What makes it different from other segments is that lifestyle and fashion brands are visual in their nature. Their approach has to be entirely different than billion dollar multi brand online retails like nordstrom, macy’s and amazon.
In order to find answers we recently did a qualitative research for a startup lifestyle brand specializing in urban fashion jewelry. Following are the findings from the study, please do note that these are specific to lifestyle & fashion e-commerce brands and these might not work as well with other brands.
Focus your homepage:
What the role of the homepage of a lifestyle and fashion brand?
The primary aim of your homepage is to seduce the customers into you brand image. It the first direct point of contact of your brand you need to provide them an experience where your customers position you among the established brands.
Your startup brand needs an identity.
Unlike other digital product/software companies, lifestyle & fashion brands needs to have a well defined brand identity system. Lifestyle & fashion segment is driven by an aesthetics and best navigated with a brand identity system intact.
Your startup brand needs to cater to a specific emotion.
Its in best interest of the startup lifestyle brand to have a strong focus on one single emotion, you can evolve eventually but initially you need to have a strong focus on a single most emotion that your site caters to. For instance Huckberry they are in a good spot to diversify or integrate more products but for initial attention single most focus works well.
Have a mobile first UX (responsive site).
Major part of customer demographic for lifestyle and fashion e-commerce brands have shifted to mobile. Their consumption of content is mobile first. Your startup brand needs to have a mobile first strategy for greater exposure to customers.
Follow the standard site navigation.
For a startup lifestyle and fashion e-commerce brand, you need to be rational in this area as you don’t want your much awaited customers to have a bad experience. it is in your best bet to (initially) stick to the standard mobile first site navigation to increase customer experience and confidence in your brand.
Customers have evolved.
They expect you to be like all other brands if not better in terms of service. So the rule of thumb is you have to match your competition if not exceed their level of service. For instance all participants’ features such as free shipping or prices were inclusive of shipping, store pickups were standard.
Above the fold is not the attention area.
Customer’s content consumption has evolved since desktops, mobile has changed the notion of attention above the fold. Customers are used to swiping more hence
Give a premium experience.
As a startup lifestyle and fashion brand your priority should be poisoning your brand rather than taking them to product page hastily. You need to provide a premium experience much in line with the publication, where more emphasis is on how it looks than what it is. Create product centric visual assets aimed to seduce your customer into engagement.
Outright discounts devalue your brand.
Follow the rule of thumb, there can only be one retailer who has the cheapest price. Undercutting the price for attention is a bad strategy, startup lifestyle and fashion brands need to mark their territory first, build a reputation and outright discounts do more harm than good for a brand.
Navigate the competition:
Build brand strategy and navigate the competition.
A brand strategy is not a sales strategy, marketing or budgeting strategy. It’s encompasses brand positioning, brand values and long-term goal. If your brand is not clear on those terms it’s inevitable that you’ll loose attention soon. Building a strong brand strategy builds lasting brands.
Do not sell.
Your lifestyle and fashion brand has to always make sure that you are not selling anything, you are showcasing a lifestyle. The products that people aspire to acquire. They are not to be sold to someone, they are there to seduce the customers. All your communication need to be around to tell a story, to create an aspiration to buy but not blatantly sell.
Thank you for reading!