Clothing retailers have harnessed the power of social media to reach new audiences and build loyalty. According to the Drapers Market Report, over 70% of clothing retailers use Facebook and Twitter to engage and promote to customers. While corporations have the budget and social media teams to influence customer purchasing behaviour, fashion blogs are ultimately driving the trends behind the purchase.
A Frequent Supply Of Trends
Independent fashion blogs showcase individual tastes and are updated frequently enough to supply their readership with a regular stream of trends. Blogs encourage their readers to interact through comments and social media networks, which multiplies their presence all over the Internet.
Since most fashion blogs are run by everyday fashionistas that focus more on style than sales, readers feel an affinity with their content and look to them for advice and inspiration. Retailers like Urban Outfitters and Aritzia are following suit with their own brand blogs, which strengthens the relationship between the corporation and the customer by offering engaging original content that is not overly promotional.
The Reach Of Sponsorship
Online fashion companies, an increasingly more visible competitor to brick and mortar retailers, are popular sponsors of fashion blogs by providing free merchandise for bloggers to review, special events for bloggers to attend, and hosting contests that readers can enter by liking or following the fashion company’s social media accounts. By sponsoring bloggers, companies build a roster of peer-to-peer networks that help them lower their customer acquisition costs.
Traditional retailers that sponsor blogs also reap the same benefits. For example, a large brand inviting an influential blogger to an event they’re hosting does not significantly increase expenses but can significantly increase their reach. Bloggers featured in retail marketing campaigns are more relatable to customers than celebrity spokespeople and have a more accessible fan base. Customers also don’t question a well-liked blogger’s recommendations, which strengthens the retailer’s relationship with customers.
A New Way To Understand Customer Demand
The discourse on fashion blogs allows retailers to quickly gauge customer interest in a particular item or trend. A popular fashion blog receives almost immediate response from readers, which provides fast insights for retailers to determine which sponsorship strategies will best align with existing merchandise and which runway shows to send bloggers to.
A personal element comes into play as well: fashion blogs are also lifestyle blogs, and document the day-to-day activities of the blogger. From hobbies to events to food and music, bloggers connect with readers by sharing their lives beyond the focus of fashion. This sharing allows retailers to capture insights through conversations between the blogger and reader, and understand their customers in a more holistic way.
Retailers need to have just as many—if not more—online channels as offline channels to survive. Blogging communities are the perfect platforms to bridge the gap between information and promotion.