The economic uncertainty of the past months has not skipped the apparel industry. Inflation, supply shortage, and geopolitical uncertainty have had their impact both on consumer buying habits and on the cost of goods. The result is rising pressure on online retailers to find innovative ways to draw shoppers’ attention.
Increasing online advertising may seem like an obvious choice, but doing so can prove to be challenging. Increased competition has been driving up advertising prices, while regulations such as GDPR and technological changes have reduced the efficacy and squeezed the margins of digital ad campaigns. For example, last year, brands spent 3X more to acquire each customer than what they spent in 2013.
The result? Maintaining revenue and margins today means retailers need to find ways to improve their Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and make online marketing more effective.
The value of a recognizable brand
One of the most effective ways for apparel retailers to increase the impact of their online ads is with consistent use of identifiable brand imagery.
A recognizable brand stands out amid countless marketing messages competing for consumers’ attention. The key to a recognizable brand is consistency, achievable with consistent visual elements.
There are several reasons for this:
Consistency – Apparel retailers can effectively increase the impact of their online ads with consistent use of identifiable brand images. This can increase a company’s revenue by 23-33%.
Multiple touchpoints – It typically takes 5-7 touchpoints for people to remember your brand. While common brand identifiers may include a logo, colors and other styling elements, consistent use of models and model personas add another highly recognizable element for shoppers to relate to, which can ultimately increase purchases.
Visuals – The importance of visual elements in effective marketing simply can’t be overstated. Photographs are the number one factor in buying decisions, according to research by etsy.
Take your retail brand a step forward with “House Models”
Models are the centerpiece of apparel advertising. They are what bring a still garment to life.
Models have to be right for the brand, the items, the campaign, and the customers. Their images form a connection with consumers that is immediate, visceral, and a driving force behind conversions and sales.
Selecting house models with your target audience in mind can increase the impact and ROAS of your online campaigns.
When customers see a model, especially one that looks like them, wearing an item, they can better imagine themselves wearing those clothes and feel more confident in their purchase decision. In fact, 52% of consumers say that they “trust a brand more if their ads reflect my culture.”
What’s as bad as—or worse than—the wrong model for a campaign is no model at all. Online retailers are often only provided with standard headless packshots of items and use them as is, giving the consumer no visual way to associate the ad with the retail brand and providing little motivation to convert. This is almost always a mistake since 78% of online shoppers want photographs to bring products to life. Simply using a model—live or virtual—in all online marketing visuals is an easy way to achieve this.
Here are some ways in which consistent use of the same model can improve campaign ROI:
Enhancing brand image: Consistent and cohesive visuals help create a unique and compelling brand identity. In fact, research shows that simply maintaining consistency in brand presentation can increase a company’s revenue
Building trust and credibility: The models used in marketing make a statement to customers about your brand. Using models that embody the values and aesthetics of your brand reinforces customers’ trust in your products and brand messaging.
Increasing engagement: The models in your marketing visuals make a human-to-human connection with customers that can bind them to your brand. Customers are more likely to engage with and share content featuring models they relate to or aspire to be like.
Standing out from competitors: Differentiating your brand, and the products you sell, through original visual elements can make it more memorable. People are remarkably good at recognizing faces, and rapidly form emotional associations with them—a great reason to use house models consistently in retail marketing.
Increasing sales and avoiding discounts: Your models should resonate with your target audience. This communicates to them that this is their brand, increases the perceived value of products, and drives more conversions.
Boosting campaign effectiveness with the same model in the ad and in the PDP
There are a number of ways to measure campaign effectiveness. One of the most common is to account for ROAS. High returns relative to spend are a clear win for any online ad campaign.
Tried and true methods to improve ROAS include:
- Targeting specific audiences through research, customer modeling, and segmenting. For example, social media marketers can segment audiences by interest, behaviors, age, and other demographics, and serve them tailored ads to increase the likelihood of engagement.
- Using the same visuals in the ads and in the Product Details Page (PDP) to keep the “promise” given in the ad. Having the same model on the product page also further enhances the first 2 points
All these strategies are served by the use of top-quality images featuring house models that resonate with your audience.
- Using the appropriate model in brand images is like speaking to your audience in a visual language they immediately understand.
- Younger, older, plus size, petite, buttoned-up, hair-down, cosmopolitan, conservative, liberal—it’s all communicated in the ad image, and the model does much of the talking. The resonance builds customers’ trust in the brand and increases its perceived value, leading to purchases, identification, and loyalty.
- House models can be assigned to different audience segments to boost identification and conversions.
- For example, a social media ad served to one segment may lead to a landing page featuring the same model as in the ad. The customer sees more of what initially engaged them (the model in the ad), which provides a consistent, cohesive user experience. This reinforces brand identity, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
The right model – an easy way to increase ROI
Apparel retailers have an opportunity to use a particularly compelling and memorable visual element—human models—to make their brands stand out.
- Photographs are one of the most effective branding tools available; in fact, they are the number one driver of online purchases.
- The vast majority of customers want to see photos that bring products to life. Fashion retailers can easily and effectively achieve this with images featuring models wearing their items.
- Evidence shows that consistent brand presentation can powerfully boost brand recognition and sales, leading to revenue increases
Consistently using house models in all of your marketing images can improve ROAS, increase sales in your online store, and drive both revenue growth and engagement.