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GUEST ANALYSIS Digital partnerships are en vogue at London Fashion Week

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As London Fashion Week draws to a close, Rakhee Jogia, director of display at Rakuten Marketing (pictured) takes a look at the biggest digital trends this year, and advises how fashion marketers can walk the talk in digital marketing.

Partnerships are big business

During London Fashion Week SS16, brands lit up the digital world, as well as the catwalk, with innovative digital publisher partnerships. For example, in a world first, luxury fashion brand Burberry launched its spring/summer 2016 collection through a Snapchat show. Its unprecedented collection premiered on the social network before it hit the runway for just 24 hours, driving hype and excitement amongst the public. With over 100 million daily active users on Snapchat, this was a genius way for the brand to drive engagement and excitement for its Fashion Week launch.

In addition, household name Topshop worked with Pinterest to scan a user’s Pinterest board and identify the dominant colours, before matching those to an online catalogue that users could buy from directly. Topshop promoted items in line with its customers’ wants and needs in real-time and also displayed how social ‘buy buttons’ can be used by retailers to capitalise on the visual for ‘impulse purchase’.

What does this mean for marketers?

Offering the right content to the right audience was key to the success of these LFW partnerships, but these brands also tapped into the media platforms that their target audiences were already engaging with.

Think like the fashion world: be seen in the right places and with the right people. Take your digital marketing campaign to where your audience is already hanging out. Marketers should also add another careful consideration; use the social platforms and content publishers which appeal to their unique audience, but be sure to echo the brand identity. Are you trying to build up a new trend? Then why not partner with a blogger that is known for being fashion forward like Liberty London Girl or Fashion Foie Gras on Instagram if your collections are particularly visual.

A seamless path to purchase is the journey of the future

Luxury designer House of Holland highlighted how technology can be used to change the path to purchase. The apparel designer collaborated with Visa at Fashion Week to let customers buy clothes straight from the catwalk. Using a micro-chipped ring, the designer enabled contactless payments to be made when items from the collection were touched. By doing so, House of Holland successfully shortened the shopping journey for the audience, allowing them to engage with the brand on a ‘like it, want it, get it’ basis.

What does this mean for marketers?

Not all brands have the ability to design seamless payment solutions within their clothes, but this innovation echoes a trend amongst the fast-fashion, digitally savvy millennial audience. Whilst the journey to purchase can be a lengthy one –our own data suggests that consumers make 9.5 engagements with a brand before purchasing –consumers want brands to make their customer experience better and easier.

Marketers must take an omnichannel approach so that even when a customer has engaged with their brand on mobile, they then receive the same targeted and personalised experience on their laptop at work the next day.

The disjointed way consumers are shopping also means that brands must remind consumers of the items they’ve expressed interest in. For example, if a consumer expressed interest in a new dress, retargeting that consumer with a bag to accompany the dress, and using a banner ad that links directly to the checkout, can encourage customers to complete the purchase, whilst also providing a value-added experience.

Being social sells

London Fashion Week dominated the Twittersphere over the weekend with 304,353 tweets, and with the weekend shows opened up to the general public, there is no doubt that the brands who successfully engaged on social reaped the benefits. According to our analysis of Twitter, Burberry was the most talked about brand, pulling in 40,229 tweets – over 10% of the total tweets – whilst Topshop generated 7,408 tweets.

Whilst Burberry stole the social show, celebrity advocates also generated conversation. Cara Delevingne brought in 6,739 tweets, Benedict Cumberbatch saw 2,345 mentions and fashion blogger Leigh-Anne also proved popular through the #leighloves.

The digital world opens brands up to a limitless audience and the power of celebrity on these channels is clear. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram allow brands to show their collections to shoppers outside of London instantaneously and tap into the networks of online influencers.

What does this mean for marketers?

Social media is where many consumers discover new brands, and the recent updates on networks such as Instragram and Twitter where ‘sponsored content’ can be pushed to users within a certain demographic make this easier.

Brands need to consider the social experience they provide and focus on producing engaging content in the right format that showcases their brand values. Millennials want to purchase from brands that echo who they are as individuals so get into the minds of your customers and build partnerships with online ambassadors that could help you to build long term loyalty.

In addition, these digital shoppers expect the same service on every channel they engage with you on. For example, a square image on Instagram of a perfectly tailored outfit may appear seamlessly on that feed, but half of the image will be cut off when this links to Twitter so ensure that the experience is responsive on each channel.

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