Fashion Fundamentals

‘Being Different’ is Not Enough: Applying Differentiation Marketing to Fashion E-commerce

“Differentiation means thinking very hard about the market and your competitors and somehow making yourself different. Any rational person spending a fair amount of time with perfect information will have no trouble figuring out why you’re different.”
– Seth Godin


Fashion is one of the most competitive industries in the world and differentiation has long been an important strategy when it comes to the marketing of a Fashion Brand.  If we talk about Fashion E-commerce, there are millions of online stores out there targeting same categories – Clothing, Accessories, Jewellery etc and everyone wants to look different.

Conventional Wisdom says that if you want to win over your competitors, you must position your brand differently. Differentiation as a marketing strategy has a long history of its own. And I see the logic in it – if your products, offers or services are different from your competitors, your customers are more likely to notice them.

But can the marketing strategy of differentiation be applied to the Business of Online Fashion? The answer is – Yes, it can be applied. However, there is  this thing about ‘being different’ that many online retailers tend to overlook.

It is that whether your customers are interested in the things that make you different, are they worth talking about? If your customers don’t care about what makes you different, it’s useless to be different.

This off-course comes from differentiating your brand by creating remarkable products or the service you provide with your product. Your products and service need to be ‘remarkably’ different. For example, Zappos  sells the same shoes that any other retailer sells but the reason why you and I would prefer buying from them is because Zappos offers a remarkable service and that’s what makes them different from other retailers. Zappos is ‘remarkably’ different;  people talk about their service.

And apart from being remarkable,  the success of your differentiation strategy also depends on how well you communicate with your customers. This is where your editorial content will play an important role. Your content decides how well your customers perceive your differentness. You as a retailer, should use content effectively to position your brand differently from your competitors. 

It’s not just about being different, it’s about being different in a way that people choose to talk about you. That’s how the real brands position themselves.

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