Retailers should take advantage of the rising influence of blogs to build a dialogue with their customers.
Bloggers are becoming increasingly important in the eyes of the fashion industry, with some asked along to retailers’ press days and a few even invited to sit in the front row at catwalks.
Retailers can tap into the popularity of blogs by setting up their own which, when done well, can drive sales. However, a blog should not be used as an obvious sales tool. Instead, it should be authentic and promote awareness of the business and new product in a less forceful way.
A blog can give a retailer a voice, the personality of which should align with the store’s image and be used to build a community. Thought-provoking posts can encourage reader comments which create interaction and allow retailers to find out more about their customers. By reacting to comments, retailers can build strong relationships that will keep individuals coming back to a transactional site and encourage further purchases.
Chloe Batt, fashion editor for London-based designer mini chain Matches’ website, Matchesfashion.com, believes blogging is all about the connection with the customer. “Our blog is the voice of Matches online, mirroring our relationships with clients in store,” she says. “The purpose of our blog is to give an inside view on Matches, as well as sparking a dialogue with both the wider fashion industry and our customers. “
Rob Scaife, head of marketing at York designer indie Sarah Coggles, agrees. “The blog [at www.coggles.com] allows us to communicate what Coggles is about beyond just the designers we stock,” he says. “By having a point of view on the things we are passionate about - music, films, art and design as well as fashion - hopefully we add value and build loyalty by engaging people through who we are as well as what we sell and how we go about selling it.”
Blogs can also be useful in terms of search engine optimisation. Online consultant Leon Bailey-Green says: “A blog can be hugely beneficial to a retailer’s natural search. It drives traffic cost-effectively and gives the brand a voice.”
It is crucial to have a strategy behind the blog- it will only be successful if the content and aims are clear to both the retailer and the customer.