The most famous and successful family owned brands in the fashion industry have managed to survive multiple economic downturns, two world wars, numerous global conflicts, two depressions, countless fads and fashion faux pause’s only to face a new technological threat. Anchored with well-established brick and mortar stores, catalogues and traditional mail order operations, many of the best known family brands are beginning to feel the weight of their own history. Saddled with the hard costs of traditional marketing and product delivery models, long standing fashion brands are moving to reposition and redirect their investments in online marketing models to compete with the new, digital driven, online fashion brands.
Void of the traditional physical acumens of architecture, forms and functional displays, the internet is presenting a challenge to established family retailers who are falling behind the shift in media consumption and the rapid changes in consumer behavior. Companies such as NastyGal, Moda Operandi and Gilt Group are digital-driven fashion brands, selling clothing directly to the consumer without traditional fixed retail costs and who are targeting the new age Internet generation while taking a dramatically different approach. These new wave fashion retail companies share a common trait; they are tech savvy and understand how to leverage the ‘new’ internet and social media as a marketing and distribution channel.
The key to building successful e-commerce businesses lies in creating lasting consumer value and satisfied customers who share their experience with their friends and family on Social Media. Internet marketing leaders build success on differentiation, perceived value, consumer targeting and a mastery effective content creation. Established brand owners rely heavily on physical product displays to present their fashions, but with e-commerce mastery of photography, imaging, video and visually, explicit content is essential for customers to see via the content.
Despite major shake-ups in 2011, J. Crew has stayed true to its upscale trend-right classics in creative store environments and is making impressive progress on moving the traditional brick, mortar and catalog retailer into a leading internet marketer. While its offerings aren’t for everyone, the New York City-based clothier has perfected the distinctive preppy-yet-hip apparel to appeal to its young, upscale consumers. And with jcrew.com, it has created a Web site that makes online shopping as easy as ordering from a catalog. J. Crew is currently working with Sun Microsystems to create a whole new Web site with more personalized shopping features, such as one-click ordering and recommendations based on order history. The revamped site should be up by early fall-just in time for holiday shopping.
Listening to customer feedback, never compromising on customer experience or service, filling a very real gap or inefficiency in the fashion market and setting one’s product apart from the competitors are key strategies for success in the digital marketplace. For the well-established family brands to remain relevant in the new digital marketing era, they will need to reposition marketing strategies to capture audiences across devices. The electronic recreation of the excitement and anticipation once experienced by consumers upon receipt of their holiday edition of the Sears and Roebuck’s catalog is now the challenge of traditional family brands who wish to compete in the new digital marketing era.