The seasonal revolution has arrived
Its official – the retail Christmas trading period has arrived, with under 100 days until the big day. In the UK, the trading period generally runs from October to January, and this won’t change any time soon.
But with such a limited key shopping timeframe, many brands are looking to challenge the way the fashion industry works throughout the rest of the year – why focus only on selling cold, wintery clothes when the weather may change imminently?
Ultimately, the elements and weather associated with different seasons can have a devastating effect on the high street which can freeze sales and profits for many brands.
leading fashion retailers claim revenue has increased because of the ‘see now, buy now’ trend
In fact, a recent report from Retail Week found that 80% of leading fashion retailers claim revenue has increased because of the ‘see now, buy now’ trend – for 34% by as much as 10-20%. Just look at Burberry, the high fashion retailer made a game changing move within the industry when they swapped its four-show calendar with two runway shows.
They no longer produce clothes for specific seasons, with clothing made available for sale immediately after each show. The novel format was called ‘seasonless and immediate’, and other brands are starting to follow suit.
With this in mind, seasonal assumptions just aren’t justified when it comes to digital marketing planning anymore.
The weather factor
Everyone knows New York City is at the heart of the fashion scene. One of its most prominent fashion schools – The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) – has recognised the importance of weather when it comes to the future of fashion sales. With this in mind, the institute has launched a new course called “Predictive Analytics for Planning and Forecasting: Case Studies with Weatherization.”
In fact, the FIT – whose alumni include Calvin Klein and Brian Atwood – as a whole is being overhauled to include more topical issues including weather. Some of the biggest retailers are even hiring climatologists to help them predict what the seasons might have in store.
digital marketers ought to be working to greater availability all year round
However, weather conditions aren’t the only challenges digital marketers are facing when it comes to seasonless campaigns. Brands need to be relevant to rank and detectable for key terms that people search for, no matter what the weather or season.
Therefore, digital marketers need to have a consumer-first focus and ensure search data supports their actions. Essential items shouldn’t be pegged into seasonal buckets. Instead, digital marketers ought to be working to greater availability all year round.
This would be conceivable by making sure they’re pushing those products during peak seasons, whilst still maintaining visibility through digital channels at all times.
Making ‘seasonless’ your new calendar
As we veer closer to 2018, marketers should be implementing a new approach towards campaigns and there are some simple places they could start:
Assessing your audience
By shifting towards a retail environment where search patterns are constantly changing, digital marketers need to assess audiences and related purchase tendencies instead of placing small bids on thousands of search terms by making use of a data management platform (DMP) or continuously pushing small-scale digital PR campaigns to incorporate their entire range.
Moving to this approach will allow digital marketers to recognise who their fundamental yearly audience is, what they’re searching for and when, and allow better targeting based on behavioural data that is personalised to their habits. Powering campaigns with this level of granular data maximises efficiencies and stretches budgets much further.
Another exciting digital tactic that marketers should be considering if they want to produce effective seasonless marketing campaigns is programmatic. It is the key to creating responsive, personalised campaigns and digital marketers should be looking at incorporating it wherever they can.
By introducing Digital Out-of-Home, mobile advertising, programmatic TV and programmatic audio, digital marketers have the opportunity to advertise key products in-line with what the weather forecast predicts.
A way for retailers and digital marketers to get really creative with a seasonless strategy is by adopting Paid Search and Google Shopping. Creating product-specific site pages and pointing Paid Search and Shopping traffic towards them will allow marketers to promote key products depending on the weather - macs in rainy August, or sun cream if there is a heatwave in October.
One thing that digital marketers need to be mindful of, however, is that moving towards seasonless campaigns is not a decision to be taken lightly.
When considering SEO and user experience, full-site optimisations could take months or even up to a year to fully implement. To support an organic strategy, creative and reactive digital PR and content strategies can also be utilised to encourage engagement throughout the year.
This approach will allow for a seamless customer journey that is in-line with the way consumers are innovating, based on weather and a see-now-buy-now attitude towards shopping.