and provide highly relevant offers to consumers using on-location access networks. Also called hyperlocal marketing, this method implies distributing local advertising content to customers via wireless channels, such as wi-fi, Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. In this way, customers who sign up for the service in the related location, start to receive notifications about the advertising operation.
As the industry watchers preconized the year 2010 as “the year of mobile”, retailers started to turn their focal point more on the issue. As it did not exist before by that much, retailers used proximity marketing to make consumers involved and enjoyed more interactively within the offerings they have. So, you can “think of it as taking location-based marketing to an even greater level of “local,” and being contextually relevant in absolute terms. Proximity marketing allows retailers to leverage their strengths and create an even more memorable interaction for consumers and, by extension, motivate return visits and increase ROI.”
To benefit from this service, only equipments required from consumer side include gadgets such as NFC-enabled smartphones, tablets and Internet-enabled GPS tracking devices. Moreover, proximity marketing tools can be traditional as well as mobile networks, Bluetooth and wi-fi radios.
After activating his mobile device, Analog Deficit Disorder (ADD) afflicted consumer is welcomed by a simple wallpaper. Then the retailer starts to affect the consumer by making him involved via the touchpoints within a certain range of approximately 300 feet. In this way, marketing play gets more and more strategic advantage to catch the customer’s attention as well as to send him bite-sized information he could use. Meanwhile, consumer becomes to make more trips to the store having the latest promotion, product or any related info in his fingertips, and simply increase the revenues for the retailer.
Here are some tricky points that retailers should be careful at.
Bluetooth is a short-range transmission and one of the most used medium for proximity marketing. In this way, retailer can send information contents to consumer about coupons, videos, movies and music within no cost to the recipient. However it is also one of the most problematic tool. Due to the security fears, or a desire to save batery life, many users keep their Bluetooth devices in Off mode, or On but not set to be ‘discoverable’. That’s why, the retailer should support its Bluetooth marketing strategy via posters, secreens or sales representatives to suggest people turn on their Bluetooth. On the otherside, the marketing researches say that current mobile phones usually have Bluetooth switched on by default and many users keep their Bluetooth devices on for easy connection with car kits and headsets. However, some implementations may require to run Java applications in devices to be able to receive contents. Moreover, as the diversity of mobile phones is huge, the retailer system using this way of PM should be able to determine the phone model to deliver theproper content automatically.
Proximity marketing helps retailers to engage with the pedestrian customers by diverting their plans while they are just walking. At this point, keeping pace with their quick moves can be supported by NFC based systems as well. Near Field Communication (NFC) tag are embedded in the smart poster or product. Any NFC-enabled consumer device can activate the RFID chip included tag in those smart units by just being placed in close proximity. In this way,consumer would be able to reach any information like product detail, special promotion deals etc. Widely used NFC systems are usually adopted by Japans as psh marketing to allow the consumer making choice of where and when to receive marketing messages. At this point, it had better to recall globally used NFC mobile wallets including Google Wallet and ISIS (mobile payment system).
Lastly, the GSM based systems, or more simply the Short Message Service (SMS) and Cell Broadcast (CB), can be used to allow advertising messages to be broadcast within a specificied geographical area. However, as the audience and industry matter, marketing admin has to bevery careful, short and not exaggerated. Its hould not be forgotten that recent years have been full of spamming complaints about the brands and that’s why many consumer have got to cancel receiving such messages via their GSM operator deals.
In addition to digital advertising distribution ways, retailers can use proximity marketing srategy as a analysis tool as well. They can record all devices identified and/or integrated while analyzing which ads or messages were accepted or not. In this way, prospective marketing strategies of the retailer would be feed and become more effective. Because PM happens in real time, the marketing admin can rapidly interfere to te offerings whle being able to manage and measure its effects in an easier way. So, location based measurements are done more effectively.
Once more, it should not be forgotten that retailers should consider what customer wants before their own expectations. Fascinating technology embedded marketing seems exciting in the first place but it can also be a danger for the brand when it is used as a new spamming way. Thus, it had better to keep in mind that customer would want something distinctive, personal and valuable while developing the proximity strategy. Moreover, as digital communicaions expert Neil Jenkins emphasizes: “The use of phone location technology in smart phones is becoming more popular, and tracking customers through Mobile Applications, Social Networking sites and QR codes offer a far more sophisticated and targeted approach.” So, the optimal approach can be a mix of digital solutions composed of digital marketing and signage supported by social networking and mobile applications.
On Fashionbi.com, February 23rd, 2014
Business Intelligence (BI) is one of all the go phrases of recent years. It can be recalled as a decision mechanism used by middle or large scale businesses to decrease the cost, to realize the opportunities, to solve the problems, to increase the efficiency etc. But the thing to be highlighted is that BI helps top management executives to make instant decisions.
Changing sectors, however, requires changing strategy tools to be used for those decisions. For the fashion industry, which has its own global and intense competition trends, channels have to be managed while providing differentiated, personalized and recognizable customer experience on a worldwide scale. To do that, executives are dealing with huge amount of data through digital, POS, mobile and social media channels and are trying to optimize them.
The BI examples for the fashion industry can be recalled as EDITD, Stylitics, Fashion Snoops and Stylesight in the first place. Among those; EDITD’s starting point is a help for merchandisers and buyers whereas the thing with Stylitics is digital closet helping individuals for their outfit choices. Fashion Snoops was one of the online trend services becoming a trend research and advisory company delivering stlyle related insight to its customers. And Stylesight is offering content and technology solutions for professionals in the style, fashion and design sectors.
At this point, as its offerings are slightly different from others’, Fashionbi serves within a different place for the fashion and luxury business intelligence. While the mission is to empower professionals to make smart decisions in the fashion and luxury industry; Fashionbi helps fashion and luxury goods executives to see how well (or not) their marketing strategies paying off country by country, month by month.
Fashionbi is the first database to track the digital marketing activities of fashion and luxury brands worldwide. Monitoring 3500+ brands in the fashion in the fashion and luxury industry doing marketing research and analysis, Fashionbi team provides knowledge about the best practices and the opportunities for the marketing in EU, US and Asia. Benefiting from Fashionbi starts with the special membership offerred for the directors, C-Levels and the managers. Then the member has an access to exclusive membership program and can get the analysis and publications about the most relevant topics of the marketing, nowadays in EU, US, Asia. Accessing all the database regarding over three thousand of brands in the world, the member can also be asked custom analysis or consultancy support for specific projects and needs.
Beside that remarkable external appearance of the company, the team behind this success is also worthy of commendation. To form an estimate, you can think of a group of smart and sincere fashion experts from multinational backgrounds presided by an innovator who is also an engineer, consultant and lecturer. So, they have formed a dream team as they called themselves. What is more, they make any new member of the company to feel himself as a member of the dream team from the first day of work. Contributing for one year, I can say that the more the new team member is passionate about to learn or add, the more the dream team offers or listens to him. And that is the why the new member can easily reach to the Chairman, Simone Lovati, and benefit from his experience and advices in a very sincere way.
To be closely acquainted with Fashionbi, have a look at my interview made with Mr.Lovati about the Fashionbi, the story behind the dream team and its success.
Bermal Ozbay: What was the starting idea of Fashionbi?
Simone Lovati: It was empowering professionals in the Fashion & Luxury business with numbers and insights. Traditionally these industries are creativity driven. The hyper competition and the fast switching from the product to the consumer experience are increasing the importance of data to understand and track the consumer through his life experiences. The Fashion and Luxury business is no more a product affair is a business model affair based on innovative consumer experiences and rocky branding. Fashionbi is the way to drive the intelligence to the Fashion and Luxury business.
Ozbay: What are the major difficulties that you have faced while starting your business and entering new markets?
Lovati: The same of every innovator. You have no benchmark to copy and improve… We cannot propose to managers and fashion professionals not data, insights and tools we have to run a brand new approach for their business starting from analytics. Sometimes could be tough because you need a lot of time to understand which are the jobs you have to empower and how you can introduce the intelligence value into them.
Ozbay: Fashionbi is a Milan based company but you already opened your second headquarter in Shangai and thirdin Hong Kong. What made you select Asia to focus on next?
Lovati: Our main clients are managers and analysts in the Fashion and Luxury industry where they need intelligence and data we want to be. This is the reason cause we have a team of nine different countries. And in addition to our HQ in Milan we are opened a second Fashionbi HQ in Shanghai to focus only on the Asia Market as the sector gravity slips to Asia.
Ozbay: What are the opportunities for Fashionbi to grow and the threats you think about the stance of Fashionbi? How can we turn it into opportunities?
Lovati: Our mission is empower people in the Fashion and Luxury industry with data and insights. We have already had many challenges to win in the data gathering. Today our data about brands are mainly focusing on the digital media and the annual financials. We are planning data gathering in the pricing and merchandising of Brands, to empower not only the digital marketing, PR and knowledge workers but also retail managers, communication and sales people. The Fashion and Luxury is a fast growing industry, especially in market as China. Our main opportunity is the hunger of knowledge about trends and best practice for the marketing and the retail. Data are only the starting point; it is the connection of the dots and the difficult thing is exactly where our Team stands.
In addition to Mr.Lovati’s speech on company and its prospective plans, it had better to mention the current offerings of the company once more.
Fashionbi offers more than 10000 reports regarding 3500+ brands, from their financial results to the brand awareness and social media usage. To benefit from this offer, user just needs to type the name of brand he wants to investigate and the Weibo, Facebook, Twitter and financial reports of the related brand comes within their instant updates. Moreover, he can reach conglamerate and ready-to-present sector reports as well anytime you need.
The insights are also remarkable sources for professionals in the industry which provides case-studies, best practices and trends to empower the bridge between online and offline. Insights are composed of publications, magazines and analysis.
The first Fashionbi publication, for instance, seeks to unravel a dynamic trend that is revolutionizing the retail industry. A trend that is led by the newly empowered mobile driven customer and known as Omni-Channel retailing. You can reach this new novel approach here.
Magazine is another insight tool published quarterly. The first magazine was Turkey: A New Soul to The Present Day Fashion. Turkey market was brought forward with its most important aspects, starting from today’s consumer behavior, the key market players and retailers, the growing demand for the western giants, the digitally advances bits, the growing Fashion events fever - all this versus the still very conservative section that gets hidden behind all this glam and gold along with the interviews of the most learned industry professionals related to this market. Second issue was on the Asia market as the sectorgravity slips through. China is still holding a high spot in the fashion-luxury arena and continues to “play it different” than the rest of the world The Fashion Revolution In China: From Offline to Online consists of recent information about the current Fashion market of China, its luxury consumer behavior, the very diverse and innovative marketing strategies used by the brands to lure the consumers, the digitally-smart youth as well as the negatives attached to the country’s name. Through the magazine, you will see the most valued searches compiled together by our analysts with the insights by the industry experts themselves, as well as the trend predictions in the coming period.
Analysis part can be introduced as the recent analysis articles prepared by international contributor experts working on current trends of the market. Keeping up with the new developments, news and aggreements regarding the indsutry, you can find any information at one place.
Once more, the consultancy service of Fashionbi empowers the marketing and communication professionals with the most innovative and powerful strategies to implement with its digital marketing, PR, retail and agency channels.
To widen a brand’s digital footprint, Fashionbi works directly with its strategic teams to support them go beyond the pre-defined targets. This includes providing knowledge not only via case-study reports and analysis but also drawing the guidelines towards social media optimization, enhanced search engine marketing (SEM) results, and achieve search engine optimization (SEO).
PR channel serves its clients with analysis of the impact of their and competitors’ PR activities. This includes as well, the study of the present and potential key opinion leaders (KOLs). In addition, we interpret the positioning of the brands, bringing into light the best practices of the competitors and the benchmarks, within a set timeline.
Along with the certified analytics team to set the right e-commerce tracking and the team of specialized analysts, Fashionbi analyze and provide the most relevant statement and insights behind the e-commerce activities and results of the brands, as well as, deliver the guidelines to drive optimized revenues.
And because Fashionbi is in close collaborations with agencies, it supports them with the most successful strategies for their clients. Fashionbi’s international team of experts assist the agencies by providing the necessary studies and insights regarding their clients’ needs to create the most efficient strategic plans.
Children’s wear market aroused the interests once again due to the recent research conducted by Greenpeace in the previous months. The scandalous research revealed several hazardous residues found in children textile products, and now all the eyes have turned to the sector. Investigating the sector in detail, I found other remarkable facts about its market as well. Here is the evolution of the current state of the children’s wear’s market around the world.
Children’s wear market is one of the most lucrative segments in the global apparel industry. Estimated to hit a value of 173,6 billion dollars by 2017, the kidswear market was not even affected by the meltdown on the global economy. The market for infants and toddlers wear is recalled as the perfect text book case for a market pattern as well. Affected by neither economic dynamics nor new fashion trends, this fast growing market is expected to have a stable CAGR of 4.2 percentage through to 2017.
It should also be noted that the exact market size cannot be predicted because many of the companies in the industry are privately owned. According to Reference for Business; there are roughly 1,000 children’s fashion vendors supplying retailers, and specialty, mass and department store chains selling children’s fashions totals just 47. Even in children’s specialty shops, apparel accounts for 17 percent of floor space and 16 percent of sales (baby furniture accounts for two-thirds of space and revenues).
According to the report “Children’s Wear: A Global Strategic Business Report” published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., the global kidswear market is characterized by moderate level of competition, owing to the presence of large number of market participants and the lower switching costs. There are three main points spinning the industry: individuals, wholesalers and manufacturers, and retailers. Among those, individual consumers are the buyer segment, clothing wholesalers and manufacturers are the major suppliers, and retailers are sourcing supplies from both manufacturers and wholesalers.
Looking at the major players profiled in the report, Bealls Inc., Benetton Group SpA, Carter’s Inc., Esprit Holdings Ltd., Fruit of the Loom, Inc. ,FB Legacy, Gap Inc., Hanesbrands Inc., The Jones Group, Kellwood Company, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, Ralph Lauren Corporation,Sears Holdings Corp., Syms Corporation, Target Corp., The Children’s Place Retail Stores, The Warnaco Group Inc., and VF Corporation are seen. Grouping the market leaders is also possible. The first group, Discount/Department Store Retailers, composed of J.C. Penney, Sears Holding Co., Kmart and Wal-mart, reached a revenue value of 500 billion dollars in total with their nearly 3 billion employees. The second, the Chain Stores group on the other hand is composed of the ones which think that private label merchandise is more profitable than brand-name clothing. The report gives the examples as The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc., Gymboree Co., GAP and Toys “R” Us, reached 16.5 billion dollars revenue by 2010 with their nearly 175 thousand of employees.
The consumer behavior of the buyer segment is also interesting. Recent years are witnessing rising sales in baby and infant clothing as a result of the trend of gifting is reinforced especially for high value products. In contrast to the changes in newborn clothing market, traditional dress is still preferred for the toddlers who simply need soft and comfortable products. That’s why, the only change manifested is the color variations for the toddlers group. For the children’s wear, however, the designers tend to create little adults models. Another trend for this segment is launching licensed clothes especially for the underwear and nightwear product groups. The advent of character-licensed clothing such as Barbie Princess and Spiderman nightwear has enhanced value of a category that was traditionally characterized by low-cost basic clothing.
According to Mat Bodimeade’s article on children’s wear market, the amount spent annually on children’s clothing can vary dramatically from household to household, from under $25 to several thousand dollars. The average family spends $107.28 on children’s clothing — $123.79 for each girl, $90.77 for each boy. Spending varies dramatically depending on household incomes and age of the primary householders. Households with an income under $10,000 spend an average of $24.67 on boys’ clothes and $49.75 on girls’ clothes, while households that earn $70,000 or more spend an average of $167.04 on boys’ clothes and $216.57 on girls’ clothes.
At this point, Europe and the U.S are the major consumers of the global children wear market. And the growth in double income earning families and working population is shown as the leading reason. This reason is also expected to cause apparel market to have more gains for the prospective period.
The rise in international travel consciousness as well as enhanced peer comments are the other causes seems to increase the size in sales. Thechildren’s influencing power on their parents to spend on kidswear should not be underestimated as well. And here, it is inevitable to escape from the smart adverts of brands which would attract smart kids of today’s world.
On Fashionbi.com / January 25, 2013