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Is your fashion store insta worthy?  And, why it should be

Spell Designs Store Interior

Spell Designs Store Interior

When millennial shoppers pull an item off a rack and glance at the price tag, their buying decision is packed full of many factors, a very different thought process compared to 10 years ago.  Many citizen M’s are calculating the estimated social-media-lifetime-value, aka - how much engagement they could get on a social media post.  And, it’s not a bad thing - “sharing is caring.”

It’s in this equation that a shopper is considering the following: store interior, decor, cute dog/s in-store, lighting, fitting rooms, helpful non-judgy staff, product reviews, ease of payment, company values, social media presence & relevance, and that’s to name a few.  

Bundled together communicate to her or him, an experience and one that could be Instagram-worthy.

Lemme break it down real quick, I have 600 followers on IG, most posts reaching 35 ‘Likes’, that’s 35 people with approximately 500+ followers per account, and a potential reach of 17,500 impressions and that for a fashion retailer means a huge opportunity to attract more fans.  Traditionally known as ‘word of mouth’ sharing one’s experience is a super strong method in B2C marketing, and a great way to build brand loyalty with shoppers.

So, what can fashion retailers do to uplift their physical store presence? To start with, don’t always believe the hype.  Well, the negative hype that is constantly reminding the industry physical retail is dead. It’s not, but “boring retail” is, which is a fascinating topic shared by retail strategy and innovation consultant Steve Dennis.

In the words of the late David Bowie “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange” fashion retailers need to equip themselves with modern strategies and an authentic voice (talk like a friend rather than an accountant) to engage with fans even if it seems far from comfortable.  
Below are five concepts to think about, execute together and make a splash or ease your way in by trying one at a time and see how it feels.  

1. In-store events

Organising small in-store events are a great way to connect face-to-face with the local community.  Schedule something 3-4 weeks in advance, before new season stock arrives, and invite a special guest, such as a local stylist to share top fashion tips.  Put budget aside for drinks and snacks, find an upbeat playlist, adding to the atmosphere and encourage attendees to see and feel the space in the evening with a glass of bubbles in hand.

2. Brand collaborations

This is a great strategy offering a value exchange between two businesses.  An example campaign might be a fashion boutique and an eCommerce shoe brand.
Firstly, the fashion boutique would provide a physical location for the eCommerce shoe brand to access temporarily.  

Secondly, the shoe brand would promote the collaboration to its large social media following, encouraging their audience to follow the fashion boutique, come in store to try on new season stock and match with a pair of shoes for a limited time only.

3. Pop-up in a new location

Late last year Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) opened a pop-up space in San Francisco - DVF x Studio, a brand collab with Levi’s.  A great way of testing the market in a new city and provide a unique offering to DVF fans on the West Coast. It was a masterful way to connect with people creatively, while tracking purposeful quantitative and qualitative data through sales and great customer service.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the DVF pop-up, check out this episode of Fashion is your business podcast which talks about the project in more detail.

4. Start an online community

Byron Bay fashion sensation Spell Designs in a short time has become an iconic boho brand.  Women all over the world eager to get their hands on past and present pieces, looking to fill their wardrobes with the silky feeling of fine rayon, it was about buying or swapping authentic Spell pieces.  

In 2015, a handful of people started a Facebook Group specifically to buy, sell and swap clothes from Spell, Arnhem, Auguste, Tigerlily and Chasing Unicorns.   Establishing a community around a brand brings people together with the common interest of style, and a great way for people to get to know each other.

5. Incorporate art/murals

Just off Melrose avenue in Los Angeles Paul Smith’s massive pink wall in the car park is one of the most Instagrammable locations in LA.  I’m sure a tonne of people think it’s a joke, but when visiting during the day you might have trouble finding a vacant spot to snap your own pink background selfie.  The power of Instagrammable walls is far greater than it’s given credit for. For more examples of Instagrammable walls in LA, check out this link.

Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or other social media platforms fashion is about expressing personality, values and attitudes.  The channels to communicate fashion have changed and fashion retailers need to level up and do the same in expressing the business’s personality, values and attitudes.  Try avoid ending up in the boring retail category, it’s easy to do when you lose the connection with your customer.

Additional resources

Understanding The Research On Millennial Shopping Behaviours


New Retail Conference February 25-27 2019 Melbourne


Written by Saskia Fairfull, founding member of the Independent Fashion Advisory Board.  Connecting tech startups with fashion businesses.