Has COVID-19 changed the way people buy clothes?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly shaken up the world, in ways that nobody has ever experienced before and could ever have imagined. The high street is no longer bustling with busy shoppers; instead all shops are shut and shoppers stay at home. But what does this mean for clothing brands and the fashion industry?


Online is booming


It’s safe to say that online business is booming as this is the only way people are able to buy clothes at the moment. And even when shops do begin to re-open, online business will probably still be favoured over visiting physical stores. People will be wary of putting themselves in a potentially very crowded situation for a long time. 


But this doesn’t mean you should bombard customers with lots of marketing and sales pitches to buy your online products, instead businesses should turn to creating a platform where their customers can interact, communicate and come together. Now more than ever, communication is vital.  


Shift to digital 


Many fashion shows and events have been cancelled or postponed, but that doesn’t mean everything has stopped altogether. London Fashion Week is due to hold its annual fashion show and events in June, but this time they’ve gone digital! Both womenswear and menswear fashion shows will be showcased together online, along with virtual showrooms, podcasts and online interviews (most likely using Zoom).


Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC), explains: “By creating a cultural fashion week platform, we are adapting digital innovation to best fit our needs today and enacting something to build on as a global showcase for the future. So, the question is what will fashion shows of the future look like and will they now stay digital?


Adapt to survive


In order to survive in any market, businesses need to adapt and right now it’s more important than ever. If your business is not currently online, then get yourself online! If you currently have an online presence then see how you can make things as easy and as safe as possible for your customers. Re-evaluate your delivery methods and time periods, inform your customers of the safety measures you’re taking, extend your refund periods, offer free delivery or another type of promotion. 


So what about new brands?


On the surface, it might not seem like the most ideal time to launch a new brand, but it could actually work in your favour. During this time, more and more people have become aware of supporting smaller businesses and shopping locally. So, as a start-up, you might find more people gravitating towards your brand.


Consumers' mindsets have also changed due to the dramatic change in their lifestyles. People’s lives have been stripped back; living less, having less accessible to them and appreciating the small things. This then influences and extends to their buying habits, reinforcing the concept of buying less and buying better. So, it’s really important to make sure your brand resonates with the current consumers mindset in order to make an impact and build brand awareness.  


Consider what you offer


Another factor to consider is what you’re offering your customers. If you want to launch your own loungewear collection, now is the perfect time! The demand for loungewear is higher than ever before as many businesses are working from home and will be for the foreseeable future.


However, if you’re launching a swimwear brand, think about how you can adapt certain aspects or pieces of your collection to suit the current consumer’s lifestyle. For instance, show people how they can wear your swimsuits and bikinis at home in the garden - because they don’t just have to be worn at the beach or lounging by a pool. In fact, you might find an increase in engagement as more people can relate to your brand. 


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