By Isoken ogiemwonyi
Fashionomics is an amalgamation of my syndicated writing – mostly from the Fashion Business Series on BusinessDay, YNaija and other personal platforms. Forgive the shameless plugging!
Top 5 Trends for African Fashion Businesses in 2014
By Isoken Ogiemwonyi & Gbemi Ololade for
Technology – Last year, technology became ingrained in fashion from wearable technology like Nike Fuel bands and Google Glass, to mobile targeted fashion marketing strategies- spurring a furious conversation as to where the future of technology and fashion is going. Basically, technology rocked. This year, more technology based wearables and strategies will emerge. Mobile apps are also rise, especially in Africa where 60% of internet traffic comes from mobile – which we believe will produce longer term engagement and better service delivery.
Technology will be even more integrated in brick and mortar stores. In-store mobile devices will be adopted more including making payments, offering more information, and encouraging social sharing. Savvy fashion designers and brands should look to technology to make their businesses run more efficiently, and perhaps adopt tech in their design process, a good example of this is the sketch app Paper. As a user myself – it’s quite frankly – pretty amazing.
Social Media Use – Social media has been the buzzword for a while now – pushing the ‘democratization of fashion’ rhetoric even farther. From the buzz (or noise) of Twitter to the most valuable player’ Instagram, Snapchat with its instantaneous popularity and the famous WhatsApp deal, social media has continued to show us how innovative brands can be with their digital campaigns. The mediums themselves continue to pivot and give brands more tools to work with – Wechat opened payments to businesses and retailers in China, Instagram introduced Instagram Direct and Instavideo – expanding the ways brands can interact with their direct consumer. Social Selling is, and will continue to rise. Basically, social media should be a major part of your marketing strategy, encourage user participation like GAP did with the world’s first Instagram Direct Campaign and build conversations around your brand.
If you’re not dancing to the tune of social media, it’s time to put on your dancing shoes. You need to be where your customers are. And, yes they are on social media.
More PR Opportunities and Relationship Marketing – Contrary to what you may think, fashion is in everything. If you don’t see fashion in everything yet, you need to get a better mirror. Events, shows, trade shows, road concerts and all manner of activities will be on the high side this year. Fashion businesses can tap into these events to make sales, for partnership purposes (so as to get their names out there) and building relationships. The buzz word for 2014 is ‘Co’ – co-create, co-llaborate – leverage your network, reach out to other brands and see how you can work together. The most unexpected collaborations are usually the most fun and brand enhancing! See Jason Wu x Brizo, Net A Porter x The Hunger Games, and Jean Paul Gaultier for Diet Coke as some great examples.
Big Data – Big data made a massive wave in 2013 and it’s not going to slow down this year. Data makes for better metrics and measurement in business. You’ll be able to track everything that your business is based on, measure what works and what doesn’t; and then be able to know where to plough your resources and focus your decisions.
According to Vendhq.com, “businesses have realized that in order to predict shopper behavior and provide truly personalized experiences, they would need to gather as much information about the behavior, history, and whereabouts of consumers. Big Data enables retailers to implement dynamic pricing, personalized recommendations, shopper-specific discounts, and more.”
E-commerce Growth – Online retail and ecommerce has been predicted to turn into a huge bubble, this year. The number of ecommerce websites will grow exponentially, social shopping will surge on Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs etc. Fashion businesses can plug into this and build a good and interactive website, that will help their lead/conversion/sales funnel.
These predictions are not passing fads, they are here to stay. Fashion businesses should put strategies in place for smooth integration and leverage on these for the success of their businesses.
The Fashion Business Series is powered by L’Espace. Look out for tips, tricks and ideas for fashion businesses to stay ahead of the curve this year. L’Espace is a multi-brand retail store specializing in African fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands. They drive discovery for new and emerging brands in the African space. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @l_espacebylpm . For more visit http://goo.gl/QWGQgE
Isoken has been in the business of fashion since 2009 as the Creative Director of Obsidian, and as half of the CEO Duo of leading lifestyle brands L’Espace and LPM Nigeria. Isoken is multi-award-winning multi-hyphenate entrepreneur committed to growing the fashion industry in Nigeria. Follow www.obsidianfashion.com , www.lespacebylpm.com www.amillionpinks.com . Instagram & Twitter @l_espacebylpm @theobsidianway @lpmafrica @amillionpinks.