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Drapers Fashion Forum: ‘An empathetic connection key to engaging women’

Phillippa Roberts

Phillippa Roberts

Phillippa Roberts, speaking at the Drapers Fashion Forum

Creating an empathetic connection is essential to engaging the female consumers who currently make 80% of purchase decisions, believes Philippa Roberts co-author of bestselling book Inside Her Pretty Little Head.

Speaking at today’s Drapers Fashion Forum, Roberts urged fashion retailers to start a new conversation with the female audience based on mirroring their lifestyle and creating a community of shared interests.

“We think this model will be very helpful in creating magnetism in the new fashion world,” said Roberts. ”Retailers such as Whistles, Anthropologie, Boden and Cos are doing this really well, as they are creating a 3D sense of who the audience is.”

Having a deep, detailed understanding of the audience will build that connection, focusing on the best version of their selves, not an idealised or unattainable representation, she argued.

Roberts noted trends that will impact the way fashion retailers operate in the future. Looking at 2015, the first year in history where most of the UK population is over 40, she cautioned fashion retailers not to forget the growing older female demographic, who are adventurous in their search for trends.

The impact of technology on purchase patterns and the rise of personalisation will also have an effect on how women will expect to shop.

As a result, Roberts called on fashion retailers to reverse the traditional model of a strong sales push based on seasonality aimed at a target customer, by beginning with the audience and creating product they will actually seek out.

“As fashion retailers you need to pull your audience to you, rather than push out and create brands that feel magnetic. The aim is to build a destination, go-to brand.”

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