MFMS in the Press | Glossy+

The following was featured in Glossy+, a weekly member newsletter written by Jill Manoff, Editor-in-Chief of Glossy, and also an MFMS Panelist.

More fashion and beauty brands are realizing the value of connecting with consumers on an emotional level. As a result, they’re learning to play the long game to get shoppers to buy into their brand rather than simply buy, buy, buy.

As outlined earlier this month by panelists at the Michigan Fashion Media Summit, the modern path to purchase goes: When customers are inspired by a fashion company or connect with it in some way, they’ll follow its social channels and possibly check out its stores. They’re not looking to buy, at first — but, eventually, the urge strikes. They make a purchase, assuming the brand has made it a painless process.

“We’ve transitioned from a search-based world, from where you go to the internet to find something you know you want, to where you go to Instagram to discover what you didn’t know you needed,” said Mike Hondorp, chief growth officer at Whalar, formerly Instagram’s global lead for shopping.

And discovering leads to shopping. In today’s competitive retail climate, meeting the customer where they are, and when they’re inspired, is key. Today, they’re spending 18 hours a month, or 20 percent of their time on mobile, on Facebook and Instagram, according to Hondorp.

“Convenience is no longer a nice to have, it’s a need to have,” he said, while explaining the motivation behind shoppable Instagram posts, which launched last year: Stores like Nordstrom were reporting customers were regularly asking store associates for styles found in their feeds. “It’s not revolutionary,” he said of the feature, “but it’s what the consumer wanted.”

He compared shoppable posts’ convenience and discovery element to the first floor of a department store: “Stores are merchandised to incentivize you to discover and be a profitable consumer,” he said. “There’s a reason accessories, jewelry and fragrance are on the first floor. They’re the highest margin items.”

Mobile is increasingly the entrypoint to the store. When customers make the trek to a physical store location, they’re becoming accustomed to encountering tech activations, live performances and other unexpected features that complement and build upon what they’ve seen online.

“They want you to do a dance,” said Jennifer Bandier, founder and CEO of Bandier. “[Customers] want an extraordinary event, to see different things, different activations. Retail should be a unique and special experience.”

For her part, she set up Studio B, an in-store workout studio at Bandier’s Fifth Avenue location, featuring a variety of fitness brands and classes. And she’s hosted a variety of activations, including a coffee bar collab with Califia Farms.

It’s nothing new for a retailer, of course; experience-focused activations have become a go-to marketing tool, and often have little to no direct tie to product. Rebecca Minkoff regularly hosts in-store fireside chats with “Superwomen” like Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp and career expert Vicki Salemi. On a much grander scale, Revolve throws a Coachella-adjacent party annually. This year, it featured performances by A$AP Rocky and Snoop Dogg, and welcomed hundred of influencers including Emily Ratajkowski and Shay Mitchell. Each wore Revolve pieces immediately available for purchase. According to technology and data insights company Launchmetrics, posts featuring the #RevolveFestival hashtag saw more clicks and comments than #beychella.

Whether through a feed or store setup, churning out inspirational content will keep shoppers coming back. Then, according to Bandier, it’s only a matter of time before they become customers.

“If you hang around at the barbershop long enough, you’ll get a haircut,” she said.

Jill Manoff
Editor-in-Chief, Glossy

Brian Zhao