The fashion industry is constantly evolving and introducing consumers to new trends. Luxury fashion brands are mostly responsible for new styles, but the luxury market is small and exclusive. In recent years, the fast fashion market has been rapidly expanding, making it easier for consumers to acquire new looks for a considerably lower price. Zara, H&M, Forever 21 and more giant retailers like these are introducing new clothing lines multiple times in a single season to keep the consumers coming. But how exactly do retailers develop successful fast fashion marketing strategies?
How Fast Fashion Works
The basic concept of fast fashion is to sell clothing that is stylish, yet affordable. Fast fashion retailers move clothes from the catwalks to stores every couple of months. And creating a cycle that forces customers to keep shopping on a regular basis if they want to achieve the newest fashion fads. The goal of fast fashion retailers is to make customers feel out of fashion and get them to buy more clothing as quickly and as frequently as possible. These retailers replicate popular styles from luxury brands, saving them time on the creative process and helping them turn out new styles at a faster rate. For example, Topshop introduces 400 new styles to their website every week.
Rising popularity of certain trends and low prices make consumers buy things impulsively. However, due to the amount fast-fashion retailers produce, the quality of their products are typically very low. Garments are designed to fall apart after being worn just a few times, leading the average American customer to throw away about 68 pounds of clothing each year.
The pace of the fast fashion industry requires a lot of organization. The high demand and the rate of production means promotions and advertisements must also be produced at a much faster rate. But that’s just one difficulty fast fashion marketers and their creative agencies face when devising a marketing strategy.
The Challenges of Fast Fashion Marketing
There are two major issues fast fashion retailers work to overcome.
1-Consumer perception of fast fashion products being low quality
2-The negative effect fast fashion has on the environment.
Many consumers have the idea that if a product is cheap, it is of a lower quality. Fast fashion is called “disposable fashion” because of how quickly its products deteriorate. This bad reputation turns customers away from fast fashion stores. And toward retailers with well-made, high-quality clothing and accessories, despite paying a higher price. It is the creative agency’s job to create a marketing strategy that will change this perception in consumers’ minds. College students and young adults have become the main target segment for most fast fashion brands. This segment of customers has limited financial resources. But current style trends are important to their social lives, making them the ideal audience. Marketers must convince customers that they are getting their money’s worth when they shop at a fast fashion store.
More consumers are also becoming more aware of how and where fast fashion retailers get their products. The fast fashion market is quickly becoming synonymous with non-sustainability. Many fast fashion retailers are launching campaigns to show consumers otherwise. Fast fashion giant H&M, for instance, released alast year detailing how it has made its products and operations more eco-friendly.
Common Fast Fashion Marketing Strategies
Unlike luxury fashion labels, fast fashion brands often use celebrity endorsements in their advertisements. Connecting a brand to a well-known celebrity or influencer ensures the attention of a large audience. Fast fashion retailers sometimes create collaborative lines with celebrities or designer fashion labels (i.e. Karl Lagerfeld for H&M).
Selling through social media has also changed the way fast fashion brands market to audiences. Consumers crave digital-related content, so combining social networking and shopping is a way for marketers to sell fast fashion products more efficiently and effectively.
Written by: Rebekah Swank