Just a few years ago, mobile apps were reserved for just the larger companies and businesses, with high customer numbers. Now, across all licensed apps on app stores today, 17% of these cater to the fashion industry. A study found that clothing and accessories were the second most popular items purchased via mobiles, behind only electronics and around 37% of all clothes bought done so via a mobile app.
When it comes to e-commerce and online shopping, fashion branding isn’t limited to a website. In today’s highly competitive fashion industry, it’s important to have a strategic process that encompasses everything from planning, execution and innovation and, when you have one central platform that is accessible to all, this puts you above and beyond your competition.
Mobile apps have been able to smash through geographical barriers and because of this, consumers are able to enjoy a seamless buying and browsing experience. The future is mobile and, with so many of us using our phones (around 3 hours and 25 minutes per day on average), focuses on customers browsing online. With this in mind, do fashion brands need an app and how important is it?
Online Shopping Is More Than A Trend
Google Insights recently revealed that 4 out of 5 smartphone users prefer mobile shopping over in-store shopping. Online shopping has found its way into our day to day lives, with customers of all ages relying on mobile apps in order to get things done and online fashion retailers are revelling in the momentum. One thing that is almost certain about customers is that they will own a smartphone, which means they have the potential to be your customers.
Creating A Seamless Shopping Experience
Shopping was once considered a treat and seen as an experience for many dedicated shoppers, who would often visit stores and markets, try clothes on and have fun with their friends and family. Mobile shopping doesn’t offer the same level of experience, but consumers are looking for convenience and ease-of-use, so whilst consumers are getting the same products but missing out on the experience, they are getting a more convenient experience. However, not all fashion brands have reached this point yet. A lot are still learning to deal with the changing mobile scope and ever-changing social media landscape.
Nordstrom is an example of a retailer that has a good mobile shopping strategy implemented. The well known fashion retailer has embraced mobile commerce for years. Wi-fi networks were recently introduced in their stores for shoppers to browse online whilst in-store. Nordstrom even set up an iPod point of sale system that allows staff to check inventory information and let customers pay by credit or debit card around the store, after which they would be provided with an email receipt.
A similar strategy has been implemented in many stores, so brick and mortar stores would benefit from implementing a robust in-store shopping app to allow customers a slicker shopping experience. These apps work well for customer experience and also help to expand the brand’s mobile strategy.
Fashion Works Well With Mobile
The fast-moving world of fashion goes hand in hand with the quick-paced world of technology. A survey found that fashion has the second highest spending figure with mobile shoppers. Because of this, fashion brands are being urged to extend their mobile services for their consumer base. If brands are cautious about taking the plunge, then it’s reassuring to mention that it doesn’t need to be a fully-fledged app, it can have limited capabilities such as store locations, exclusive product lines and, of course, the ability to make purchases online.
Most fashion brands can create something that suits both their brands and their customer base. Whether you create an interactive feature where you pair suggested items together, such as mens full tracksuits and trainers, or complimenting accessories. Creating and trying different variants is worth experimenting with so that brands can find what works for them.
Apps For Shopping Are Now Apps For Entertainment
It’s simple, you need to get the attention of your customers with entertaining, relevant and engaging content. Many fashion brands are quick to make their brands unique online and by integrating this into their apps, they are creating a fashion shopping app which is also entertaining. A lot of fashion brands avoid making catalogue-style apps, because they have become so overused and customers are wise to this now, so want something different. Clothing brands that have boring, plain or badly created and designed apps will lose customers and this is the last thing you want for your brand.
Sephora is a brand that combines entertainment and shopping both instore and online. Customers can activate a digital mirror through the Sephora app, which uses their phone front camera to show their face on one half of the screen, whilst on the other screen an expert is giving tips on how to apply makeup or provide product recommendations. This is well-targeted as it appeals to what their customers are looking for and also provides an entertaining experience.
With the increase in social media use and platforms, more and more brands are using these platforms to increase their brand awareness, but also interactive content for their consumers. TikTok is the biggest trend at the moment and, if a brand is targeting a younger consumer audience, then this could pose a huge potential increase in the number of transactions made. With over 110 million downloads since its launch in 2018, TikTok is growing by the day and, with 41% of its audience between the ages of 16-24, if a brand reaches these demographics, featuring on TikTok is well worth the investment. It’s easy to integrate TikTok with an app or website, as are other social media platforms, and means that you can create engaging content for your followers.
As smartphones continue to replace traditional mobile phones, the future is set to be completely mobile. Mobile devices now outnumber desktop devices and fashion brands simply can’t afford to lose focus on their mobile and app offerings, otherwise, they will get left behind.
More than 80% of time spent on mobiles is done so on apps, so the conclusion is fairly simple – as a fashion retailer, having a mobile app is a must. That is where your customers are and where your customers expect you to be. The mobile market is on the rise and apps are set to play a key role in almost every industry, especially fashion. The average time spent on a mobile device increases by around 69%, year on year, so it is a huge trend that should not be ignored.