The UK High Street is losing over 2500 retail stores per year (LDC, Aug 2019)) while 80% of fashion stores are predicted to close by 2025. Yet UK girls and boys look more fashionable than ever, with trendy stripy trousers or polka dot tops, hipster beards for the men and colourful hair for the gals, making London streets more vibrant and colourful than ever. The UK capital is full of men looking on-point with their swanky one-off Nike collab trainers or a hoodie from up and coming fashion brand OBeast or TheIdleMan.com
Yet, research shows that Brits spend 6 hours less per month in physical shops, comparing to 2009, but 6 hours more in the gym, watching Netflix or browsing dating apps like Tinder.
So what is happening and why are Brits so effortlessly cutting edge of fashion?
The answer is digital fashion and mobile smartphones. Not as in ‘get an avatar in Second Life and dress it up in cyberpunk neon lime jacket’ from William Gibson novels, but simply the option to shop on mobile while on the bus to work, on the train or as Grimsey Review research revealed, even on the bog www.evapascoe.com
Digital marketing costs have dropped by over 25% since 2009 as showing ads online to the most fashionable audience is massively more cost-effective than occasionally buying one-page ad in Cosmopolitan or Maire Claire (where you will not see much change from 5K for a quarter-page ad that only audiences at hairdressers may spot it).
is a great example of a thriving new, young fashion cosmetics design crowd that build an incredibly strong digital community around eco-friendly beard grooming range for men. Hosted on Shopify.com, Apothecary87 is a cult brand by 2 young founders, who thanks to Instagram, Pinterest and Google Search Ads, are succeeding as reaching even the smallest niche audience has never been more affordable.
Not satisfied with local UK audiences, those young brands are now reaching further afield, leveraging their tried and tested home market into an attractive international proposition.
If it is good enough for Churchill, it is good enough for us
Smythson Of Bond Street (Smythson.com) a heritage, luxury stationery brand trading since 1867 with Winston Churchill as a customer, has a new international wind in their sails and is exporting to over 100 countries. Not investing in more physical stores but building a new, online shop on Salesforce Ecommerce has opened the virtual door to passionate stationary fans all over the world. They offer 5 sites, in 4 languages, 4 currencies including Yen and manage it all with a small London -based team, increasing reach via Google ads. The key points is “think global but sell local”, including helping the foreign customers to shop in their own currency and in their own language.
Another example of successful Cross-Border success is Bluebella.com, a fashion accessories site run on Shopify Plus from a loft in a leafy Chiswick (West London). Winner of Ecommerce Expo awards for 2019, Bluebella offers 4 different languages and 4 currencies. Whether in Berlin, Paris, Sydney or New York, the store can be seen in the local version and with the correct local currency. The brand has led the campaign for diverse models in lingerie sector, with Munro Bergdorf LoveYourself (blog) online hashtag going viral in January 2019.
When in Rome
There are many cultural differences that the digital marketer needs to bear in mind – as the field is full of mines, easy to step on. A recent advertising campaign in China for Dolce & Gabbana fashion house, showing a Chinese model eating pizza and spaghetti with Chopsticks, offended a whole range of audiences and had to be pulled despite a significant media spend.
Digital marketing can reach far, but the responsibility is on the person creating the brand campaigns to do her/his international homework. You will need to know that the German shopper will need her Terms and Conditions twice as detailed as other Europeans, and that the fashion returns from Germany will be twice the size as compared to returns from the other countries.
Always check the weather in your target countries if you are doing a Bonfire night campaign , don’t show everyone in thick jumpers, as of course in Australia the summer is just arriving.
Don’t use titles like Mr, Mrs or Miss in Sweden, their culture has banned titles and will probably report you to authorities if you ask for them in your subscription field. When selling online to Swiss folk, don’t forget they like their 3 official languages respected so don’t just create a German language shopping site for those in Zurich, there is fashion life outside of banking cliques’ canton.
Data Protection Rules
Most importantly, as a digital marketer you have one job to do and this is to protect your customers’ data. Only ask for what is needed, never store unnecessary data and make sure your team’s computers have up to date virus detection software installed. Once your digital marketing infrastructure is in place, including GDPR requirements, you can go forth and let international fashionistas order from your new shiny, trendy website, making their trendy ordering easy on the bus, on the train or even on the bog!