“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel.
This article is in continuation to our previous post – How to Build a Great Online Fashion Brand – 34 Things that Really Amazing Fashion Retailers Do where we spoke about few branding ideas from online fashion retail industry. In this article, we would like to go a step further and talk about things that these amazing fashion retailers do to produce inspiring content and use it as a branding instrument.
To build a successful fashion ecommerce brand, you need a compelling product and then you need compelling content to sell that product. You have to produce a lot of engaging content every day; content that has the ability to envelop your customers in a specific mood. You need to be the source of their inspiration. If your content is not inspiring, it’s nothing. As a Fashion ecommerce brand, there is only so far you can go without mastering your content strategy. It can get overwhelming, especially for any company starting-up trying to produce engaging content on a regular basis. You can easily run short of ideas in few days or months of starting. This lack of innovation in content shows-up on startup brands in the form of low social media following, poor backlink profile and negative ROI on paid & organic promotion. The way Internet is operating now, the chances of a start-up brand to make big without a concrete content production strategy is very narrow.
What do you need to create inspiring content?
Creating inspiring content requires time, money and talent. You need important skills such as copywriting, graphic designing, typography, photography, beauty (hair & make-up) etc. But even to use these skills to produce content, you yourself need to be inspired first. You have to be the source (creator or curator) of things that can be felt; things that can get you inside the mind of your customers. These are things that your customers see and get influenced from every day; such as art, music, food, travel, architecture, decor, beauty, craft, nature etc. If you can be a source of these inspirations, you will have their mind share. You will be able to make your own class as a promoter of a lifestyle that’s inspiring to your customers. This inspiration can literally come from anywhere – a French film you saw last night, a friend’s photograph on Facebook, punk rock ephemera, an art magazine, vacation with family, ’70s typography, patterns, the shape of the cloud, everything about New York City, minimalism, modernist architecture, fashion of course! And the list goes on. All you to have to do is be open.
Retailers or Bloggers who understand this concept, use it to their advantage to create a specific ‘mood’ and leave a lasting impression in the minds of their audience. Content becomes the soul of their ecommerce brand.
In this article, we have curated few examples of how fashion retailers (from start-ups to retail giants) are using content to inspire their customers into becoming raving fans. We’re hoping that these examples exercise your brain muscles to produce high-quality editorial content and you find yourself in a better position to streamline the content production of your company.
Table of Content
#1 Use lookbooks to launch new collection
#2 Shoot Style Videos
#3 Shoot short movies
#4 Share product packaging and delivery experience
#5 Share pre-launch sneak peek
#6 Create your own fashion statement
#7 Use product description to give a character to your product
#8 Talk about food
#9 Share your traveling experience and aspirations
#10 Share the movies you love and what you love about them
#11 Inspire your readers using comic characters
#12 Share your point of view about celebrity moments
#13 Share your Fashion Inspiration
#14 Share your holiday experiences and aspirations
#15 Wish them on every festival and special days
#16 Wish them a happy weekend – TGIF Quotes
#17 Give them horoscope predictions
#18 Share your care tips
#19 Share Inspirational Quotes
#20 Put yourself in someone’s shoes (if you were another girl or guy!)
#21 Share your routine
#22 Share what’s in your bag
#23 Share gardening tips
#24 Use weather to create intriguing content
#25 Show craftsmanship behind the product
#26 Share life of artists
#27 Inspire people with architecture
#28 Help them in beautiful living with decor tips
#29 Share the history of Fashion
#30 Share hair & make-up tutorials
#31 Share skin & body care tips
#32 Share music
#33 Promote and collaborate with local artists
#34 Give them a sneak into the lives of those who pose
#35 Share party stories
#36 Give a glimpse into your company events
#37 Take social responsibility and share it
#38 Show behind the scene daily moments
#39 Use design illustrations to show creative side of your brand
#40 Show your imagination with line drawing & watercolors
#41 Doodle to inspire
#42 Design photo collage to spice-up your inspirations
#43 Design attention grabbing GIFs
#44 Spice-up your about page with team biographies
#45 Produce rich content for careers section
#46 Make it easy for them to buy right fitting & size
#47 Allow users to upload real-life product pictures with tools like Olapic
#48 Invite your customers to share their creativity
#49 Enable your customers to share pictures more easily
#50 Invite honest product reviews from your customers
#51 Involve your customers in product evolution
A compelling product is the core of any successful online fashion brand, and on the Internet – it is only as good as what your content makes of it. A good place to start is to produce content for the product that you’re trying to sell.
1. Use lookbooks to launch new collection Lookbook is one of the visually appealing ways to create content that shows your products or services in action. It makes a visual appeal to shopper’s senses and imagination. Lookbooks have evolved to become a popular form of social media content and way for merchants to engage with shoppers. A well-photographed, well-designed and well-marketed lookbook can be a great source of inspiration for your customers. ShopRuche shares their lookbooks in the form of wallpapers.
While launching a new collection, don’t be afraid of adding new elements to your branding if you think they can help you win your customer mindshare.
2. Shoot Style Videos Style videos are Lookbooks in video format. Depending on your budget, these videos can be shot in-house or also be outsourced to a creative agency. There’s no better way to showcase products than by showing someone wearing them. For Anthropologie, this means featuring pictures of staff members wearing their apparel. The way you show your people wearing your clothes inspires your customers, while also enhancing the product’s perceived value. It makes more people want to buy from your store.
3. Shoot short movies Videos are an excellent medium of getting your fashion ecommerce brand into the minds of your customers. In other words, it helps you secure mind share of your customers, that is more important than market share.
4. Share product packaging and delivery experience Online fashion retailers like MrPorter shows product packaging to visitors to increase the perceived value of their products. Showing product packaging gives customer glimpse into product’s delivery experience before they place an order.
5. Share pre-launch sneak peek Instagram is a great place to leverage content that calls attention to your most recent offerings. Before you launch a new collection, you can post an exclusive picture of your collection on the Instagram. It builds anticipation in your customers and opens them up for future promotion.
6. Create your own fashion statement If you’re in fashion, you have to be a source of fashion. You have to invest time and money in creating ‘and’ curating fashion statements. By sharing fashion, you can ignite new ideas in the brain of your customers and thus inspire them.
7. Use product description to give a character to your product With increasing maturity of Social Media as a marketing channel, new age fashion retailers no longer have to write spammy meta tags and product descriptions to please Google. You can now focus on writing crisp meta tags and product descriptions to communicate the product’s value to the customer and story behind it.
If you only talk about your business, your voice might become monotonous to your customers. Look beyond; show them the human side of your brand. There are things we all love doing – our interest or necessities; things such as food, traveling, music, movies etc. Talk about them.
8. Talk about food One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, feel well if one has not dined well. Food indeed has the power to create lasting memories. Promoting good eating habits and tasty recipes with the help of beautifully captured pictures and videos on your blog can help you inspire people and create a positive feeling about your brand.
9. Share your traveling experience and aspirations We all want to see places, we haven’t seen before. Almost anyone who loves fashion suffers from this wanderlust. If you can be the source of their inspiration to travel, you can secure a place for your brand in the mind of your customers.
10. Share the movies you love and what you love about them Movies allow us to escape and there’s value in that. Movies take us to places we’ve never been and inside the skin of people who are different from us. Movies offer us a window onto the bigger world, widening our perspective and opening our eyes to new possibilities. That is why we are so emotionally attached to movies. You can inspire people by sharing your taste of cinema with your audience. You can share your favorite film, television show or a character.
Share your thoughts on how you would put together outfits of a character from attainable pieces. Try to interpret and illustrate the character based on what they wear. You can use Polyvore sets (from your own store or outside) to direct people to how your readers can get that look.
11. Inspire your readers using comic characters What does your favourite comic book character wear? You can put together Polyvore sets based on characters who inspire you; it can make a great Monday post.
12. Share your point of view about celebrity moments Keep a close eye on your favourite celebrities. How would you interpret their outfit? Give your own tips on how a regular girl can translate a celeb style into her own life? If your brand resonates with Rihhana, share your thoughts on her hair color, playful make-up, tattoo, and your thoughts on what she wore in a music video. Talking about celebrities in your blog can even get you found by potential customers Googling for those celebrity’s style.
13. Share your Fashion Inspiration Inspire them by sharing different looks with the help of Polyvore. You can also play with your inventory to create a complete look and show every fine detail that went into creating that look, from clothes to make-up to hairstyle to music.
14. Share your holiday experiences and aspirations Holiday gives us a deep sense of living. Share your holiday experiences or holiday aspirations with other people on your blog and share it on all your social media channels. Share ideas related to things one can do to make his/her holiday a special one.
15. Wish them on every festival and special days
Festivals are days of opportunities for your brand on Social Media. Make a calendar of the days when you want to wish your customers. Make exactly as much effort as you would if you were wishing your loved one.
16. Wish them a happy weekend – TGIF Quotes
We all love weekends. For most of us, it means two days of break from work, time for the family and time for ourselves. Most of us have it planned in advance or we are on a lookout for fresh weekend ideas. So, Friday evening is your chance to get witty. Wish people a happy weekend, share your weekend plans and ask people about their plans.
17. Give them horoscope predictions
It’s arguable that whether or not astrology is something we all should believe in. But regardless of how accurate astrology predictions are, we all want to know how our future is going to be like, in coming days, week, the year or entire life. Retailers such as FreePeople fulfill the same emotional craving of their customers to know future by posting beautifully presented horoscopes to their blog.
18. Share care tips
Many people don’t know the best ways to care for their clothes – whether weatherproofing their shoes to scotch guarding purses and jackets. Share new ideas on how do you care for clothes and other style possessions to keep them in lasting condition?
19. Share Inspirational Quotes
20. Put yourself in someone’s shoes (if you were another girl or guy!)
We all love things that are just not us. It’s a fantasy which is worth sharing. What would you wear if you were another girl…or guy?
21. Share your routines
How do you get dressed every day? What beauty products do you use daily? What products do you use? Share your routine with your readers.
22. Share what’s inside your bag
There is always a mystery about a bag because in real life you can’t just dig in to someone’s bag. It’s private and thus a bit mysterious too. If you’re a blogger, fashion business owner or fashion & style enthusiast, take pictures and write about it – people would love to know what you carry in your bag.
For the person really into fashion, one needs to have a deep appreciation for art. It can be any real art – painting, dance, poem, pottery, sculpture etc.
23. Share gardening tips
Gardening is one of the most natural and purest forms of creation. It’s a symbol of life, beauty and nature. And gardening moments when captured on camera make beautiful stories.
24. Use weather to create intriguing content
Identify the weather that you relate your brand most with. You can create great intriguing stories about weather.
Burberry Regent Street experience is a celebration of British weather. It lets in natural light and the sound of rain, allowing visitors to hear, see and feel the energy of weather. Immersive weather experiences and digital content played on screens celebrate the Burberry heritage, founded on protection from the elements.
25. Show craftsmanship behind the product
While Fashion (especially at the luxury end) always has a luster. It can never solely be about a price tag, but quality too. Yet somewhere along the way, vast majority of retailers never communicate this facet of their brand in their communication. They understand the meaning of quality but they don’t communicate this ‘understanding’ of what truly makes for quality in their work. This is where your ability to tell a story as a brand becomes so important. You should create content to communicate your ‘understanding of quality’ of the product that you’re trying to sell. By creating such content, you sell you on the craftsmanship that went into the creation of each garment and each accessory. You need to assure them that there was an artist involved who worked carefully, lovingly, painstakingly to bring the product to life.
26. Share life of artists
There are some amazingly inspiring artists out there whom we come across in our daily lives (both online as well as offline). Share them with your readers/customers, share their lives. It can be an indie designer, a local music group, a street artist, cook, a photographer etc; anyone whose work you truly admire. Interview them, share their work on your blog and Social Media.
27. Inspire people with architecture
Architecture has the power to create, inspire and connect people to their surroundings. By producing content that shows your appreciation for architecture (if you genuinely have) as a brand, you can position your brand as an artisan.
28. Help them in beautiful living with decor tips
If you’re in fashion, you’re mostly dealing with women and ‘most’ women like to habitat in beautiful decor. If you can show them new ways to make their surrounding more beautiful, they will remember you. It can be something as simple as presenting a collection of ceramics or tips to making a perfect yoga space in house.
29. Share the history of Fashion
If you go back in a time capsule, there is a lot to get inspired from. Use wikipedia, go to local library, textbooks etc and learn about the clothing from some of your favorite periods. Write about your favorite fashion figures from History – Marie Antoinette, Georgiana Cavendish, Geishas, Bonnie Parker etc.
Do you know that women dominate men in the digital “battle of the sexes” and their favorite topic is a beauty. No wonder beauty category has one of the most consumed contents on the Internet. Create content that adds value to the lives of your customers by making them look good and feel good about themselves.
30. Share hair & makeup tutorials Women love to know opinions of other people on cosmetics and beauty tips. You can shoot creative hairstyling & makeup tutorials to show exactly how a look can be achieved. It can be as basic as a series of pictures of yourself or a friend, shot from your iPhone; or a professional shoot with models and professional beautician and hairstylist.
31. Share skin & body care tips
You can help your customers fulfill their desire to achieve beautiful skin and body. Give them skin and body care tips on your blog.
32. Share your taste of music
There is a deep connection between fashion & music. A sound can radiate through your mind and bring back memories, colors, smells, anything. All you have to do is listen. The sound of music paints different pictures in our minds. Time and time again, the intangible sound of music manifests itself in an image.
33. Promote and collaborate with local artists
Some fashion retailers have taken their musical inspiration to the next level by collaborating with artists and created huge mutual brand following. You too can find some real gems playing in a street, a friend’s party or a bar. Buy them a drink, try to make friends with them. Share their story on your blog, share their music, what they wear, dedicate a look book to them. If your customers like them and listen to their music, they’re more likely to continue to listen to your brand as well.
If you need good content, you need good people. But if you need amazing content, you should hire amazing people from your target customer segment. They will make a good subject for content.
34. Give them a sneak into the lives of those who pose
Models who pose wearing your fashion line are an important part of your business. Create content to let your customers know your people in person.
35. Share party stories
Whenever you have a party in your company, it’s your opportunity to create stories. Tell stories of style and lifestyle from the party. Give opportunity to your customers to LIVE, LOOK, MAKE, ESCAPE and be inspired from your party pictures, videos & stories.
36. Give a glimpse into your company events
Anthropologie gives a glimpse into its events through Instagram photos. These photos give followers a chance to see what’s happening at promotional parties and gatherings.
37. Take social responsibility and share it
One of the benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is its ability to build and enchase your business’s image and reputation. So, Take social responsibility and share it. Jack Wills has done a great job in presenting their Malaria No More Campaign.
38. Show behind the scene daily moments
Behind the scene, content is excellent material to spread on social media. With this type of content, you give insight to your customers about all the action that went behind the closed curtains in your office.
Artillerylane beautiful backstage video of their Spring Summer 2013 collection.
Drawing has always been an important facet of the fashion industry as it spans the commercial and fine art worlds. Graphic designers have been involved with various aspects of the fashion industry since the early twentieth century and their job role today has evolved beyond advertising, banners, catalogs, and other graphic artwork. Their work represents the core values of the fashion brand on Social Media with graphics ranging from typography, photo-editing, collage designing, gifs etc.
39. Use design illustrations to show the creative side of your brand
Use Illustrations to take your customers where you can’t take them with photography alone. With the beauty, sophistication, or wit of these illustrations, persuade one to desire the lifestyle you’re selling on your store.
40. Show your imagination with line drawing & watercolors
Collaborate with water color illustrators and show your imagination. With water colors you can show your customers, the colors of fashion which they don’t see too often in their daily lives. Such creatives can help you leave a lasting impression on your customers.
41. Doodle to inspire
There is a lot your brand can express with the help of this type of art. Doodling is a great, fun way of expressing yourself. But since everyone with little sketching skills can do it, it’s often underrated form of art. Doodles can actually be a source of inspiration for serious Fashion enthusiasts.
42. Design photo collage Use of photo collages in fashion has been recently on a rise. It’s a great way of combined expression of various moments. As you can see we have presented lots of information in this article in the form of photo collages. Designing photo collages is easy. If you have basic photoshop skills, you can do it yourself.
43. Design attention-grabbing GIFs
There’s something magical about watching a photo move. Gifs started out as a nerdy internet trend, but they have steadily gained popularity among the fashion enthusiasts. Many fashion retailers have made use of this attention-grabbing file format and created viral material for their Social Media properties.
NastyGal shares the interview and work of Zoe Burnett in the Artsy Fartsy series on their blog. For more Gif inspirations, you can checkout NastyGal on Instagram here. Rebecca Minkoff shares their favorite art on their blog.
You can use your company pages (about, careers, contact etc) to show the soul of your brand.
44. Spice-up your about page with team biographies
Customers want to know with whom they are dealing with and they appreciate transparency. People who’re selling behind the scene need to be excited and their excitement & passion for the business must show on the website. Show them the people behind the brand who are running the show. Tell them your story on your ‘about’ page. Show the pictures and a small biography of your team.
45. Produce rich content for the careers section
ASOS has done a great job in producing rich content to attract the right workforce for their own brand.
46. Make it easy for them to buy right fitting & size
While e-commerce itself is maturing day by day, customers still take it with a grain of salt. There are aspects of it that can’t be changed due to its sheer nature. While customers have the opportunity to buy clothes from the convenience of home but there is no way for them to be 100% sure that what they are ordering will fit them. Fitting remains among the prime concerns of the customers when they shop online. And when not handled well, it’s a source of additional cost for retailers as the orders with incorrect sizes from customers translate into support, and return requests.
This perhaps is the most important section of this article, where we will give you some ideas on how you can open a stream for high-quality user-generated content. User-generated content not only pleases search engines but it also creates hype around your brand. It makes your customers feel that they’re part of a community.
47. Allow users to upload real-life product pictures with tools like Olapic
NastyGal uses Olapic and Freepeople uses Instagram to manage their user-generated photos. By integrating Olapic in your product pages, you can collect, curate and display high-quality photos of your product that your customers are already posting on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
48. Invite your customers to share their creativity
ModCloth launched a line of designs created and voted on by their Facebook community through their Make the Cut contest. The winners include high school students, aspiring fashion designers and some regular customers. The contest was developed as part of their ‘Be the Buyer program’ that offers users the opportunity to select which items will be sold on ModCloth.
49. Enable your customers to share pictures more easily
Olapic is a great tool to show user-generated photos on your store. With this tool, you can collect, curate and display high-quality photos of your product that your customers are already posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. It’s used by the likes of Nastygal to allow their customers to click their own pictures wearing the dress they just bought. It’s a great way to engage with your existing and potential customers.
Keep it weird contest NastyGal invites their customers to share their craziest, weirdest and wildest selfie on Instagram for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card.
The Art of Trench The ‘Art of the Trench‘ is a popular example of UGC by Burberry. With ‘Art of Trench’ they created a new point for interaction with customers as they gave them a platform to upload pictures of themselves wearing the trademark Burberry trench coat and see & interact with other customers who bought a trench coat.
50. Invite honest product reviews from your customers
If you’re in retail, you probably know the importance of showing product reviews. Reviews can greatly influence a buyer’s buying decision. Thus many retailers moderate only positive reviews to display on the product page irrespective of whether or not the product is right for the customers. Unfortunately, you can’t go too far with this kind of opaque approach as you will fail to build trust for your brand. Brands today have to be completely honest with their customers. The objective of showing reviews shouldn’t be to sell a product but to help customers make a wise buying decision, even if it means allowing negative reviews about the product that you’re selling. Returns & refunds are expensive – if you allow your customers to know both positives and negatives about the product before purchasing, you will be able to save money from return orders and refunds.
51. Involve your customers in product evolution
With ‘Be the buyer’ program, ModCloth enables its customers to either vote a product into the inventory or skip it.They simply post a product from places like ETSY on their blog and let their customers comment vote in its favour or against it. If it gets thumbs-up from the community, they go ahead and actually get it made. Similarly, with programs such as ‘make the cut contests’, the message Modcloth gives with their ‘Make the Cut Contests’ is ‘You came. You sketched. We produced’. They give a theme to their community and ask them to submit sketches of creative, wearable styles that fit the theme. The rewards they offer is engaging too – $500 per winning sketch and the product is named after the winning customer who designed it.
It’s your turn!
After reading this article, we hope you get your next uncontrollable creative urge and it happens much more often.
How about you? Do you have some content ideas to tell? We’d love to hear them!
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