The widespread outbreak of coronavirus has created uncertainty across industries, fashion in particular.
The closure of bricks and mortar stores, disruptions to offshore supply chains and the unknowns around customer sentiment are poised to impact the industry in the long term.
Here are the customer behaviour insights we want to share them with you.
1. More Online Time
With most of the world in isolation, customers are spending more time online than ever before.
For sustainable fashion brands, this is a great opportunity to experiment and connect with customers and convert ‘browsers to buyers’.
Slow fashion brands should boost their following by providing consumers with relevant, relatable, and trustworthy content.
Post-COVID-19, these efforts will translate into great shopping results.
2. Willingness To Explore New Brands
Data shows that over 46 per cent of online shoppers remain loyal to the brands they already love and know.
In this sense, customers have not changed much of their buying behaviours since the outbreak.
Interestingly though, 34 per cent of online shoppers, previously unwilling to discover and buy from new brands are now willing to do so.
This is the perfect time for sustainable fashion brands to maintain their customer loyalty.
But, it is also a fantastic opportunity to engage with new customers, previously not interested in their brand.
3. Comfort Seeking Behaviours In An Uncomfortable Time
In times of crisis, feelings of fear are at an all-time high.
Fear affects consumers and their behaviour, pushing them to seek comfort in these difficult times.
Data shows growing trends in customers spending more on sustainable, high-quality, expensive items.
The discretion of where and with whom they spend is based – with preponderance – on their previous experiences and emotional connection to the brand.
However, it ultimately means that consumers are choosing to buy higher price point sustainable items.
The data is particularly encouraging for slow fashion brands with an AOV of 100+ euros that also have a positive and ethical story to tell.
Word of caution: You may not want to increase your average order value right now, in these times of incertitude.
If you do so, consumers might perceive you as trying to take advantage of them.
However, you can start by giving your existing and new customers the comfort and connection they are actively seeking by keeping them connected and informed.
4. Spending aligns with core values & the brands’ WHY
Self-isolation makes customers evaluate things from a radically new perspective.
WFH gives consumers plenty of time to discover and learn about new sustainable fashion brands.
They check on your story, your vision and your ethical values.
With so much time to spend, the “why” of your brand becomes the crucial factor in their purchasing decision.
In conclusion, they are more likely to support you if you are an eco-friendly, conscious, and sustainable fashion brand that aligns with their values.
We are also seeing growing support and discretionary spend with locally produced brands.
The choice for locally made products is partly due to a sense of community and partly due to consumers’ desire to minimise their own environmental impact.
5. Frictionless Experiences – Critical To Building Trust & Loyalty
Post COVID-19, sustainable fashion brands and online marketplaces are predicted to experience explosive demand.
Also, customers state that getting their fit right the first time is critical – as a way to reduce returns.
Easy fit, purchasing and returns will be critical to future purchasing behaviours.
Overall, frictionless online experiences will impact consumers’ trust and loyalty.
6. The Big Takeaway: Gaining Trust Is Critical Right Now
We don’t have a crystal ball to know whether new customer behaviours could outlast the pandemic.
What we do know is that people are and will always be making decisions based on their experiences.
Consumers need emotional connections and a certain level of trust.
Most important, consumers seek brands with values aligned to their own.
This period of crisis and incertitude present great opportunities for sustainable fashion brands.
It is a unique chance to connect with the right audience of ethical consumers.
Connect in authentic, meaningful ways, suitable not just for profit, but also for people, animals, and the planet.
Take some time to look at your customer journey, and the ethical initiatives you’re prioritising.
Are your current initiatives fostering trust in a way that is relevant to what your customers want and need right now?
Is your label presented in a positive light, by the right influencers, and partnerships?
Are your products offered on an online marketplace that aligns with your ethical values?
Eliminate all unethical and unsustainable activities that surround your label.
Connect with brands, media platforms and online marketplaces that are on a similar conscious journey.
Finally, stay safe, stay positive and remember, we are in this together!
WTVOX – ‘Voicing the Future of Fashion’
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A decade of fashion; here’s to the next one.
The past decade has been turbulent – and defining – for fashion: child labour, climate crisis, gender inequality, animal cruelty, and reckless plastic pollution, just to name a few.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of this decade does not look too good either.
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