Branded Fashion Apps Are On The Rise…Here’s Why

Tech and fashion are colliding in 2021 with more new branded fashion apps launching each day.

It makes sense why we’re seeing this trend: Shoppers spend more time within apps than on websites. What’s more: 61% of millennials readily download retail apps, with 58% prefering to shop in-app (opposed to using a brand’s mobile-friendly website).

Custom-built apps put fashion trends and inspiration right at a user’s fingertips and meet them where they are: On their smartphones.

An Audience-Centric Buying Experience

If you’re wondering whether or not branded fashion apps are worth the investment and developer costs they entail, consider that leveraging app-based features (which are currently lacking in the web-based environment) can create a better user experience while strengthening brand loyalty.

Fashion retailer ASOS has seen this work well by designing its app to meet users’ needs, one of which is aiding in the product discovery process. The global fashion retailer is known for carrying a wide variety of products, which can make it difficult for users to find a specific item. This is where the app’s Style Match feature comes in handy for shoppers. With this visual search tool, shoppers can upload a photo and get instant product recommendations.

In 2020, ASOS developed another in-app tool to help cut down on sizing-related returns: The “See My Fit” feature allows users to check out how the product fits on 16 different models with varying body shapes and sizes through the help of augmented reality (AR).

These mobile app features help the brand deliver a user-centric buying experience that’s both more enjoyable and authentic, thus improving customer satisfaction and boosting long-term loyalty.

Stronger Brand Communities

Branded apps offer fashion retailers another important edge: The ability to incentivize shoppers with in-app perks. Since 76% of consumers shop on mobile devices, this approach gives mobile-first shoppers one more reason to visit a brand’s app and buy.

Madewell also recently released a branded app. First made available to the community members in their Insider loyalty program, it later rolled out to all consumers.

Aside from convenience, app users can also enjoy perks such as VIP access to exclusive offers and new collections. Madewell’s overarching goal for the app is to boost Insider engagement, which is strategic considering 58% of branded communities have seen increased customer loyalty.  

Global fashion brand SHEIN is also using a branded app to strengthen its community. On May 2, 2021, the brand streamed itssecond virtual music festival called “SHEIN Together Fest” within its app. This mini-event was created tounite global users to celebrate fashion and music while reinforcing brand image and driving app downloads.

Another Touchpoint For Communication

One of the more obvious perks around fashion brands launching apps is that it creates another touchpoint wherein brands can communicate directly with shoppers.

In-app messaging allows fast and seamless communication. Customers can send a direct message just by going to the app without inputting their details in contact form fields. All necessary information is already available within their account on the app.

On the other hand, push notifications attract customers who have downloaded the app but are currently not using it. Provided they didn’t opt out of this feature, brands can send users messages to draw them onto the app. Global luxury brand Net-a-Porter, for example, sends out daily notifications about exclusive styles, new collections, and inspirations through push notifications.

More Data-Driven And Personalized

With the help of data analytics and big data, fashion retailers can garner insights from their customers, study their behaviors, and adjust their strategies accordingly. Having a mobile app provides another setting in which this data can be collected.

Brands often use this to their advantage by personalizing the customer experience to present the right products at the right time. One brand capitalizing on this is The Yes: Its app promises a new and more straightforward approach to personalized shopping and product discovery.

Each feed is different because it adapts to the user’s individual preferences. Daily recommendations are available, and every time a user clicks YES or NO on a product, it generates new data, which is then used to fine-tune the feed.

Julie Bornstein, Co-Founder and CEO of The Yes, noticed that mobile shopping contributes to half of eCommerce sales, and things are growing rapidly.

“We wanted to build a product that was optimized for the constraints of the small screen,” she said. “We didn’t want our app to feel like a typical website repurposed for the phone, so we started with an iOS app. Ultimately, our goal is to be wherever the customer is at the moment.”

Aside from a personalized experience, generated insights can also be used to create promos and rewards and to identify niche markets. While most brands already know what their target market appreciates, additional data can keep them one step ahead of the competition by spotting emerging trends.

Other Strategies You Can Borrow from Branded Fashion Apps

  1. Request user feedback and carry out changes as soon as possible. Enhancing the app according to user requests should be part of its maintenance and ensures your brand is moving in the right direction.
  2. Leverage omnichannel retailing model. Leads coming from mobile apps are often easier to convert because they are more targeted compared to websites. Cut through the noise by maximizing visibility and availability, which can quickly push users down the funnel.
  3. Scale the business. Mobile apps help brands grow their business globally since customers from different parts of the world can make a purchase through the app.
  4. Merging app with social media for increased awareness. Enabling users to share pictures and features from an app to social media leads to more brand recognition and enhanced credibility.  
  5. Improve inventory accuracy. Apps can send notifications to brand owners if an item is currently out of stock.

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