Fashion has always been one of the fastest-moving industries in the world.
With its capricious trends and the tempestuous changes in consumer values, brands have to be on their toes to find what works, what doesn’t, and change their collections in line with that at break-neck speed.
Especially with the disruption caused by COVID-19, most fashion houses and retailers found themselves on the back foot. With overnight halts across international supply chains and most consumers confined to their homes, the industry needed to take a step back and re-evaluate the direction it was headed in.
In this environment, where trends come and go at dizzying speeds, brands need to be able to stay relevant without the trial and error. While data analytics have been a part of how fashion companies operate, their use is absolutely critical in the new normal of fashion marketing.
This is especially the case given the shift in consumer values and behaviour; it’s no longer enough for businesses to design clothes that are in style—brand values and messaging also need to hit the right notes.
Here’s how data analytics is making all of that possible for the industry.
Following an unprecedented stint indoors, this year, many high fashion houses presented collections that addressed the demand for both casual glamour and overstated opulence people are craving after a year indoors.
This is just one example.
As the seasons change and styles come and go (and come back again), predictive analytics can tell companies which products are likely to be a hit, and how and when they should be released.
Especially when it comes to marketing campaigns, promotions and other outreach programmes, fashion companies need to get their timing right.
By looking at the patterns and insights data analytics present us with, it’s easier to understand how consumers respond to certain products or collections. At a time when there’s both a resource scarcity and a greater onus to embrace more sustainable and ethical practices, the right data can help companies operate more resourcefully and create pieces that resonate with only the most relevant needs.
What’s more, these insights can also inform marketers about how to market the launches of new items and even promote and sell older silhouettes.
Another very useful data analytics tool fashion companies should not miss out on is sentiment analysis.
Also known as emotion AI, these insights relate to the affective mood and other forms of subjective information that gives brands insights into how people feel.
When applied in the context of fashion, brands can get almost immediate feedback via social media about how their collections or pieces resonate with their audiences.
These insights, in turn, can add significant value to the marketing messaging and approach companies take to market their products.
By understanding how consumers are speaking about products and the emotions they associate with each brand, it’s easier to create messaging that resonates with what people are talking about, thinking, and feeling.
Especially in today’s context where marketing campaigns can’t be overly sales-oriented, must be conscientious, and align with community values, fashion companies risk reputational losses if they’re not in touch with how people feel about what they do.
The pandemic and its resulting effect on consumer behaviour and preferences have changed everything businesses thought they knew about the audiences they interacted with. For the fashion industry, this is truer than ever.
One way data analytics is helping companies navigate this uncertainty is by creating up-to-date customer profiles using data collected from various touchpoints.
From social media engagements, previous interactions, and even website visits, fashion brands can take a look at how their consumers are behaving, what their interests are, products they’re interested in and other information, including personal information like age and gender identity.
These insights can then be compiled to create more insightful consumer profiles that inform marketing strategies and brand directions fashion houses and other mass manufacturers go down.
Today, these interests are likely to include sustainability, social justice, ethical sourcing and other best practices.
In a world where individualism and the expression of our identities are more celebrated than ever, fashion plays a profound role.
With consumer habits, preferences, and even identities changing rapidly and in response to the mass upheavals we’re seeing in society, staying ahead of these shifts in demand and values is pivotal to the success of fashion companies.
At a time when companies like Shein and other fast fashion brands are being called out for their practices and values, understanding your consumers and connecting with them is the key to marketing success in the new normal.