The global fashion industry is valued at $1.7 trillion as of 2023. A not insignificant part of that revenue is generated via promotional messages – marketing communication inspiring folks to take a desirable action. These include, but are not limited to, product announcements, personalized recommendations, holiday and seasonal campaigns, event invitations, testimonials and reviews, VIP and loyalty programs, lookbooks, style inspiration, and more.
The very nature of the industry demands that the content of such messages be instantly alluring, lively, magnetic, and, most importantly, fun. Fashion is about building a fantasy, a mystique associated with the creations.
How do you convey all this to customers via emails and messages? Just with text and conventional images? That’s passé.
What if you could send high-res images with lightbox emphasis, dynamic layout styles, feedback, review and survey forms, intuitive search bars, payment mechanisms, and even fun games inside SMSes, WhatsApp messages, and emails?
You certainly can with Inbox Commerce.
This article explores how Inbox Commerce can accelerate engagement, conversions, and ROI in the fashion industry.
What is Inbox Commerce?
Inbox Commerce denotes marketing products/services, innovatively engaging with customers, and conducting transactions inside RCS, WhatsApp, and AMP-powered emails.
This approach focuses on simplifying the customer experience to make it convenient for users to interact with brands. They can effortlessly buy products/services without redirects to sites and apps. They can also leverage other features like filling out forms, redeeming discounts, leaving reviews, etc.
Messages empowered with Inbox Commerce let users accomplish website or app-like functions without visiting any website or app.
The success of Inbox Commerce comes from three technologies – RCS (Rich Communication Services), WhatsApp Business, and AMP for email. Together, they form the foundation of Inbox Commerce and have become the most influential tech combo for unconventional marketing and conversion.
RCS (Rich Communication Services)
RCS, or Rich Communication Services, represents a cutting-edge messaging protocol to revolutionize text and multimedia communication across mobile devices. This innovative standard is a collaborative effort of leading mobile network operators, device manufacturers, and tech giants like Google.
RCS transforms the conventional SMS into a dynamic and versatile marketing tool. It elevates messaging to genuine two-way communication, enabling direct engagement with users through their SMS inbox without additional app installations. Leveraging RCS, businesses can effortlessly deliver rich, contextually relevant content straight to their customers’ Android Messages app.
Diverging from traditional SMS, RCS introduces various features, including read receipts, typing indicators, group messaging, and the seamless sharing of high-resolution images, videos, and files within the messaging platform. Its primary goal is to directly give users an interactive, feature-rich messaging experience on their device, eliminating the necessity for additionally downloaded apps.
Numerous surveys and research studies have indicated that a significant majority — around 70% – 80% — of consumers prefer engaging with brands through private messaging to traditional channels like promotional emails or banner ads. Nevertheless, SMS, in its basic format, limits interactions to one-way communication, lacks visual elements, and confines text to a mere 160 characters. RCS effectively addresses these limitations by introducing dynamic features and expanded functionalities.
Wow with catalogs that update in real-time
It is usual for fashion houses to notify their customers every time new products are added to their catalogs. Brands can do the same with RCS messages, except for using high-res images, GIFs, videos, and more to showcase the new items.
What’s more exciting – a message with text and a link to a new dress or a message in which you see stunning, multiple images of the dress? Which one would catch more eyes and get more clicks?
Offer real-time order status within email
Inbox Commerce allows businesses to insert live trackers within the body of an RCS message. No more uncertainty about what time their much-awaited handbag will finally be delivered. Customers can track the package in real-time right from their SMS inbox.
The fact that you’re taking your time to make your customer’s jourrney easier will go a long way in making them brand loyalists.
Compare and contrast designers/creations
Savvy customers take the time and effort to research products they intend to purchase. Use this instinct to serve your customers better.
Create rich images and detailed reviews/comparisons of products a customer has shown interest in. Be honest about the pros and cons, and provide sources for your research. Keep the tone authentic (don’t try to sell one item over another).
You can present this information through high-quality videos or image carousels – both elements are easy to embed within RCS messages.
When customers see this information in their SMS inbox, they will appreciate your efforts to help them. And since you’re not trying to make a hard sell, you establish greater trust with the customer, which is always a win in the long run.
Help folks reserve items they love
Sometimes, customers need to ask stores to hold specific items for a couple of days before they come to pick them up. When a fashion line gets new creations, this function becomes especially necessary since the new stuff will likely sell out faster than existing stocks.
Make the act of reservation a breeze through RCS messaging. Every time you notify folks about new products via an RCS message, include buttons for ‘Reserve’ and ‘Buy Now.’ That way, they can buy or put items on hold from their SMS inbox.
Of course, brands can’t keep items on hold for too long. Don’t forget to mention the duration clearly in the RCS message.
Keep sending live updates for important events
Is it Paris Fashion Week? Don’t forget to let your customers know what’s hot and what’s not.
Send live updates with images and videos via RCS. Highlight interesting apparel unveiled on the runway and help people buy them conveniently. If the brand uses RCS, it can put purchase directions in the message itself.
Generally, runway items take a while to become available for public purchase. This is another use case in which RCS messages can be used to ‘reserve’ the creations for future purchases.
WhatsApp in Inbox Commerce
WhatsApp Business lets brands communicate directly with their customers via the world’s most popular messaging app – with 2 billion users and a 97% open rate. It is the perfect channel for direct and personalized lines of communication between user and brand.
Brands can use WhatsApp to send promotional messages, updates, and offers, providing a more intimate and real-time connection with their audience.
The WhatsApp ‘Click to Chat’ feature allows businesses to integrate a direct chat link on their websites or social media platforms, facilitating easy communication between customers and the brand. Users can connect with the fashion brand’s WhatsApp with a click.
Companies can also send messages to specific groups of customers with the WhatsApp broadcast lists. They can efficiently distribute anything from marketing content to updates to announcements to segmented customers.
Payment gateways can also be seamlessly integrated with WhatsApp so that customers can buy anything and everything from within the pp. The official WhatsApp API can incorporate various payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Razorpay, and more.
Send 1:1 messages that actually speak to the customer
Designer representatives can now talk to customers directly with a single click. Customers use WhatsApp all day, so a brand will surely catch their eye if it’s seen on it. Additionally, brands can now ask users the answers to questions that matter so that no guesswork gets into marketing data.
A European fashion retailer used WhatsApp Business to directly communicate with customers about everything – event reminders, order updates, customer support, and service notifications. The result was 35X ROI and 29.9% CTR.
Optimize customer service
The famous fashion brand Zara uses WhatsApp to chat with customers about sizing, colors, materials, order updates, returns, and more. Adidas, too, has been answering customer questions via WhatsApp, and Modanisa used the platform’s chatbots to cut costs and increase sales in less than two years.
Your customers are likely very savvy with WhatsApp. Nothing is easier for them than to conduct business with brands on their favorite messaging platform. By choosing WhatsApp Business, brands go and meet their customers where they are.
Remind them to recover their cart (and make it easy)
Facing abandoned cart issues? Use Inbox Commerce to remind customers to recover them, but in style.
Send a WhatsApp message with alluring images and peer-user reviews of everything they left in that abandoned cart. If any product is limited in stock, make sure you remind them of it.
Inbox Commerce also enables customers to recover their carts, make payments, and get confirmation within a WhatsApp message.
Offer an exclusive shopping experience
Most customers, especially young, chic fashionistas, prefer to shop online. So, if a brand plans to pamper such customers with an enticing shopping experience, they can do it on WhatsApp.
Pair up such exclusive buyers with personal shoppers who use a combination of images and videos to recommend products. Again, since users are used to texting on WhatsApp, this process will feel more intuitive than being redirected to an app or site.
Create unique, seamless customer flows
Women’s fashion retailer Sefamerve creatively used WhatsApp’s chatbots to create tailored user flows. Along with Meta, the brand crafted flexible and streamlined customer journeys through WhatsApp Flows.
What took four months to create led to a 158% increase in conversion and 2.6X revenue in sales.
Thanks to WhatsApp’s dynamic chatbots, brands can imagine and invent their own variations on the platform’s functions.
AMP for email
The AMP for email technology allows brands to leverage interactive features and dynamic elements within emails – forms, carousels, accordions, real-time data, quizzes, and more. The idea is to let users access a set of website/app-like features within their email inbox.
For example, customers no longer have to visit a brand’s website or app to purchase something. With AMP for email, you can make the same purchase from within an email. Similarly, they can fill out feedback forms, leave reviews, engage with gamification, book items, and do infinitely more.
You can send everything from GIFs to videos, forms to polls, and carousels within emails. The user can get everything they want without leaving their email inbox.
Display products with vibrant and dynamic visuals
Inbox Commerce allows brands and businesses to showcase their creations with maximum visual appeal within email. Multiple-angle images, highlighting specific sections, and displaying the entire collection in a carousel are some ways in which products can be shown in all their glory.
Since fashion is all about looking chic, messaging that looks the part is absolutely essential. Imagine a fashionista swiping through the product galleries of Gucci Ace or Dionysus and finding their choice right from the AMP email inbox. Wouldn’t they be highly likely to click ‘Add to Cart’?
Collect data for spot-on personalization and engagement
Share quick-n-easy forms to request customers’ preferences and wants via AMP email. You can ask folks to pick answers for multiple-choice questions, provide star ratings, or even type out their thoughts in a text box.
This information is crucial for understanding customers better and formulating hyper-personalization strategies and tailored content.
Generate FOMO about upcoming sales and promos
You know how many of us don’t regret losing something until it’s gone? How about making that effect kick in before the thing is gone, at the point when it might be gone?
You can create this FOMO through Inbox Commerce. Do you have a sale or promo coming up? Send your audience an email reminder and include a live ticking counter with an active countdown.
Since Inbox Commerce can update email info based on your site’s live data, the counter will change its ‘X days until….’ number. So, if a day has gone by since the email was sent and only 4 days are left, the user will see 5 automatically replaced with 4, 3, 2, and 1 in the same email as the date of the sale/promo gets closer.
Not only does this prevent customers from missing out on a great deal, but it also gives them a push to grab the opportunity sooner.
Make searching for creations really easy
Why redirect people from your email to your website or app to find what they want to buy? They can look for it within an email if you’ve got Inbox Commerce.
Insert a search bar with an auto-complete feature to help users find exactly what they are looking for. The search bar can suggest items based on a keyword or phrase, making the customer’s journey much easier.
If you feel like pushing the envelope of innovation, consider using an AI-powered search bar that goes beyond just recommending keyword-related items and makes suggestions based on the customer’s preferences and online browsing/shopping behavior.
Bring a little gamified fun into shopping with your brand
Sure, picking out outfits, handbags, shoes, and accessories is fun, but it’s much more fun if you put a dash of good ol’ gaming into the mix.
Use Inbox Commerce to share trivia games, spin-the-wheel, what’s-behind-the-door, and other little delight-drivers to give your customers a break. Add a little reward at the end of these games (even a $5 gift card is acceptable) to inspire customers to engage. After all, who doesn’t like a quick game and a freebie in the middle of a regular day?
Inbox Commerce – the à la pointe de la mode in fashion marketing
The fashion-lovin’ customers are loving it.
For example, one of our clients, the Walmart-owned fashion retailer Myntra, won the MediaPost Awards 2022 for ‘The best use of interactive emails’ by using Inbox Commerce. Not only did Myntra’s use of Inbox Commerce get customers excited and interested, but it also generated several fantastic business outcomes.
Countless case studies reveal how RCS messaging and WhatsApp Business have brought tremendous success for marketers.
Inbox Commerce works, and we have several success stories to prove it. So, let’s talk about creating one of those success stories for you. Connect with us to understand how you can benefit from our expertise and experience.
Serving over 6,500 customers across 40 countries, Netcore delivers over 1 billion inbox experiences every day – including 500 million emails and 700 million push notifications. Netcore’s AI is trained on 25 billion+ interactions from 1,300+ eCommerce stores, making it an invaluable asset for global brands.