Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
The pressure is on ecommerce fashion retailers to find creative ways to enhance the customer experience and inspire brand loyalty. The past few years has seen The Outnet’s digital marketing strategies revolutionise its level of engagement with customers on an international scale.
Speaking at ADMA’s Global Forum, The Outnet’s global director of sales and marketing, Andres Sosa said at the heart of the brand’s success is creative, tactical and inspirational content that evokes brand loyalty.
“We live in an era where everything can be measured, so there are a lot of data points,” Sosa said. “Not only that, there are tools available for us to create engaging content and for us to share that content. So we need to ensure content is relevant, that it cuts through, but it also gets us our return on investment.”
Branching out from the Net a Porter brand, Outnet challenged the traditional view that purchasing discounted and past season designer goods was for the poorly serviced outlets, by making the experience enjoyable and luxurious.
“We decided from the start we were not going to be a flash sale site, but instead offer our customers an experience she has never come across before,” Sosa said. “It was going to be about content, editorial and the whole package. That included of course fantastic, edited products from great brands at great prices, without compromising on experience.”
One cost-effective way The Outnet successfully drove engagement was by partnering with Victoria Beckham to launch her charity fashion sale, Mothers2Mothers, and sell more than 600 of her own personalised and bespoke designer garments.
“This was an obvious decision because we had the know-how, resources, global reach and the ability to connect with partners that could help raise as much awareness as possible,” Sosa said. “In order to sustain momentum, and so our site wouldn’t crash, we staggered access to the sale once it went live."
As a result of the PR-driven campaign, The Outnet raised 26 million pounds in PR editorial with a reach of one billion. Site traffic activity increased by 50 per cent with the lowest ever bounce rate, as well as a 421 per cent increase of registration on the database. More importantly, the charity received significant donations and social media engagement.
Another of The Outnet’s successful creative engagement strategies was the ‘Sergio the dog shoe hunter’ campaign during London Fashion Week. Equipped with a GoPro camera, Sergio not only captured engaging content during the event, but became a social media sensation.
“If you ask me, this was genius, but then I’m biased,” Sosa said. “We knew shoes drove the highest level of social engagement and everybody loves dogs.”
With its media spend limited to some paid engagement on Facebook, The Outnet achieved a high level of engagement and interest, which translated to both print and TV at a global level. It tripled The Outnet’s Twitter engagement, increased social media followers by 5500 followers in only nine days, the bulk of which came from Instagram views. The Outnet also doubled its Facebook engagement and video content was watched across five continents, with the US rating highly.
“This was key because the US is one of our core markets and it is a very expensive and difficult market to cut through, but with Sergio we were doing that,” Sosa added. “Most importantly, the campaign helped us reach 25 million unpaid impressions.”
Keeping creativity aliveIn order to be more creative as a marketer, Sosa stressed to first gain deep insights into your customer and tap into what the customer is doing both within and outside your industry.
“Where does she party, go and eat, or go on holiday?” he asked. “By knowing everything that is happening, you can then think of something creative nobody else has done. For this, partners are really important. We have a great in-house creative team but we also work with a creative agency to help us with specific activities, like coming up with Sergio.”
From a retail point of view, for Australian brands to stay relevant and competitive on a global level, Sosa recommended focusing on enhancing site experience and ease of deliveries.
“There is always that challenge of that new brand online, where you need to make sure people really know who you are, especially if your brand is not available elsewhere,” he added. “When it comes to Australian designers, I think there’s a lot there, but you have to keep striving to do creative things to cut through the market.”
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