Ecommerce and POS platform Shopline discusses the high relevance of data in the current digital retail landscape. 

In the competitive runway that is the rag trade, brands are battling stiletto over heel for the attention of the same shopper. In a market that is constantly evolving, traditional marketing strategies are no longer enough to set brands apart from their competitors.

To remain relevant and on-trend, brands need to think outside the box, be bold and develop innovative marketing strategies that will capture the attention of online shoppers.

It all starts with data. Sexy? No. Relevant? Highly.

Customer data. Product data. Inventory data. Sales data. The list goes on. No new fandangled marketing strategy is going to work today or in the future without it. Not a single one.

Leveraging data to understand your customers' behaviour and preferences will enable you to develop targeted marketing strategies that are more likely to convert visitors into customers. By collecting and analysing data, retailers can make informed decisions about how to allocate their marketing budgets, which channels to prioritise, which products to promote, and - most importantly - how to optimise their marketing for maximum conversions.

Keeping abreast of your product and inventory data helps you better understand which products are selling well and adjust inventory levels accordingly. This ensures that popular products are always in stock, while also minimising the risk of overstocking slow-moving items.

In the fashion industry, timing is everything. Frocks or socks? Swimsuit or coat? It is all about relevance and serving the right product to the right person at the right time in the right place.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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Your data - how you store it, where you collect it, how you integrate it - is about to become your entire business. The technology of tomorrow (and today) is highly reliant on this data; if you’re not on top of it, you’ve already lost.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and Bard are just the tip of the iceberg. AI is about to blow up in a big way and this will transform retail as we know it.

AI algorithms rely on data to identify patterns, make predictions, and improve their accuracy over time. In commerce, data can come from a variety of sources; customer behaviour on websites and mobile apps, social media interactions, and sales data. This data can be analysed by AI algorithms to identify trends and patterns that can inform marketing strategies, product development, and pricing decisions.

For example, AI can be used to analyse customer browsing and purchase histories to recommend products that are likely to be of interest to them. It’s deeper than just ‘she bought a pink blouse, let me recommend more pink items to her’. It can also be used to optimise pricing strategies by analysing sales data and predicting customer demand.

No more guesswork. No more ‘end of line’ sales. No more stock-outs.

In addition to providing insights into customer behaviour and preferences, data can also be used to improve the performance of AI algorithms themselves. By continuously feeding new data into the algorithms, they can be trained to become more accurate and efficient over time.

Marketing Strategies for the Fashion-Forward

While data is the golden ticket, the real competitive advantage comes for those who know where the entry point is to unlock and discover a whole wardrobe of insights that will fuel a fashion-forward strategy and send the business down the runway for success. Here are some strategic ideas you may want to consider.

Strategy 1: Personalisation

By analysing customer data, AI algorithms can identify patterns and preferences that enable more personalised and relevant communications and recommendations, increasing customer engagement and ultimately boosting sales. Customers expect an amazing, personalised customer experience. This can be achieved through robust data from a variety of sources.

Strategy 2: Dynamic Pricing

Retailers can optimise pricing based on dynamic factors such as inventory levels, competitor pricing, and customer demand, and adjust in real-time. As consumers become increasingly price-sensitive, retailers who are not able to offer competitive prices risk losing business to their competitors.

By using dynamic pricing, retailers can ensure that they are always offering the most competitive prices possible, helping them to attract and retain customers.

Strategy 3: AR and VR

The use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in fashion ecommerce is another innovative strategy fast gaining momentum as the technology becomes more readily available. AR and VR allow customers to virtually try on clothes and see how they look before making a purchase.

Brands can also use AR and VR to create immersive shopping experiences, which can help to differentiate them from their competitors and create a memorable customer experience. This technology also helps to reduce returns as it mitigates sizing issues.

How to move forward in a data-driven world

Data is rapidly changing. With third party cookies systematically disappearing, brands and retailers need to shift their focus to a first-party data strategy. Cultivating your own unique data insights through a rich customer experience is the way forward.

To do this, you need to offer value in exchange for data, which can be used to create complete data profiles.

Loyalty programs are an excellent way to capture this data. Customers are “rewarded” for handing over their data, which is used to enhance their data profile. This is then used to communicate in a more personalised way. More personalisation means higher conversions and loyalty - and so the cycle continues.

Integrating offline and online data has always been difficult for merchants of all shapes and sizes. A loyalty program solves this challenge by identifying the customer at the point of sale, and personalising the experience for them.

Fashion commerce is an ever-evolving industry. Retailers need to develop data-led, innovative marketing strategies to stay ahead of their competitors, capture the attention of online shoppers and create a memorable shopping experience.

By breaking the rules and thinking outside of the box, retailers can be future-ready for the next evolution of technology in commerce.

SHOPLINE empowers retailers to level-up their commerce, helping them to sell, market and operate their business. The feature-rich commerce platform offers retailers more functionality, lightning-fast site speeds and a unified commerce solution to help them grow. Learn more at Shopline.

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