Retail brands are beginning to outfit themselves head-to-toe in programmatic. The fashion industry is evolving quickly for small boutiques, large wholesale chains, and everything in between, and consumer shopping habits are changing. Technological advancements have made shopping digitally simple, (and, for the most part, preferred) but ample consumers still find joy in shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. So how can programmatic be used both online and offline to effectively reach today’s active, digitally-minded consumers? This year, more than 95% of retailers are planning to increase their online media spending significantly. And as more people shop for clothes — something that will never go out of style — the more pertinent programmatic becomes. As a media planner or marketer working in fashion, consider the following information as you begin to allocate your attention to the digital space:
Why Now? What’s Been Holding the Fashion Industry Back?
The apparel industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. People find joy in buying and creating outfits, but shopping habits have become confusing. Today’s consumers are especially mixed when it comes to how and where they buy their newest attire. That being said, data has become an essential competitive advantage among retailers of any size. It unlocks information about past shopping habits, item preferences, geographic locations, and so on. But many fashion brands don’t know where to begin when it comes to using, (and finding) data to personalize offers and enhance retail experiences. Other industries are soaring ahead when it comes to using programmatic as those in fashion are held back, hesitant and confused. This hasn’t been a voluntary choice for many. Ample retailers are constrained by fast fashion’s rapidly changing discounts and product assortments. SKU numbers are complex and competition for ad space is intense. What’s worse, ⅓ of fashion brands currently lack the expertise necessary to realize the full potential, power, and profitability of digital marketing. Simply put: the fashion industry has been missing out on digital because it’s a field that hasn’t been prioritized. Through data enforcement and the creation of new, in-house tech teams, retailers have the power to leap ahead of age-old industry roadblocks. And by implementing programmatic, (or the buying and selling of ads in-real-time) communication can be established with consumers in seconds. It’s the digital tool retailers have been hoping for that keeps up with the industry’s speed while simultaneously increasing brand awareness.
What are the Pros of Programmatic?
The consumers of today are practically feeding their personal information into the digital space. The phones in their hands, the receipts at the bottom of their bags — the data readily available to fashion brands is alarming. Programmatic makes this data mean something. And its benefits, highlighted below, can reap major rewards for those hoping to dominate the retail space in 2019 and beyond:
- It stresses personalization: Less than 10% of fashion brands are personalizing communications via email, paid social, and display advertisements. But with programmatic, a tool that uses data to individually reach people at the right place and time, past marketing behavior becomes revolutionized. What’s most interesting about this lack of digital personalization is the fact that retail is known for forming personalized, mutually beneficial relationships with consumers. Thankfully, with programmatic, the same can be done in the digital space. It’s a tool that allows a brand to greet, understand, and recognize consumers again in a luxurious and intimate way.
- It expands reach: Programmatic strengthens relationships with current consumers. It can also help retailers reach future consumers who are likely to be attracted to their brand’s offerings. In an industry that is always expanding and growing, this ability to target lookalikes with catered products and services has become increasingly important.
- It creates an impressive data portfolio: Data gathered from programmatic initiatives can be altered at any time. Messaging can be amplified, designs can be changed — It streamlines creative with numbers to paint a picture of total campaign effectiveness. Programmatic’s data builds a single view of every single consumer a company comes into contact with. It records how they react to ads and, most importantly, what actions they take after seeing them. From there, a brand has the power to use what was learned in the past to create a stronger future.
More and more consumers are beginning to expect personalized treatment from brands across industries. In fashion, retailers that plan to use technology, especially in the form of programmatic, to better understand the past, present, and future behavior of consumers will rise ahead. They’ll obtain optimal market share, awareness, and satisfaction from consumers. And as the landscape of retail changes daily across touchpoints, they’ll be the digital, confident, well dressed stores left standing.