london-fashin-weekCustomers are taking their fashion needs into their own hands through social media

It’s that time of the year again: London Fashion Week will be kicking off tomorrow. Luxury brands have faced various challenges this last year, with the impact of China’s economic slowdown resulting in branch closures, along with the change of customer expectations where they expect the runway pieces to be available in store quickly.

Contactlab’s’ Digital and Physical Integration: Luxury Retail’s Holy Grail’ study, reveals how digital is one of the more profitable ‘growth pockets’ available to luxury brands today. Providing seamless integration between online and offline activity opens cross selling opportunities, which increases conversion rates and ultimately profitability.

Massimo Fubini CEO and founder of Contactlab comments:  “We now live in a world where everything is captured digitally through various platforms, with the fashion world being no exception.  Luxury brands need to bridge the gap between online and in-store activity to create a streamlined, personalised shopping experience. Social media empowers customers to be more vocal about their opinions, so brands can use this to their advantage for taking their business decisions.”

Luxury brands have had to rethink their customer engagement approach to promote longer lasting relationships to maintain profit margin in current market conditions and encourage customer loyalty. Digital interactions are created from various platforms, such as SnapChat, Instagram, and Periscope – all of which portray the Fashion Week experience through different lenses. During Fashion Week, social media is part of this omni-channel approach, which is pivotal to providing a seamless shopping experience.

Massimo continues: “The modern consumer is digitally savvy and as social media takes center stage at the catwalks, brands need to recognise how these platforms can be used to nurture relationship with customers to promote brand loyalty. Customer online activity gift luxury brands with data they can use to create targeted marketing material. These actions indicate to customers that luxury brands are not blindly approaching them, but understand their needs and preferences.”

Stuart Fuller, director of Commercial Operations at NetNames and leading online brand protection specialist, commented on the growing risk of counterfeiting on fashion brands worldwide: “As London Fashion Week gets underway, and thousands flock to the city to get first sight of the world’s most coveted designers’ new lines, there will be fraudsters looking to captalise on the designs through the production of counterfeit versions. An issue that plagues the fashion world, counterfeit designer clothing and accessories are the most common articles detained at EU borders for infringing intellectual property rights, making up more than a tenth of all seizures and more than half the total value of goods captured.

“As fashion brands look to online and social media channels to debut their new collections to entice new custom, they also increase the risk of fraudsters using the images to infringe on their intellectual property. To protect their reputations and revenues, fashion brands must proactively defend their designs online. Businesses should identify the greatest threats to their brand and seek to remove infringements from the Internet. By taking action now, they can continue to grow their brand and innovate online with the confidence that it is protected.”