Monday, May 5, 2014

Prosperity For Online Fashion Retailers: Flash Sales + Efficient Logistics

For online fashion retailers, having a flash sales business model and an effective distribution strategy are critical for success.  As a graduate student in Northwestern University Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications Masters program, with a focus on digital and interactive marketing, I have discovered two articles on how to be continuously profitable in today’s digital era that are highly relevant for your businesses.

Deal-of-the-day
Offering flash deals at reduced prices turn out to have a significant demand—who doesn’t like buying high-end products at more reasonable prices.  According to an article by Matthew DeLuca, reporter at NBC News, on Inc. Magazine, what consumers really love about flash sales sites is “the mixture of exclusivity, reduced prices, and carefully curated products.”  The timing frame that characterizes these businesses is the essential element that makes them lucrative.  There are a couple of features that differentiate these online fashion retailers from the rest: the exclusivity of becoming a member in order to shop, the fact that they know who is their customer audience, offering carefully curated products and keeping their low price philosophy. When it comes to exclusivity, it is important to let your customers know the benefits they gain by becoming a member.  Companies are very careful about privacy issues, and when a member registers they are asked to opt-in to receive emails and they pair this information with historical purchasing preferences in order to make each member’s experience unique on the site.

Source: Netonomy.net
Supply Chain Logistics
Free and faster shipping is key to continuously refresh the customer loyalty loop. According to an article by Annie Jie Xu, US General Manager at Alibaba.com, on Huffington Post’s Blog, in today’s highly competitive e-commerce environment it is a must to offer better shipping options.  The delivery side of the purchasing experience seems to be highly relevant for online consumers.  In order to be successful with this approach, there has to be an effective distribution strategy that allows the company to implement it. Additionally, another important aspect mentioned by Xu is the consideration of global expansion.  Companies today are evaluating their immersion in the Asian market, but a lot of opportunities also exist in the Latin American market.  Companies should consider the option of joint ventures with local businesses that already have consumer insights and the cultural know-how of the business’s nature.

After reviewing these articles, there are three action items you should immediately consider for your businesses:
  1. Know your target audience: Companies are able to get to know their customers better through the exclusivity of customers becoming members in order to shop at their sites.  This enables companies to carefully choose curated products that appeal to them.
  2. Free and faster shipping: Developing an effective distribution strategy will allow companies to make faster and on-time deliveries that will satisfy customers.
  3. Business without borders: Companies should consider expanding their operations worldwide, evaluating both options: immersing into new markets by themselves or through joint ventures with local businesses.
As the e-commerce industry evolves and more fashion retailers join in, it is important for companies to innovate and expand in their field because competition is rapidly increasing.  It is essential to implement integrated solutions that focus on satisfying their savvy customers as well as implementing continuous improvements in the delivery end of the purchasing experience.



Sofia Capra is highly captivated by the e-commerce fashion industry of today’s digital environment.  Her personal passion for style and fashion have deepened her interest in online fashion retailers primarily focused on flash sales.  She previously worked as a Communications Specialist in the energy and infrastructure industry in Central America. Capra is currently pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University and completed her B.A. at American University in Washington, D.C. in 2010.

Follow her on Twitter @sofcapra

LinkedIn: Sofia Capra

3 comments:

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    ReplyDelete