In the UK, the coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of people to sit out most of this year at home – and lockdowns, restrictions, a lack of social events and a general reluctance to leave the house have all taken their toll on the retail industry, and specifically the fast fashion sector.
According to a report from Eurostat, sales of textiles, clothes and footwear were down by a whopping 10.7% in August 2020. With nowhere to go, and a newfound keenness for saving money, customers are shunning the shops, and this lack of footfall is already having a profound effect on brick-and-mortar stores, with chains like Zara deciding to close many of its outlets to recover some cash and absorb some of the damage.
It’s not all bad news, though. Online sales have remained consistent throughout 2020, and even saw a relative spike at the height of the lockdown. Companies that were already in the digital space have had to up their game to keep up with increased demand, while businesses that were late to the ecommerce party have been forced to explore new ways of pushing their products out into their online communities via search and social media.
So, with all this in mind, what actions can retailers take now to make sure they stay profitable in the months and years to come?
1. Think digital first, stores second
At least for the foreseeable future, ecommerce is going to continue to be at the forefront of the business model of any fashion brand that wants to stay afloat. For many, this means making sure their websites are performing well, investing more in their digital marketing strategies, and optimising their processes so that their customers still feel like they are being well looked after from afar.
2. Invest in quality packaging
As a fashion retailer, you might not be able to deliver the incredible in-store experience your business is famed for – but you can use your packaging to emphasise the quality of your products and communicate your commitment to your customers. From custom packaging boxes and mailing bags to added extras like promo cards and custom printed tissue paper, you can use all kinds of merchandise to advertise your brand and get your message across. And thanks to advancements in printing techniques and a lasting focus on sourcing sustainable materials, these products are more customisable and eco-friendlier than ever before, too! (You can learn more about Hallmark’s approach to combating climate change here.)
3. Be prepared for lasting change
The pandemic has reset the mindset of the general population in a lot of different ways. Experts are predicting that people’s preferences and behaviours will change for good – and that means that fashion brands might need to change the way they operate if they want to weather the storm. For example, companies will need to implement quicker, better and more accessible returns policies to cater for their digital customers. They will also need to accept that consumers are likely to be a lot fussier than they were before, and perhaps more likely to spend less with every shop.
Looking for new ways to make your fashion brand stand out? Talk to the team at Hallmark Labels. We have many years’ experience in coming up with impactful labelling and merchandising strategies for fashion businesses with a long-term vision.