How to Attract Fashionistas Online

A couple days ago I ran into a good friend that is trying to make it big in the fashion industry. She is one of the coolest persons that I’ve met: a Japanese born gal that grow up in Mexico speaking mostly English and moved to Montreal to work in the field of fashion design.

We started talking about her experience in Montreal and how the economy has hit the fashion industry pretty hard. Not only is she having a hard time hunting for a job, but she has noticed that most fashion websites that she’s visiting are starting to (gasp!) advertise more and more.

Here’s a review of what I learned about the user experience of a fashionista visiting a fashion related website: what turns her off, what engages her, and what are her thoughts about online surveys.

What Turns Online Fashionistas Off

1. “They’re not only forcing you to see them (ads)…but they’re all out there being pushy”.

At the top of her list are the ads with a small animation that have a “teeny tiny x close  thingy” that you can never find. These ads bother her a lot because they get in her way.  “They’re not only forcing you to see them…but they’re all out there being pushy”, she said.

Another example of pushy ads are the expandable ones.  “They are at the top of the site…and you have to scroll down a lot to skip it…and then it collapses…ugh!”.

2. “When there’s sound and it scares you!”

“There’s a Holt Renfrew ad at http://www.style.com,  it’s so loud it scares me every time!  I’m even thinking about boycotting Holt’s by not considering its products when working with clients”.

3. Client testimonials

“I don’t think there’s something more annoying than the ones with music or people talking and stuff.”

Conclusion: unannounced sound of a client testimonial with a tiny close option is a major way to scare fashionistas away from your web site.

What Engages Fashionistas Online

1. Recognizable colors, trademarks or patterns as background

“Two weeks ago or something…http://nymag.com had a Burberry ad,  and it was like.. the checkered thingy… as background of the home page. That was nice because it was non intrusive and easy to recognize.”  If you invest so much in developing a brand and trademarking logos, patterns and slogans, make savvy use of them online.

2. Respectful ads

“There are some video ads…pretty much the same as the noisy ones…but these ads include the phrase ‘ click to hear’. Wow, I thought this makes sense and it is respectful! It make me even curious to find out how it sounded like”.

Conclusion:  as long as the ads offer you the option to view them, blend in, and don’t interfere with your content viewing, then they are ok for fashionistas to be in your web site.

What About Surveys?

“I think I’ve answered only once”.

The main factors that deter fashionistas from answering online surveys are:

  • Too many questions.
  • “Sketchy” looking survey (Would this really come from Banana Republic?).
  • Asking for a credit card…just to verify purchase.

What about motivating fashionistas to answer online surveys with the chance of entering the draw for $500 gift card?

The answer is perhaps. “I personally don’t really care about prizes, but I think my friends may do it for the prize”.

Conclusion:  make sure to offer a reward for your online survey and invest in making it look legit and professional, also keep your online survey short and to the point by avoiding too many personal questions.

Damian Davila

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger. Find him at @idaconcpts on Twitter.

2 Comments

  1. Damian,

    Your guidance above would apply to every single website (and ad system) I know of on this planet. That’s because it does not matter if you are a Fashionista or a Analytista or a …. every human expects (and deserves) sites that are easy to use and treat the visitors with dignity and respect.

    Sadly it uncommon for that to happen.

    With respect to ads, to your list of respectful and creative, I would also add relevant. Ads are engaging and welcome if they understand their audience and are relevant. It is the irrelevance that we all find irritating.

    -Avinash.
    PS: With regards to the survey… I think providing incentives for survey completion causes you to get sub optimal data. One can certainly experiment and see what the impact is. I would much rather though keep the survey as short and as relevant as possible.

  2. Avinash,

    Thank you for your feedback. You summarize the mission of UI perfectly: “every human expects (and deserves) sites that are easy to use and treat the visitors with dignity and respect.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately, A/B testing of is often downplayed by website designers and coders. Small changes that could make the user experience better are archived for the next release.

    The list of respectful, creative and relevant does sound very familiar to Seth Godin’s concept of permission marketing: personal, relevant, and anticipated. Definitely, using these 3 tenets in company surveys might work out way better than offering a monetary reward or prize (specially if you’ve a 0.0000000001% chance of getting it, right?).

    – Damian

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