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How to target the fashion-forward crowd on mobile

Fashionistas, like tech nerds, thrive on being ahead of the curve but also culturally aware, so when speaking to this influential social group, marketers must think beyond the mundane.

When speaking to the fashion crowd, not only does the message need to be right, but also the production quality. Fashion shoppers need to be able to zoom in to see the pattern, turn the pieces around and be able to view an item on a mannequin, so they can see how it looks.

?Fashion shoppers are emotionally driven and sometimes more spontaneous,? said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile of Toronto. 

?Purchase decisions are based on the look and feel of things, so on mobile the visuals become really important, unlike it if was a book or an electronic where the specs would be most important,? she said.

?On mobile we are one step removed so shoppers don?t get to touch and feel, so we have to try to compensate.?

Keep it clean and clear
Susan Sommers, a New York fashion consultant gets swarms of emails, and only opens messages from brands she has purchased from or sources that provide her out-of-the-ordinary and inspiring content.

A sampling of her `I will open? list these days includes:, which has its own shopping app, LuLuLemon, Jildor Shoes, J.Crew and Hampden Clothing, a Charleston, S.C., boutique whose owner Stacy Smallwood writes about her travels to fashion shows and life experiences.

?Her site has bios of personalities and she sends out emails a couple times a week with new ideas. It is really, really interesting,? said Ms. Sommers, the CEO of Dresszing, who needs to stay in tune in order to help her clients do so.

When designing, keep content uncluttered and use large text, but sparingly.

?Let the product speak for itself,? Plastic Mobile?s Ms. Adhami said.

This is the approach her firm took when building iPad and iPhone apps for flash sales retailer Beyond the Rack. For mcommerce keep the process simple and save information, so checkout is done with the tap of a button.

Timing and tactics
Sparkfly, an Atlanta-based firm that tracks mobile promotions from start to finish, is just beginning to work with specialty fashion retailers.

?We are finding that for lots of fashion brands as well as fashion retailers, it is very early in understanding mobile, the possibilities offered through geo promotions and what the impact could be,? said Catherine Tabor, CEO of Sparkfly

Advertisers looking to connect with fashionistas should time messaging with key shopping moments such as seasonal changes. Pay attention to New York Fashion week that occurs twice a year when designers unveil their fall and spring collections. Think also about back-to-school and wedding season and graduation season, all times when fresh fashion is often desired.

?When the need for inspiration or a new outfit is high would be when the consumer is most likely to connect and spend time with you as a brand,? said Andrea Wilson, vice president, strategy director & luxury practice lead for iProspect of Fort Worth, TX. 

The firm?s research has found that the love of fashion and to be on-trend are traits that cut across income levels.

Browsing is a hobby
If looking for partnerships to reach the fashion forward, tie-ins with fashion and lifestyle publishers is one good approach.

When using search, make sure results offer quick links to products and engaging content. Store addresses, phone numbers and hours should be prominently presented. Search terms should not be restricted to the brand, but also tap into generic trend topics that could lead a consumer to the brand.

?Key categories can help drive awareness when someone is searching for content/ideas on those terms,? Ms. Wilson said. ?These can also be bought at a geo-targeted level close to stores to ensure the most relevance.?

Mobile display is another worthy tool to reach fashion lovers while they are on their phones consuming related content or a relevant app. Use images and video to showcase the brand and tie-in with seasonality are recommended.

Collaborate with key fashion sites, influencers and bloggers through social.

?These fashion-obsessed consumers likely spend a lot of their time browsing social posts from their favorites,? Ms. Wilson said.

?Besides function and need, fashion is a hobby, as is browsing fashion on a mobile,? she said.

?And how they learn about those trends and continue their love affair with fashion is through their media consumption across all devices and platforms.?