Online fashion is the largest e-commerce market segment in the world, with an estimated worth of over 500 billion US dollars. Large online fashion retailers like ASOS and Boohoo began their e-commerce journey back in the early 2000s and have since made a name for themselves amongst some of the biggest online retail brands.
Beginning their online journey in a fashion landscape that was mainly store-based was no easy task. But leveraging online advertising enabled online-only retailers to not only garner new custom but brand loyalty too.
The Shift from Offline to Online Advertising
Retail stores often acquired custom via curb appeal, print advertising, and friendly customer service. While difficult to achieve online, curb appeal turned into web design, print advertising into online advertising, and customer service into online chat services. Making the shift to online advertising allowed for offline retail brands like H&M to target more customers, since the internet has been a significant contributing factor to globalization through its connectivity and accessibility opportunities.
How brands have taken advantage of online advertising has evolved over the years and has most recently seen a huge shift from ad space to influencer marketing. With growing online spaces like social media and digital publications, the opportunities for online advertising have become endless.
Via software, an online fashion retailer is able to host their advertisement on a publisher’s site, from Facebook to Cosmopolitan Magazine, to target their customers. With targeting and tracking features, online retailers can choose what target audience sees their ad and how well it performs in terms of how many purchases their advert led to.
Online advertising has the possibility to land on millions of people’s screens and convert viewers to consumers, but it also increases the possibility of risk. Namely the risk of allowing malvertisement opportunities. Mavertisements are malicious advertisements that dispel harmful ads, targeting online users and putting their online security at risk.
While harmful for the online retailer, as it can get in the way of their good ads and cause mistrust among users, it is also harmful to the publisher responsible for delivering the ad. This is because malvertisements can make sites appear spammy which will deter visitors.
Though, with software, these harmful ads can be blocked. But it's also important for shoppers, publishers, and online business owners to be knowledgeable on what malvertising is, where it comes from and the different forms it can take. Software that protects against malvertising but also educates the user is why online advertising has such power for online fashion retailers.
Beyond Advertising Online – Communication Is Key
While online advertising is a good way to reach potential customers, brand-to-customer relationships have become more important and now the service is arguably more important than the product. For that reason, online fashion retailers make use of communication campaigns that focus on creating content and delivering it via brand ambassadors.
The use of brand ambassadors involves a retailer partnering with an influencer or celebrity – as Puma has done with Selena Gomez, which increases consumer interest in the brand. This is a particularly good way to increase brand interaction since these ambassadors have access to a large audience that will be influenced by their purchases.
While fashion has always been a key staple in pop culture, the reason it thrived online can be traced back to online advertising. Behind every good online fashion retailer is a good advertisement campaign – without it, the visibility of an e-commerce business would fade into the background in an online space.