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How smaller retailers are thinking beyond Fashion Week for #fashion to compete

Raj Subramaniam, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications, FedEx Services | March 2, 2016
Increasingly easy-to-use technology has enabled smaller retailers to speak and deliver to their niche customer sets across all channels with the same voice as they would in a shop in Hong Kong. So what is driving their success?

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Like many reading this, I'm always intrigued by the small business owners I meet across the world, many running generations-old boutiques selling one-of-a-kind treasures. These shop owners, with their warm welcomes and time-honored craftsmanship, can quickly endear themselves to even the most casual shopper. A storefront with a history or an intriguing story can quickly turn a browser into a loyal customer, as has been my experience time and time again.

This sort of personalized experience has always been the key to success for small retailers in the fashion and luxury goods sector.  

However, as the worlds of fashion, luxury and media descend upon Paris for Fashion Week, these experiences and transactions seem increasingly quaint and inconsequential. Amid all the dazzle, glitz and glamor, one can be forgiven for thinking that high fashion continues to be the realm of global retailers and big-name luxury brands. 

Yet remarkably, more and more fashion retailers are starting to embrace being 'small' as a strategy for success and growth. Increasingly easy-to-use technology has enabled smaller retailers to speak and deliver to their niche customer sets across all channels with the same voice as they would in a shop in Hong Kong. So what is driving their success?

They're tech-savvy 

With e-commerce growth projected to double the retail industry average at least until 2017, half of all shoppers discovering new products when searching with smartphones, 82 percent of smartphone owners looking online for product information when shopping, and smartphones already accounting for over 40 percent of ecommerce transactions in Japan and South Korea it is no wonder that small retailers are realizing that they need to be as tech-savvy and flexible as their customers. That means engaging and delighting shoppers on mobiles, social media and online channels. 

They're highly personal

Technological advancements and the democratizing power of the Internet have allowed retailers to scale up without sacrificing intimacy and personal service. As customers no longer think about retailers' brands in a silo, neither does the small retailer. They analyze insights from website visitor traffic, social media interactions, and newsletter click-through rates to better understand their customers. Any retailer with a Facebook page can now easily discover that their average customer is, for example, female, aged between 16 and 24, and listens to One Direction, and by using this data to precisely tailor their sales and marketing strategy, they can more effectively engage and delight their customers. 

They look for ways to cultivate and engage a community

 

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