As the slow fashion trend continues to grow, vintage clothing stores need to up their ecommerce marketing game to stay ahead. Pre-loved, vintage, second-hand or pre-owned clothing is the antithesis of mass-produced clothing. The market for unique fashion with a low eco-footprint is rapidly rising. Many consumers of today are looking for clothing that is as unique as it is low-impact. Traditional vintage clothing stores have slowly moved towards an online model. Just as regular clothing stores are more focused on selling online, vintage clothing stores are also adapting their strategies for the online market.
With this shift towards online shopping, there is a big need for ecommerce marketing strategies geared specifically to vintage clothing stores. Strategies that work for largescale retailers do not work for small, artisan stores. Instead, strategies need to be carefully crafted to meet the needs of shoppers.
Ecommerce Marketing for Vintage Clothing Stores
There are a few ways that you can use ecommerce marketing to grow your vintage clothing store. Here are some of the most effective ways.
Fine-tune your niche
Vintage clothing is, in itself, a niche. Standing out from the crowd means finding and establishing a niche within a niche. There are several ways that you could fine-tune your niche. You could focus on a very specific audience (more on that below). You could focus on specific clothing types, such as coats, hats, accessories or shoes. You could focus on specific eras – 20s, 50s, 60s, 80s or 90s, for example. You could focus on style, such as trendy, sophisticated, formal or casual. You could focus on a price range – affordable, high-end or mid-range. Having a specific niche will not only help you stand out in a crowded market. It will also help you find and target the right customers. Developing customised marketing strategies will get easier as well.
Know your audience
Your audience plays a vital role in all ecommerce marketing. Unless you are a large store that sells a huge variety of products suited to just about everyone, you will not appeal to every single shopper. Vintage clothing is a very specific niche. People who shop and wear pre-loved clothing have specific interests. Demographics are also very specific. Behaviour is equally specific. Many pre-owned clothing fans are passionate about slow fashion and its reduced impact on the environment. Others are into clothing ‘scenes’, such as Rockability or old-fashioned glamour. Their needs are very different to those shopping at regular clothing stores. They are looking for one-off finds that cannot be found elsewhere. They are looking for high-quality clothing that will last. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to create highly targeted campaigns.
Grow hype and urgency
There is a big sense of urgency with vintage clothing sales. The primary reason for this is organic. Vintage clothing items are almost always unique. It is very rare to find two pieces of clothing that are the same. Sizes are never the same, either. A beautifully made vintage jacket that has just arrived in the store will be highly sought-after. This makes it easy to build hype. You could capitalise on this even further. One way to build a sense of urgency is a ‘sneak peek’ strategy that shows newly added items before they are officially on sale. You could also look at monthly flash sales. These can include countdowns, email or SMS reminders or daily social media reminders.
Embrace social media
Social media is a major channel driving vintage clothing sales and marketing. Many sales are done directly through Facebook. Using social media to promote rather than sell can be just as effective, if not more so. Facebook and Instagram are both excellent channels to build hype and grow a following. Making use of video posts, image posts and campaigns designed to reach your audience will all help drive traffic to your store. You can also get your customers on board. Showcase your customers wearing their clothing finds will help to drive more interest and encourage loyalty. Fun, unique hashtags are another good idea. Social media and blog content relating to slow fashion, style trends and looks created with in-stock clothing are also great to showcase your stock in a way that drives interest and sales.
Build your mailing list
Email marketing is a powerful tool for all online stores. For vintage clothing stores, it plays an important role in your ecommerce marketing strategy. There are a few ways that email can help. Newsletters are always good for building a following and offering valuable resources to customers. These can include fashion tips, articles from your blog, upcoming sales, product sneak peeks, happy customer pictures, and various other content that adds value. Automated lead nurturing sequences are equally good. Create lead magnets such as a lookbook or trend guide or research other free resources that add value.
Create a cult following
One of the big things about vintage clothing is its cult-like appeal. This type of clothing is a movement for many customers. For others, it’s a lifestyle. Although some shoppers buy a combination of clothing from vintage and other clothing stores, many shop vintage exclusively. Driving loyalty through weekly new release pre-launches, special discounts, features such as virtual try-on, social media hashtags, and customers wearing their finds will all help build a following. Positioning your store to be unique and personalised rather than yet another store is essential. It is important to constantly look at ways that you can surprise customers and keep them interested.
Focus on new and existing customers
Although new customers are vital, current customers are even more important. It costs far less to retain customers than it does to bring in new customers. While that does not mean you have to focus only on existing customers, you should be keeping them top of mind. Look at strategies geared towards new customers – sign-up bonuses or free shipping, for example. Aim to provide a high level of service. Create a seamless customer experience that impresses new customers and turns them into return customers. You could also plan pop-up stores that target new and existing customers.
Provide authentic service
That brings us to our final and most important tip. By their nature, vintage clothing stores are small, boutique stores that are often run by small teams. In some cases, they are run by individuals. It is the individual, personalised appeal that makes all the difference between these stores and generic chain stores. The more personalised the service, the better. You need to create an experience for customers. This could include offers such as free shipping, individually wrapped products, hand-written thank you notes, personalised invites to check out newly added products, just-for-fun discounts, and anything else that makes customers feel that you genuinely care. Having policies such as no-cost returns and exchanges is important. Customer service can be automated, but only to a certain point. Tools such as chatbots can be effective in some cases. Multiple contact points and the option to speak to real-life humans is even more effective. Your goal here is to make customers feel special from the moment they arrive on your site. The easier it is for them to shop, check out and receive products, the better.
Ecommerce Marketing and Vintage Clothing
We hope that these tips help you get some inspiration for your campaigns. With a well-crafted ecommerce marketing strategy, you will be able to grow a loyal following for your vintage clothing store.