Continuing 24 Seven’s 2018 Techfluence Innovation Series, we hosted a fantastic panel of speakers at our New York City headquarters to discuss the influence of the New Consumer on Fashion Brands today, in collaboration with Trendseeder. Our panelists included former CEO of Henri Bendel – Paul Blum, Mike Karam – Head of Strategy at Laird+Partners, Jeffery Fowler – President of North America at Farfetch, Advertising, Marketing, and Promotions Attorney – Paavana Kymar, Javier Fernandez – GTM of Retail Strategy at Facebook, and Buxton Midyette – Vice President of Marketing and Promotions at Supima. Topics ranged from how technology is changing the consumer shopping experience, the effects of transparency within the retail industry, to understanding your competition in the industry. The event was part of 24 Seven’s Techfluence umbrella.
Technology has evolved the needs and desires of the online consumer
Retail trends are evolving. With that change comes new consumer trends, involving both the eCommerce shopper and the companies experiencing and creating the perfect online experience. Avani Patel, our event moderator and the CEO of Trendseeder, began the conversation by asking the panelists how technology is changing how consumers shops, and which brands are getting it right. Javier Fernandez said that the brands finding success in today’s market are those who are figuring out the consumer’s exact wants, while simultaneously identifying their needs and values. He spoke about the exclusivity around certain retail formats. Brands like Nike draw the consumer in, raise excitement around a new product, then release it in limited quantities and specific locations, increasing both consumer desire and need. Paul Blum noted that while the retail industry is changing, the consumer is ever evolving, so brands need to be dynamic and adaptable.
The changing consumer is nothing new, and brands must evolve with the consumer to stay ahead of the changes occurring. Supima, a hundred-year-old American cotton company, understands this concept well. Buxton Midyette discussed the longevity the brand has had which he contributed to the continued growth and success of consumer outreach via social media outlets. Midyette said, “before, we were not able to get the message across on previous channels…today, we can tell our company’s heritage and full story of an American-grown luxury brand” to everyone.
Don’t underestimate transparency & brand integrity
Transparency has become extremely important to consumers. The climate of fashion has changed, and the conscious consumer wants to know where their clothing is coming from and to feel good about the pieces they purchase.
Blum spoke about the importance of integrating mobile phones into the traditional shopping environment while also preparing for the challenges it may create for staff. He noted that both retail and customer service associates must be faster and more transparent than the customer’s phone to ensure a seamless experience. With information at their fingertips, it’s essential for companies and brands to provide relevance, transparency, and trust to their customers.
Brand integrity and transparency are essential to the “new consumer,” as Midyette pointed out.. Everlane, an online clothing retailer, showcases where all products are made as well as their incurred cost per item.
Know your competition, entice the consumer
Every brand should know who they’re competing with, said Mike Karam, Head of Strategy at Laird+Partners. With the retail space evolving rapidly, he noted that brands must be on a relentless pursuit of identity, prepared to escape the ordinary, and continually evolve and expand their brand narrative. Karam spoke about the crucial role of creating multi-layered, multi-channel storytelling on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Once you’ve captured the consumer, you must work hard to keep them and build a community surrounding the brand. Blum stated that very few things “happen from a single thing, and become a big thing.” A brand must work to achieve a strong client base by creating compelling content in multiple locations, developing relevancy and trust, and ensuring that transparency is present at all points in the consumer process.