Last week at Fashion Tech Forum, the trending piece of advice was to focus on content. By building a voice and a personality through content, your consumer will feel a greater sense of attachment and brand loyalty. Brit Morin from Brit + Co mentioned, “Invest in content. Make it so that each platform can have its own original content.” This message resonated throughout the conference with similar statements from the likes of Victor Luis, Hanneli Mustaparta and Yael Aflalo. In an industry based on trends, the message about content was trending.
Yet what was missing from the discussion was commerce. Don’t get me wrong, it’s critical to build the brand story through the use of content, but it is equally– if not more important– to be able to offer commerce at the point in which your customer is ready to convert.
The difficulty with commerce is that there are a plethora of channels for your consumer to convert off of. From brick and mortar to e-commerce to social channels, it is becoming harder to track your consumer across every touch point. Andrew Rosen astutely mentioned, “Everything has got to work together. Digital, brick and mortar, communication channels all have to feel seamless to the consumer.” To be successful, brands need to get better not only at offering consistent branding across all channels, but also at offering commerce when the consumer is ready to shop. When I say commerce, I’m referring to the ability to have the right product and checkout process in the right place at the right time. It means being able to convert a user off of whatever channel they are on and getting better at predicting what they will be looking to buy so that you can have that item in stock.
Brands can start to make their own smaller commerce innovations by looking forward rather than backward. For example, if a brand produces a great image of a new item and effectively disseminates it across various social channels with the original brand voice, then they have succeeded at the content game. Yet, if that item then sells out and a consumer who saw the beautiful content isn’t able to purchase the item, then they have lost. Alternatively, if the consumer sees the content on a social channel and is not able to easily find a way to shop the look, then they have also lost. To win at the commerce game this brand needs to look forward before uploading the content to forecast the positive effect it will have on consumers. By forecasting this demand they can ensure that they can convert the consumer off of all platforms and keep the item in stock.
In order gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and predict when these points of commerce will become important, brands should start looking to big data and predictive analytics. With increased amount of data about the consumer, brands are getting closer to the point where they will be able to project future consumer actions and plan accordingly. Innovations that can truly change the industry will focus on harnessing the power of this data across all channels in order to effectively predict the point of consumer conversion. By focusing on a balance between commerce and content the industry can start to become more proactive and less reactive.