While both luxury and low-priced clothing brands seek to look after their customer bases, the different targets for both of them mean that the type of care can be quite different. This extends to their marketing tactics too. For example, due to filling a much more niche market, premium brands will often seek to build and maintain a certain type of connection with their customers compared to the fast-paced nature of low-priced clothing.
In this article, we will be exploring the similarities and differences between their two approaches, in order to gain a better understanding of the benefits of these marketing tactics.
How the fashion world grew in 2018
First, let’s look back at how the fashion industry tackled the 2018 market. With the introduction of e-commerce, shopping through social media, and a rise in technology-driven customers in recent years, the fashion industry has experienced a shift. So, what are some of the main issues of the sector today?
The State of Fashion 2018 report by the Business of Fashion showed some of the new pathways explored by fashion throughout the year:
- Personalisation — More customers sought products that no one else had through customisable, unique or limited-edition products.
- Influenced by peers — With the use of social media still prominent, customers are set to continue being influenced by what they see and read online. They readily share peer-to-peer information, reviews, and opinions. In fact, 55% of consumers purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews and 74% of customers’ purchase decisions are influenced by social media.
- Lower brand loyalty — As the ability to compare brands has become easier, customers are less loyal than they once were. One statistic reveals that among millennials, two-thirds are willing to switch brands for a discount of 30% or more.
- More demanding — Customers grew more demanding based on what they wanted from fashion retailers — convenience, quality, values orientation, newness, and price.
The report also gave insight into the top goals of the fashion industry during the past year:
- The problem with fast fashion — One topic that’s on the lips of members of the government and eco-conscious individuals is ‘fast-fashion’. This is where consumers purchase a low-cost fashion item, wear it once or twice and then throw it out. Often, these garments are not recycled, and this is a growing concern.
- Quicker supply chain — Retailers in the industry are running at an accelerated pace, as they try and reduce the time taken for a garment to go from design to customer. The digital consumer is becoming accustomed to next-day deliveries and instantaneous access to product ranges online — and brands must find a way to keep up.
- A focus on sustainability — Clothing retailers now realise their responsibility to be eco-friendly. With the growing problem of ‘fast-fashion’ becoming a widely discussed issue, it’s important for brands to make changes. We can expect sustainability to become an integral part of the supply chain and operations planning systems in the coming years too.
In terms of the coming months, it looks like the current trend for premium brands will be to grow further into the online world, with such brands still maintaining a focus on face-to-face service in the current market. To extend their reach further, premium brands are collaborating with alternative platforms and broadening their target market online.
For low-priced brands, the online world is heavily built on already by others in their sector. These differentiate through celebrity endorsements, unique product categories, and through social media. In this sector, customers are less focused on the brand and more on the price — in fact, evidence shows that customers are less brand loyal than they once were, and low-cost fashion brands know this too well.
Approaches to marketing
The difference in marketing between the two brands is fundamentally in their approach.
Luxury brands wish to maintain a long-term connection with their customers, and so they take the time to truly know their customers. Premium denim retailer of luxury brands and velvet jeans, Trilogy Stores, say: “An important part of our business is truly understanding our customer through the one-on-one relationships they have with our stylists. This allows us to tailor new brands towards their needs and develop our premium ranges further in relation to what we know about them. For example, our ‘Only at Trilogy’ designs are designed in partnership with our best brands to create exclusive styles to us in the UK. This keeps our customers brand loyal”.
AAs such, physical stores are currently preferred for premium brands, as it allows for a more personal approach.Therefore, they must understand the importance of customer service and experience. Often a tailored service is provided, with employees offering a personal shopping service for those who visit and taking the time to understand what the customer is looking for. Premium customers often enjoy a sensory experience too. An example of this is Rolls Royce who diffuses a blend of mahogany wood, leather, and oil for their cars. When potential buyers sit in the model, they’re overwhelmed with the nostalgic smells.
For lower-priced brands, the aim is to build short-term connections. This is done through social media influencers and celebrity endorsements. These marketing techniques bring the brand onto the customer’s feed without them fully realising it. However, the same influencer could promote another brand’s clothing after six-month and this could lead to the customer’s loyalty to stray. One of the main things that these brands compete on is price, and they must be innovative in how they present this to the customer. For example, one online womenswear retailer offered a ‘minimum wage’ category where everything was £7.50 to appeal to their younger market.
The fashion industry has enjoyed a rapid evolution through 2018 and is set to continue in the vein through 2019. Premium and low-cost fashion brands must keep in mind that, although they operate in the same industry, the way that they connect with their customers is entirely different.
Amy Hodgetts is a professional copywriter for Mediaworks, a digital marketing agency, working on behalf of clients all over the UK such as Trilogy Stores and AC Silver. A content writer and web content optimiser, Ms. Hodgetts has built a strong foundation in writing through many years of hobby and volunteer writing online and working on her own novel. She is a graduate from the University of Glasgow, with an undergraduate MA (Hons) in English Language.