The outbreak of the pandemic and the global lockdown made 2020 the year that will go down in history that nearly collapsed the fashion industry. Retail sales in clothing and fashion accessories stores dropped to 28.5% and this affected the fashion branding agencies’ revenue entirely. According to the report of McKinsey and BOF, which state that sales declined into a wide fall in profits of 93% in 2020. This means that fashion branding agencies and companies entered into 2021 in a weaker position than they were in 2020 when they maintained a 4% profit rise in 2019.
Based on the analysis done, sales have been predicted to drop more when compared with that of 2019. However, this can be prevented if the vaccines slow down the transmission of the virus, but from all indications, some countries have not fully opened up and some are still observing partial lockdown. This might result in economies dipping into recession.
Transformative Trends on Fashion Consumers
Four trends have been identified as driving the decline of fashion:
- Diminished demand- The spending power of fashion consumers has reduced and this calls for fashion branding agencies to cut down on outperforming categories such as casualization, which brought about a 7% increase in stock prices for sportswear companies. The discount brought about a 5% uptick for brands, and digitalization gave online fashion retailers a stock valuation of 76% increase.
- Profitability mindset- Fashion branding agencies need to embeds this profitability mindset. It has been proven that introducing new products doesn’t mean more profits will be made because the consumers may not jump on it. Meaning that these fashion companies need to make data driven marketing a top priority. This year, fashion consumers have focused their attention on what they need rather than what they may want. Now, “needs” have replaced “want” or “desire” as the driving force for fashion consumers.
- Investment- Investment here means “opportunistic investment” because the pandemic has differentiated the high performing companies from the poor performing ones. The result of this will lead to more mergers and acquisitions of brands or agencies by high performing companies, which will bring about growth in the market share.
- Return on Investment (ROI)- For a while now, many retailers have included ecommerce into their operations to increase their store level ROI. This will make consumers easily check out for items they need online and place an order and this has increased since the outbreak of the pandemic.
We have seen the four trends identified as driving the decline of the fashion industry. The question is, what can be done to save the prevailing challenges the fashion industry is facing?
This will lead us to know what can be done to save the fashion industry.
How to Save the Fashion Industry
Nowadays, a lot of people have come to see fashion sites as virtual shops or even blogs. And the point is that these websites must be optimized with SEO to get more visibility, which in turn will lead to more sales. Saving the fashion industry anchors on fashion branding agencies optimizing their websites with SEO strategies that enable brands in this industry to grow their business by being on top of the search engine result page (SERP). Well, the truth remains that it’s easier said than done, but you must understand that like other industries, the fashion industry has its own traits or let’s say keywords that fashion consumers use. Without them using these keywords (short tail and long-tail keywords), your efforts as a brand will amount to nothing. With this, we have been able to establish the fact that SEO is what can be used to save the fashion industry. This will take us to the SEO strategies that will be used to achieve this.
Let’s jump into it.
SEO Strategies for the Fashion Industry
- Keyword research with trends in mind- Keywords are those words used by your target audience to search for something online. They help you to think like your consumers. Meaning without them, you won’t be able to solve the problems or provide answers to their questions using their language or tone. To achieve this, you must know the basic principles of SEO for the fashion industry, which is using long-tail keywords.
Why long-tail keywords?
Simple, long-tail keywords are less competitive and they reflect the search intent of your target consumers. For instance, a consumer opens his browser and types in the word “lady’s jacket” (short tail keyword) in Google. This keyword is a general term that can be used to learn about the jacket in question because it doesn’t really show that the consumer wants to buy the product. Besides, this same keyword may not get your website to the top of the search engine results because other sites are already ranking for it. Now, imagine this same consumer uses the words, “red leather jacket for ladies with a hood” (long-tail keyword). This keyword shows the search intent of this consumer which means she wants to buy this jacket. You can easily rank for this keyword because not everyone will be going for it.
It’s simple, right? Then understand and know this important rule, which is “adapting to current trends quickly.” And this brings us to your site content. Your content must be up-to-date and fresh, without it no one will come to your site. The fashion industry is an industry known to revolve around trends and fashion branding agencies must always jump on it to remain relevant. However, understand that trends come and go, and you must reflect this in your business strategy (i.e. SEO and content marketing). This means that long-tail keywords are not enough, but using optimized contents that are trending or that will soon trend. SEO tool like Google Trends will help you predict which keywords will drive traffic and ones that won’t drive traffic.
- The use of eye-catching images- Without images, the fashion industry will be unattractive because they are the things that dazzle the eyes of fashion consumers. Also, they are what differentiate between trendy clothes and daily outfits. Fashion branding agencies use images that show what the consumers will get when they buy the product. However, understand that your images must be optimized in such a way that it enables your site to load fast. Here at Deyo Digital, we recommend that you reduce the burden on your domain, by optimizing your site images with the best format. If you’re using WordPress for your site, we recommend you use Smush – a plugin that compresses images to the best format. That’s why fashion branding agencies must be aware of their site loading time. This will help show your site text first and as the consumer scrolls down, the images will appear.
- Create content- Content, they say, is king. That’s true because, without it, people won’t come to your site. After all, the search engine won’t drive traffic without it. The content on your site must be well researched and optimized for it to rank on search engines. The text should be able to describe how your products will fit the consumers and how they will enjoy wearing them.
Let’s consider the tips to writing effective content:
- Mention your product’s greatest benefits severally.
- Use appropriate words that match the need for your product.
- Create FAQs for your product.
- Use stories.
- Use product reviews.
Another thing you must not ignore is creating a keyword bank for your site. This is to afford using the same keyword for two or more pages because it will cause a lot of problems. After all, search engines won’t know which one to rank higher. This will make your site compete with itself rather than with your competitors.
- Use Google analytics to track user activity on your site- The way that fashion branding agencies can be able to measure their site success is through sales because these sites were created for their products and SEO experts understand better. Some tools help track user activity and they include the following:
- Google Analytics: This is a free Google tool that shows the statistics of your site, this includes page views and bounce rates. Giving you an idea of what motivates your site visitors.
- Heatmap generators: These are tools that show what your site visitors clicked on your site. They are screenshots with your visual information of the number of mouse clicks. They provide you with data that Google Analytics won’t give you and they include Crazy Egg.
- Link all pages on your site- One of the things we explain to our clients is that your new site or new pages can not appear immediately in search engine result page (SERP) after creating them. Search engines have bots called crawlers or trackers which are created to find new web pages on the internet and make them visible for search engines. To achieve this, they move from one page to another and for this to happen, these pages must be linked together. Without it, they will find it difficult to crawl and index your pages making it difficult for your target consumers to find you because of a lack of inbound links. Besides this, links help your site visitors to navigate freely on your site. Also, you need backlinks from other sites and to achieve this, you must be good at publishing well researched content on your site that others want to link to. This will help establish you as an authority. After publishing your content, reach out to other fashion branding agencies telling them about your content, and if you mentioned them in your content, also tell them about it. Also, you must be good and consistent in sharing your content on social media because it will give visibility to your site thereby make people link back to you. Another way to get backlinks is to interview a celebrity and publish the video content on your site and send the link out. This will motivate people to link to your site because that’s what their readers want to see as well.
SEO is a great way of saving the fashion industry and fashion branding agencies are seeking for ways to comeback from the effects of the pandemic. With SEO and content creation, they can able to drive qualified leads to their websites (business) and if you don’t know how to do this, our team at Deyo Digital is a click away from helping you. We are an SEO agency that can provide your brand with the SEO and Content Marketing support it needs.