What makes for great content? And why fashion retailers need it
As a fashion retailer, regardless of whether you occupy a bricks-and-mortar or online space you’re more than just a shop. Creating great content is more important than ever in a saturated sector that is no longer solely focused on product, but rather the value that brands can bring to its audiences.
Long gone are the days of practical clothing that would be worn tirelessly, and repaired hole after hole. Our attitudes towards what we wear has shifted drastically, from necessity to desire and a yearning to express our individual identities. As a whole, we no longer frequent our local boutique or rely on our tailor for fitted suits. Step onto the high street and you’ll find chain after chain of fashion brands who aren’t selling long lasting, practical, or even well made pieces, but rather short-term aspirations and unspoken desires. On the internet, you’ll find the same—an extension of the present-day high street that’s more convenient and fits right into your pocket.
Ever since the advent of the Internet, the face of fashion retail has changed and continues to evolve. Being a fashion retailer today means that you can’t just rely on your geographical location, or the product you stock. Retailers are faced with the continual endeavour of constantly meeting the demands and desires of a diverse, social, and digitally fluent audience.
Before we delve deeper into why content can make all the difference to fashion retailers, its important to note that pumping out mediocre content for the sake of it won’t help you in the long-run. Cutting corners in effort, time, and budget could ultimately see your efforts go to waste. You get out of creating content, as much as you put into it. Ask yourself these four questions that make content creation worth your while:
Is it original?
Original content gets more exposure. Google’s search engines pick up on sites with original content, and also recognises sites with null duplicate content. There’s no point in reusing pre-existing content from other sites. This doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, but give your creativity a chance to shine.
What’s its purpose?
Great content needs to serve a purpose, whether it be complex or as simple as initiating a call to action such as inviting the user to click a link or view a product. Your audience shouldn’t feel confused about what to do after digesting your content, but rather be guided seamlessly.
Does it add value to your audience’s life?
Is your content going to help, entertain, or evoke an emotional response from your audience? Your audience are the deciders of whether your content is great, so consider whether your content matters to them, and how it could impact their lives for the better.
Is your content going to be updated regularly?
Search engines favour sites that are frequently updated. Consistency is key in not only increasing web traffic, but retaining the interest of audiences whose tastes can change frequently. Keep an eye on what’s relevant to your audience, and track the reach and outcome of your content along the way as it can unveil new business insights.
Now that we’ve shed light on what makes for great content, let’s move on to why it’s so important to present-day fashion retailers.
Adding value to your customers’ lives
Audiences expect fashion retailers to be more than a shop that stocks product, they expect to engage with brands and for them to enhance their lives. Whether this be providing useful information, thought provoking, or simply brightening their day with positivity, great content is a retailer’s best friend in showing how their brand adds value to their audiences’ way of living.
Mr Porter’s Journal section is host to an abundance of content, catered to every aspect of its audience’s lifestyles. From nutrition, style advice, to articles that answer its audience’s questions, Mr Porter is constantly offering its following practical advice and discussing thought provoking material. The retailer’s Gentleman’s Guide offers practical and informative style advice for every corner of the men’s wardrobe—removing the guesswork that the brand’s customer might face when piecing together a new outfit, whilst being entertaining and inspiring. How could content enhance, help, or entertain your audience?
Your brand Value
In every aspect of our day-to-day, we’re constantly interacting with brands. Whether it be a bottle of branded water, or an artisan loaf wrapped up in branded paper, we tend to recognise brands as opposed to products. The sphere of fashion is certainly no different, and the perceived value of a fashion brand can often exceed the quality of its products. For fashion retailers, brand value is just as vital as it is for designers. Content creation is a large component in the arsenal of tools at your disposal, and when executed well can add value to your retailer as a brand beyond the physical goods that it stocks.
Selfridge’s Radical Luxury campaign aims to redefine and re-contextualise the meaning of luxury, in a world where the term has become clichéd. A wealth of content from an animated web page, interviews, film, and written articles unite the worlds of fashion, art, and moving image. By creating original content, Selfridges is adding value to its brand as a platform for eccentric artists and meaningful topics, cementing itself as a curator of culture. Through content creation, the brand furthers itself as a creative space that’s more than just a department store.
Generating web visibility
As a fashion retailer that operates alongside large online multi-brand retailers, driving traffic to your own site particularly if it has E-commerce can only be a good thing. Creating original content that’s updated frequently can do just that, as well as boosting SEO (search engine optimisation) rankings, and generating leads. Lead generation isn’t only handy for sales, but also for collecting data—tracking where your visitors come from and the pages they gravitate towards can provide insights that’ll help with fine-tuning your approach.
One of the most highly ranked fashion retailers in the UK is ASOS, which received 64.47M website visits worldwide within the past 6 months over desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. The online retailer’s site features colourful, style driven image content, coupled with GIFs and a Style Feed that’s updated daily. Articles take on a personable tone of voice, often starring ASOS employees and a call to action inviting users to shop products featured in each story. Complimentary to its huge volumes of stock, ASOS’ frequent original content boosts its other communications efforts generating high levels of web visibility and engagement.
Content creation is one of the best tools that fashion retailers can use to build a brand reputation, and leave long lasting impressions. Great content acts as a voice for retailers to share their perspective, and materialise their vision. Sharing your perspective is key in differentiating your retail brand from competitors who curate similar designers—this doesn’t mean you have to overhaul the face of your brand, but keep in mind this question, will or does your content leave long lasting impressions on your audience?
The Features section on American online retailer H.Lorenzo’s minimalist site, is home to an abundance of editorial content. Each feature has its own dedicated webpage with a unique layout, use of type, and style of imagery. Shot both collaboratively and with in house teams, the features are akin to the style of content one would find in a print magazine—each with a different mood and visual story. H.Lorenzo’s approach to content is heavily image focused, leaving its viewers with a lingering impression of the brand’s designers. Through content creation, the brand has built a reputation of being a cutting edge retailer with a distinct vision.
As a fashion retailer, great content is your answer to adding value to your audience’s lives, garnering visibility, and building longevity in a saturated sector. Committing to frequently creating original content is committing to sharing your distinct message and vision as a brand.