Over the past five days, legendary fashion designers and fashion “houses” exhibited their latest collections in flamboyant runway shows across London to the media and a star-studded audience. Why? Fashion Week of course.
Although their products are unattainable to many, luxury-brands often accumulate a loyal follower base. They are the trailblazers of the industry and, as a result, avid fashion followers always want to see what they’re up to so they can stay one foot ahead. Iconic events, like Fashion Week, pose the perfect opportunity for these fashion-conscious brand advocates to see what’s coming up before anyone else.
Where historically the hype of fashion week was reserved for industry journalists, VIPs and high-profile trend spotters, recently a new “see now, buy now” trend has been hitting the catwalk. Last year, in an attempt to capture the attention of a young, smartphone-obsessed shopper base, Mulberry rolled out this new model. They promised customers that they could have the garments from the models’ backs almost instantly – cutting the usual six-month delay between runways and shop floors.
These fresh mentalities surrounding Fashion Week are trickling down to everyday consumer brands too. Zara, for instance, rolled out the “see now, buy now” strategy and saw a 211% sales increase in just one year. This success shows that the average shopper is more loyal to the high-fashion looks of Fashion Week than they care to admit – or realise.
The rise of mobile shopping and fast fashion has fostered an attitude that the latest trends should be available to buy right away. And, as a result, customers are more engaged around peak fashion events like Fashion Week. They have seen the latest trends being strutted by supermodels and they’re determined to scour the web in pursuit of instant look-alikes.
Now that we know this is the attitude, we can use this to create amazing customer loyalty programs in retail. We take a look at some easy ways you can make of this opportunity to acquire and retain this active and engaged customer base before the buzz dies out.
So, let’s look at the following:
It’s important to recognise the opportunities you have to join the conversation around big industry events. Whether you’re a fashion brand or not, try stepping outside your comfort zone and seize the hype around Fashion Week. Trend-conscious shoppers’ interest is piqued around the event. They’ll be on the look-out for timely deals in customer loyalty programs in retail and other industries.
You could even use the exclusive nature of Fashion Week as an opportunity to surprise your customers. Notify them that you’re moving them up a loyalty tier, or better yet, add them to a “secret tier”. Fashion Week is all about who you know and the top-draw invites you to receive. Loyalty tiers can help you take your own spin on this attitude. The customers you add to your tiers will feel like they’re a member of an exclusive club and will actively want to take part.
It’s incredibly common how many unexpected brands are starting to use seemingly unconnected events as marketing opportunities – take KFC’s Valentine’s Day campaign as an example. So be the first out of your competitors to run a smart campaign that follows on from Fashion Week. You’ll attract the attention of your customers and draw their eyes away from your competitors who have failed to see the opportunity Fashion Week poses.
When you give shoppers too much time to think, they could delay in completing their purchase. Use the buzz after the big event to create a sense of urgency.
Try running a one-off, timely discount deal that’s only accessible to members of your loyalty program for the two weeks proceeding the event. You could reward a one-off, fashion-focussed gift to members who reached a particular point balance. This way customers will be incentivised to increase their basket size to meet the criteria sooner.
Seasonal events, like Fashion Week, offer the perfect opportunity to get back in touch with customers and offer them a reason to return. For example, gDiapers used Earth Day as a vehicle to re-engage their at-risk customers. They offered a 20% discount on their eco-friendly products.
It’s all well and good to use timely events, like Fashion Week, to get shoppers to your site for the first time. But the main challenge lies in retaining them and nurturing them so they want to shop with you again.
Once a customer has joined your loyalty program, keep the conversation open. You could send them point update emails that remind them they have points to spend with you. Or, use information from their Fashion Week purchase to send them personalised emails. These could show products from the same collection as their first purchase, and the points they would acquire if they buy them.
By keeping the conversation going after the Fashion Week excitement, you’ll be able to remind them of the points they have waiting for them often. Not only that, but you’ll be at the forefront of these shoppers’ minds when they’re looking for their next catwalk dupe.
All in all, seasonal events, such as Fashion Week, offer the perfect opportunity to engage an active customer base and create great customer loyalty programs in retail. They’re out on the hunt for the next best fashion fad, so capture them while their interest is piqued. But don’t let your hard work end there. Be sure to plan out a clever retention strategy to keep them coming back to you once the thrill of fashion week has faded. Check out our Quick Guide to Customer Retention to learn how to keep the customer base returning to your store time and time again.
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