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 Customer Responsiveness Vs Fashion Retail Success

Customer Responsiveness Vs Fashion Retail Success

Social Media has reached every nook and corner of all businesses across the world. It is no more just a platform to chat with your friends or share your thoughts. Social Media plays a prominent role in the field of marketing by fashion retailers, where your customers are the boss. Fashion Retailers, now-a-days depend a lot on their customer’s preferences, though there are a very few retailers who have successfully understood the need to come up with something new. However, for most brands it is the customer’s choices that are defining the core success mantra for these fashion retailers.
Reign of Market Orientation Due to Social Media
The customer centric approach in fashion retail has put emphasis on market orientation rather than brand orientation which means that fashion retail’s existence now depends more on the responses provided by the retailers to the customers rather than communicating with customers as part of brand strategies to maintain strong market hold. We have come up with the responsiveness scores for some of the top American fashion retailers.
With reference to the graph above, Nordstrom scores the highest in terms of frequency of responses and time taken for the same. This is quite evident from their quick response to the queries and posts made by the audience on their page. Below are some of the examples of their excellent responsiveness. These snippets from Nordstrom’s Facebook page clearly show that they have a strong CRM in place.
It is quite disappointing to see that Victoria’s Secret, which has high brand visibility on social media, especially YouTube, has a very poor customer response score. It is high time that brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Zara, GAP and Michael Kors, which are some of the bigger names in fashion retailer, pay more attention to their social circles. Zara is one of the biggest brands known for fast fashion which makes it even more important on their part to be equally responsive on social media as they are with their supply chain.
Hence, it is very important for the retailers to understand that their growth lies in how they use social media to their benefit, especially with an increasing number of people becoming a part of it on a daily basis. However, on the other side some of the retailers are trying extremely hard to use social media to educate their audience and engage with them.  Social media is the best platform to understand how your customers behave if the brands become their friend, and provide them the opportunity to openly share their views about the product or their purchase/service without the hassle of visiting the store.
Returns of Social Media Engagement
This is a new area which helps measure the success of the social media ad campaigns and how it benefits the sales of the fashion retailer and helps enhance the brand image of the retailer. Though these parameters are being heavily tracked since the last few years, however how many companies have been able to quantify in terms of sales of the products due to engagement on social media is still a question. It is difficult to predict whether the engagement on social media is converting in to actual sales or not, and if it is, how much sales did the company achieve due to social media engagement is another herculean task to achieve. A few retailers are coming up with solutions to it. For Example, Nordstrom, tried to establish a bridge between social media and e-commerce to understand the conversion of social media engagement into sales by introducing “Like2Buy” on Instagram. This feature enabled the customers to buy the products online directly from Instagram without leaving the Instagram page or opening the Nordstrom e-commerce website to purchase products.
We can better understand the scenario of social success of few of the best fashion retailers in US market by looking at the following statistical figures.
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As we can see that few of the big retailers such as Zara and GAP which have huge sales in the FY2014, have extremely low customer engagement though people really talk about them a lot and appreciate the brand. It is high time these fashion retailers understand that most conversations today are happening over Twitter, Facebook and similar other social networks and it is wise to understand these to retain the brand loyalty among the customers which propagates to the intenders.

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