Fashion Marketing – Fashion Stores Meet Niche Marketing, Pareto, and the Long Tail

Fashion Marketing news: A slew of studies, data, and articles seem to point out the growing success of niche sites, especially in the fashion industry. Hype or Fact? How can big online retailers and local fashion stores benefit from internet niches?

I like reading about pragmatic ideas to boost online sales of fashion goods, from apparel to accessories. I think that too much time is wasted in theorizing about internet marketing, and not acting about it.

Yet, I am going to talk about hard-core statisical studies and hype. Why?

Because I found in this month’s INC. magazine an article about niche marketing that made me connect together a lot of issues facing local apparel stores as well as big online fashion retailers.

Make money online by not carrying best-sellers

First, the article titled “A world without bestsellers” dabbles with buying patterns specific to internet consumers.

These patterns make up the Long Tail. You may or you may not know about it. For a concise explanation, go the Long Tail page on Wikipedia. Let’s just say that consumers can find and buy online products that a regular store could not carry. For instance, 40% of Amazon.com’s book sales reportedly consist in unknown titles that your regular Barnes and Noble cannot afford to carry in the bookstore next door.

The same seem to apply to fashion goods. For instance, in the INC. article, Zappos’ Tony Hsieh says that:

“Today the company sells more than three million products across 1,000 brands. The top 20 percent of products account for half of revenue, the bottom 80 percent, the other half.”

So, at Zappos, the 20 best-selling items represent only 50% of the revenues. This is a far-cry from the usual 80/20 rule that usually applies offline, when the top 20 best-sellers make up 80% of the revenues. The 80/20 rule is drawn from the works of economist Pareto.

Online sales of fashion goods make Pareto Principle redundant

This is the gist of a February 2007 study called “Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales.” It was written by researchers at the Sloan School of Management at the MIT. Better, this study is based on “several years of sales data at a private-label women’s clothing company that offered the same merchandise through its catalog and its Internet store.”

Fashion goods are really at the forefront of this trend. Think about all the sites of the specialty sites that have sprung up, from sites selling discontinued lines of products to sites selling only to a sub-demographic. Buyers will turn to the web for hard-to-find glasses or for styles that regular retailers would deem too original to carry.

A company called Niche Retail is specialized in doing just that. The company says that they actually avoid carrying best-sellers, as big retailers can usually manage to kill the business by discounting the most sought-after items. By the way, Niche Retail’s logo reprents the Long Tail graph.

Style is a personal matter. Fashion professionals did not wait for the Long Tail theory to launch niche product lines. But the internet does offer interesting further niche opportunities:

– established brands and big online retailers can find relevant niche sites for some of their product lines

– local fashion stores are indeed niches themselves; they can use the internet to get more exposure

Big brands and retailers going after niche consumers

This very site spends time presenting you new fashion blogs, new fashion sites, and new fashion communities (see Fashion 2.0). Because fashion can get very personal, it has always been a good conversation topic. Now, the internet allows you to become a fashion critique in a snap. Big fashion actors can go after these niche sites to get their attention.

For instance, niche TV channels are popping up on the internet, due to the low barrier of entry, as reported in this article of the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper gives the example of clothing chain Express sponsoring the Ford Models web tv. I would add the example of “Ask a Gay Man”, the colorful and popular fashion critique show on YouTube (see my previous note on the subject), which has gotten founder William Sledd a TV deal with Bravo.

But you not have to be big to go after these niche sites. For instance, Ujeans, a made-to-order jeans company sponsors competitions on social network site StyleMob (“a new community for street fashion inspiration”).

Local fashion stores are so niche

I see here a chance for local apparel stores as well: a niche can be geographic.

A local store owner may be the best person to know what senior citizens like wearing in the Boca Raton area. Why not put up a website, where you can share your expertise? When local people use Google to find information about clothes they like, they will find your website, enjoy your expertise, and visit your shop.

Marketers are encouraging local stores to go online and advertise. A book called Marketing your retail store in the internet age does a great job of giving pragmatic and inexpensive tips to local store owners. Meanwhile, Google is pushing local ads heavily. Its AdWords system allows you to display your ad only to people searching from your zip code. Moreover, Google Maps allows you to mention your store in the popular map system, so that when people search for “women’s fashion, 97108”, your store shows up.

No wonder that local advertising on the internet is booming. According to eMarketer, local online advertising spending in the US will reach $2.9 billion in 2007. Local search is great for a local fashion store or a geographical niche site. One of the best resources about the subject, with how-to-s and advice, is Clickz’s Local Search column.


22 Comments

  1. A pal told me I needed to go through this content, hence right here I’m. I found this to be interesting and well written. It is incredibly fine.

  2. I do not normally include remarks to any sort of material on the internet, but this post deserves my personal focus. With regard to what it’s worth, you have done a marvelous job of getting across your own points and I’m with you.

  3. This is actually top quality reading. It is full of helpful information that’s easily understood as well as highly readable. I actually adore reading good quality content articles this well-written. Thank you so much.

  4. You’ve touched on some glorious points inside your write-up. I personally find this particular pretty thought provoking and fascinating content. I actually wish you plan to share much more info on this subject so I could learn more. Many thanks.

  5. You’ve gone to loads of effort doing your homework with this article and it also shows. Far more writers must take enough time to have their point across in a clear and concise way. Many thanks.

  6. Tremendous work on this specific article. I haven’t gone through anything this thought-provoking in a long, very long time. I agree with much of what you have mentioned. It is nicely laid out as well as written in my opinion.

  7. I am a writer, however I am certainly not of your quality. I know the time and effort it required you to compose this content. It is interesting and also tremendous in my opinion.

  8. I personally applaud your work on this specific article. This is well researched info you’ve made your point. I personally discovered this fascinating all the way through. Truly splendid job.

  9. Extraordinary is the sole word I’m able to find to describe the material. I actually cannot let you know just how long it’s been since I’ve found this sort of awesome writing. I personally concur with your points. Tremendous work!

  10. You’ve composed an exceptionally nice post right here. Though I don’t agree with each point you tend to make, I truly do accept the general content material.

  11. Many thanks for compiling this specific outstanding top quality article. The info in this content verifies my personal view and you also truly laid it out very well. I actually could never have composed a write-up this fine.

  12. I’m seldom interested in reading subjects in this specific industry because they are usually dull, nonetheless this content is special. I am quite amazed with your writing as well as your endeavors.

  13. It is not frequently that any post catches me my attention like this one did. I was thinking about this information right from the start. This is a very good informative post with valid views. I agree.

  14. This post is a unique wealth of informative content material. You grabbed my own focus immediately together with the points you mentioned. Authors who take some time and make the effort to deliver good quality writing should have an incentive.

  15. You’ve done a very nice work having your point across in this article. I’m quite satisfied with the points you’ve made here and how very well they are delivered.Thanks a lot for creating interesting, useful content.

  16. Unbelievable write-up! I simply had to take time to say thanks to you for compiling an article having such brilliant information. You tend to make logical points and I also have to agree with you on a lot of them.

  17. I consider this particular to be info of excellent quality and it appears to be compiled so as to make the reader think. I love your way of writing and thank you for your work.

  18. Reading this content made me ponder. I actually adored this article. You incorporate some genuine top quality info that seems to be explored effectively. I personally agree with plenty of your own perspectives.

  19. I can appreciate very good writing when I have a look at it. It is really wonderful writing. You truly come up with logical and intriguing points which you have provided in a unique way. It is a good high quality article.

  20. There is a lot of helpful as well as enlightening information in this article. I’ll need to come back and read it yet again in order to analyze some of your own perspectives. This particular is really a quality article.

  21. I truly thank you for very well planned content material. You have really made it interesting and appealing to go through. I agree with your own views on this particular subject. It is amazing to come across a writer that cares about their own material.

  22. I truly appreciate your well created content material. You have made it intriguing and appealing to go through. I personally accept your own thoughts about this subject matter. It’s extraordinary to find a author that loves their particular content material.

Comments are closed.