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2021 | Book

The Art of Digital Marketing for Fashion and Luxury Brands

Marketspaces and Marketplaces


About this book

This book explores omnichannel fashion and luxury retailing with a particular emphasis on the role of computer-mediated marketing environments in determining a consumer’s purchase and post-purchase trajectories.

The fashion industry has evolved rapidly over the last few years with the diffusion of fast fashion and luxury democratization, not to mention the advent of ICT and the development of communication. Today, fashion companies face new challenges, such as how to manage brands and how to choose between marketplaces and digital marketspaces. While some companies focus on one channel selection, others embrace the omnichannel choice and look for a balance between the two environments. Whatever the strategy, it is essential to manage these touch-points in order to create interaction between consumers and brands, provide meaningful customer experiences, and to maximize customers’ engagement.

An insightful read for scholars in marketing, fashion and retail, this book investigates the triangulation between branding, marketplace, and marketspace and its impact on the organization.

Table of Contents


The Question of Marketspace and Marketplace

Chapter 1. The Key Drivers of Perceived Omnichannel Service Quality in Fashion
The complexity of the customer journey has increased tremendously in the context of e-commerce because customers use various touchpoints at different channels when interacting with a retailer. In omnichannel retailing, a combination of different retail channels along the various customer touchpoints has become the predominant purchasing pattern for customers. The “research shopper phenomenon” describes a common tendency among customers to use one channel to search and another to purchase. This chapter will, therefore, aim to investigate the concept of integration in omnichannel retailing by considering the different elements of the retail mix. Furthermore, it will elaborate the key drivers of perceived omnichannel service quality. This chapter presents an omnichannel customer typology of four different types of fashion customers.
Elena Patten
Chapter 2. Omnichannel Retailing and Brand Equity: A New Balance to Achieve
Over the last decades, consumers have started to use different channels and touchpoints at any stage of their shopping journey, and the internet and technologies have become relevant tools to ease their shopping experience. Many devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are increasingly used to search for product information, reviews and prices, to provide feedback and advocacy, to interact with a brand and, finally, to buy online. Consequently, traditional retailing had to gradually adapt itself to a new buying reality, first through the building of a multichannel environment, then through the adoption of an omnichannel approach aimed at providing a seamless shopping experience with the integration of channels and customer touchpoints. Starting from this background, this chapter delves into the shift from a multichannel to an omnichannel approach by retailing companies, and the implications for customer-based brand equity (CBBE). In particular, the chapter presents the main differences between multichannel and omnichannel retailing, then, the main features of the omnichannel approach are shown. The chapter discusses how to build and manage CBBE in omnichannel retailing, especially for luxury fashion companies, and proposes avenues for future research.
Claudio Becagli, Matilde Milanesi
Chapter 3. Opinion Leaders, Short Videos and Virtual Communities in the Fashion Industry
Research on opinion leaders can be traced back to Lazarsfeld and colleagues’ work in 1944. Research in the 1970s and 1980s focused on the characteristics, identity and influence of opinion leaders. In the past 20 years, with the development of internet technology, the role of opinion leaders in marketing, public affairs, medical treatment, management, tourism, fashion and other fields has attracted the interest of a large number of scholars. Short videos, as a form of social media, have become a new growth point of network marketing in recent years. Internet celebrities, as modern internet opinion leaders, are active in various virtual communities and attract the attention of internet users. They have a significant influence on the marketing campaigns of the fashion industry. Drawing on social influence theory, this chapter will provide some insights into the relationship between internet celebrities and virtual communities in the fashion industry, and it will ask: How can fashion brands connect with consumers through the virtual community built by internet celebrities?
Peng Chen
Chapter 4. Fashion Bloggers: Temperament and Characteristics
The aim of the chapter is to understand the persona and characteristics of fashion bloggers and how they differentiate themselves from other bloggers. Promoting fashion products differs from promoting other products that are functional and tangible. Fashion bloggers require abstract and innovative ideas to catch their audiences’ attention to build a fruitful relationship. The success of fashion bloggers depends on whether they can become influential bloggers in the fashion blogosphere. Influential bloggers must deploy social and individual capital to build networks that enable them to change and evolve the content on their fashion blog. Building cross-social media networks in collaboration with other fashion bloggers is an important mechanism for them to become influential fashion bloggers. Failure to maintain and build their network will cause them to decouple from their followers and become lower in the social media rankings (e.g., Instagram). Influential fashion bloggers must continue to differentiate themselves in the online environment and this is achieved by creating personal and original content that draws on their social capital, which energises their audience to engage.
Gordon Bowen, Deidre Bowen

Online Brand Communities and Customer Relationships

Chapter 5. Online Brand Communities, Customer Participation and Loyalty in the Luxury Fashion Industry: Strategic Insights
Despite the proliferation of studies on the emerging computer-mediated marketing environments, particularly on the burgeoning role of online brand communities (OBCs) in the luxury fashion industry, there is a paucity of knowledge of the ways in which the level of customer participation in OBCs affects customer loyalty. While previous research on OBCs mainly examined the role of customer satisfaction and retention, it has neglected the role and level of customer participation in complex OBCs, particularly in the luxury fashion industry. By drawing on existing studies, this chapter presents a customers’ participation filter model for OBCs’ participation. The proposed model opens up interesting avenues for future research on the level of customer participation in OBCs and suggests practical lessons for the development of marketing strategies.
Wilson Ozuem, Michelle Willis
Chapter 6. Maintaining a Creative Brand Image in an Omnichannel World
Whereas the need to optimize and coordinate digital marketing communications across multiple channels has been given much attention in recent decades, its integration with creativity has not. For trendsetting fashion and luxury brands, radical creativity is frequently at the core of their brand as well as their marketing communications. Marketing messages have always tended to be highly visual, building surreal dream environments for target groups to aspire to, visionary worlds unlikely to derive from user data. In today’s complex omnichannel environments, where many dominant channels are user-driven, this is no longer sufficient to maintain a consistent brand image. A more agile approach is needed to harness the possibilities within dynamic, marketing channels while maintaining the creative brand image. In this chapter we explore multichannel and creative marketing communication, and how they can be effectively integrated to strengthen fashion and luxury branding.
Annette Kallevig
Chapter 7. Online Brand Communities and Brand Loyalty: Toward a Social Influence Theory
Online brand communities (OBCs) are gaining traction in the development of marketing strategy within the fashion industry, but it is unclear how the dominant group of users, the millennials, is responding to the prevailing and varying customer loyalty programmes. Traditionally, customers’ loyalty is measured by the volume of purchases. However, loyalty is not just based on the perceived materialistic and monetary gains a customer obtains. Loyalty also involves the strong feeling of support or allegiance that moves a customer to remain faithful with a brand despite the occurrence of a negative backlash on social media. However, customers do not have the same level of loyalty for a brand. Some even have more loyalty towards the OBC than to the brand itself. Based on the understanding that loyalty differs among groups of people within the same OBC, this chapter contributes to existing literature and provides a conceptual insight into how OBCs activate customers’ multidimensional loyalty intentions towards fashion brands. Based on customers’ experience within OBCs from the fashion industry, this chapter identifies different levels of loyalty towards fashion brands which can indicate millennial customers’ loyalty intentions. From this we can identify the diverse attitudes and actions that separate millennial customers into sub-groups based on their loyalty intentions.
Michelle Willis
Chapter 8. Exploring the Emergence of Luxury Smartphones and Switching Behaviour
The evolution of the smartphone has influenced consumer behaviour and choice significantly in recent times. Mobile phone technology was initially used only for communication purposes, but has recently advanced to include additional features that have created a larger market which has altered the purchase behaviour of consumers. In this modern era of technological advancement, users of mobile phones expect other features such as media support, internet connectivity and special applications. Smartphones to a large extent have redefined our identities and remodelled our perspectives about our daily activities, including the delivery of education, how we communicate and our shopping experience. A recent shift towards luxury smartphones means the expectation of luxury smartphone manufacturers is ultimately to consolidate customer loyalty through improved user experiences. Luxury is regarded by consumers as a value added experience, which is an intangible benefit beyond functional utility that consolidates consumer–brand relationships. The management of luxury smartphones is a key marketing function. Hence, a strong and healthy brand is instrumental in creating sustainable competitive advantage and the transition to a relationship marketing paradigm that places brand loyalty at the heart of customer relational strength. It is widely accepted that brand loyalty has traditionally been perceived as a behavioural construct relating to intentions towards repeat purchases. This chapter aims to provide some insights into brand switching in the luxury smartphone industry and it offers insights for marketers and scholars interested in the development of related marketing plans.
Dominic Appiah, Alison Watson
Chapter 9. Digital Marketing in Luxury Fashion: From Crisis to Strength
Digital technology has a key role to play in elevating luxury fashion more so now than in the past. Historically, luxury fashion brands had been slow to embrace and capitalise on the opportunities related to the digital era but that has not been the case for their customers. Digital and online platforms are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives with an excessive amount of our time being spent using the Internet and digital devices. Internet technology and social media are known to have substantial impacts on the operations and success of businesses. We are witnessing unprecedented technological transformations in the way in which organisations and society communicate. The COVID-19 pandemic has made for a challenging 2020, this chapter aims to provide a general understanding of the way luxury fashion brands are transforming their strategies to adapt to digitalisation in the industry to manage the crisis.
Aster Mekonnen, Liz Larner
Chapter 10. The Effect of Social EWOM on Consumers’ Behaviour Patterns in the Fashion Sector
The study described in this chapter aimed to enhance knowledge on the influence of electronic word of mouth (eWOM) on consumers’ decision-making processes. eWOM emerged as a key driver in consumers’ decision-making processes given its greater impact on purchasing decisions compared to other communication channels. Specifically, the study focused on the reviews of fashion products on social networks (SNs) and built on the stimulus-organism-response (S-O-R) model in order to identify the determinants of social eWOM adoption and intention to buy the reviewed product. The survey method was used to gather data from 230 Italian consumers. Structural equation modelling was used to estimate the model proposed. Results revealed that when consumers seek information on fashion products, the user-friendliness of SNs and social cues (homophily and normative social influence) positively impact social eWOM (opinion-seeking), which in turn influences the intention to purchase the reviewed products. The study contributes both theoretically and empirically to the understanding of the role of social eWOM in influencing consumer behaviour. At the theoretical level, it supports the adequacy of the S-O-R model for explaining the consumer decision-making process in the context of social eWOM. From a managerial perspective, the findings highlight the importance of taking into consideration both structural (accessibility) and social relationship variables while developing social media marketing strategies.
Donata Tania Vergura, Beatrice Luceri, Cristina Zerbini
Chapter 11. Online Service Failure and Recovery Strategies: Examining the Influences of User-Generated Content
The growth of user-generated content (UGC) within fashion brands’ online platforms has increased consumers’ awareness of service failure and impacted their level of involvement and attitude towards recovery strategies. However, a limited number of studies have explored the value and antecedents of UGC on service failure and recovery strategies in the fashion industry. The aim of the chapter is to explore the online behaviour of fashion customers in relation to UGC and their attitudes towards a firm’s response after a negative service experience, considering a range of recovery strategies that can be adopted. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the resulting managerial implications and solutions, and draws some conclusions for both marketing professionals and academics.
Samuel Ayertey, Silvia Ranfagni, Sebastian Okafor
Chapter 12. Building a Sustainable Brand Image in Luxury Fashion Companies
Building a sustainable brand image for a luxury fashion company is a very complex and tangled marketing process. Brand image is a set of perceptions and beliefs surrounding a particular brand fixed in the mind of the consumer. It represents the result of the associations that the consumer recognizes in a brand and summarizes the positioning, personality and reputation of the brand itself. Companies can derive fundamental insights by analysing the associations and how they are formed and, in particular, whether they are related to their positioning choices. In the luxury fashion business, brand image communication is often delegated to offline events to convey specific values, ideals and messages to consumers and build brand associations. The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, in particular, with its “Sustainable Thinking” exhibition, is seen as the emblem of this vision, the goal of which is to deliver a specific concept of a sustainable brand image to its customers. The objective of this empirical research was to seek correspondences or discrepancies between consumer brand perceptions and the identity conveyed by the Ferragamo brand in terms of sustainability. By using a netnographic and text mining methodology we found that the consumer associates the brand with a company committed to the environment and involved in social issues; a company that traditionally shows creative and experimental skills, using unusual materials, artisanry, innovative techniques and unique designs. The image that the company wants to convey, however, also includes other characterizations. Specifically, the company considers the “Made in Italy” aspect, the importance of its history and its family identity as decisive associations. These are all elements that, as far as this survey is concerned, were not found in the consumer perspective. As a result, from the comparison between the brand associations of both subjects, gaps emerge on which the company must intervene by designing new communication strategies or correcting existing ones in order to improve brand image and the overall brand value in terms of sustainability.
Monica Faraoni

Complexities and Possibilities: Tactics and Strategies

Chapter 13. Becoming Digital: The Need to Redesign Competences and Skills in the Fashion Industry
The digitalisation of fashion companies has a significant impact on required staff skills and competences. This chapter aims to investigate, through the analysis of literature and business practices, how the development of Industry 4.0 affects organisational processes and staff competences, redefining the content of traditional jobs and creating new key roles in the fashion industry. After reviewing the characteristics of Industry 4.0 and, in particular, of the digital fashion factory, this chapter conducts a literature review to identify the set of skills and competences that the research has revealed to be necessary, distinguishing between technical competences and behavioural competences. Some traditional roles of fashion firms (seller, designer, buyer, etc.) are then examined alongside the related new skills and competences that have arisen due to the impact of technology on business processes; necessary skills are defined for new roles with reference to technology, sourcing, manufacturing, and retail, with particular reflections on the role of the digital marketing expert. These technology-related changes impact everything from human resource management processes, which must adapt to new levels of a company’s professionalism, to the need for new tools to support people management activities and new ways of carrying out work that emphasise the need for leadership skills in management roles. Finally, this chapter reflects on the challenges that technological changes pose to companies in terms of organisational culture and the education and training system that must exist to support this new world of work.
Lucia Varra
Chapter 14. Luxury Fashion in the Chinese Marketplace and the New Online Channels: An Emerging Perspective
In recent past years, global luxury fashion brands have increasingly focused on social media marketing (SMM) to effectively compete in the Chinese luxury consumer market. Consequently, SMM in the Chinese market is attracting increasing interest from scholars in luxury fashion marketing. The highly diversified Chinese luxury customers have shown different shopping attitudes as well as mode of experiencing luxury shopping, mainly in the online marketplace; this implies that a new way of conceiving business operations for luxury fashion brands and a central role for the Chinese consumer is needed. The Chinese online marketplace seems to be a key phenomenon for luxury and fashion; academia has not sufficiently analysed its different components specific to the Chinese geographical context. As a result, this chapter, after reviewing the main conceptual studies in the field of online marketing in the Chinese luxury and fashion context, will try to provide an emerging research agenda related to the specificities of online Chinese luxury fashion channels for future empirical studies in the field.
Serena Rovai, Li Jing
Chapter 15. Managing Online Touchpoints for a Consistent Customer Experience: Cases from Fashion Retailing
This chapter will address the role of online customer experience and online touchpoints in the customer journey. First, Online and In-Store Customer Experience will be presented and discussed comparatively in order to highlight similarities and differences. Second, the chapter will focus on the role of online and offline touchpoints and their relationships with consumer attitudes and behaviours. Third, best practices and successful cases in fashion and luxury retailing will be discussed to analyse how best-in-class companies are managing online touchpoints. This analysis will offer insights to guide practitioners in developing a compelling Customer Experience, both online and in store, with the goal of achieving long-term customer loyalty.
Giada Salvietti, Marco Ieva, Cristina Ziliani
Chapter 16. Leveraging EWOM on Service Failure Recovery Strategy: An Insight into the Brand Perspective
Today, consumers have real power: they describe their brand experiences on social media. They are a source of electronic word of mouth (eWOM) that can influence other consumers and have an impact on their brand choices. EWOM is often produced when consumers experience an online service failure. Providers have to manage this with adequate recovery strategies. The value that fashion providers are able to create for consumers depends more and more on how they handle service failure situations. This chapter explore the relationship between UGC, as a basis of eWOM, and service failure and recovery strategies filtered through the brand. The analysis is carried out from a theoretical point of view and offers insights into the fashion industry.
Silvia Ranfagni, Wilson Ozuem
Chapter 17. Opera as Luxury in Culture: The Marketing Impact of Digitalization
In the present paper, we intend to provide a preliminary framework to analyze the process of digitalization in opera consumption, by exploring the analogies with digitalization in luxury markets. Two main issues are discussed. First, we consider digitalization as a tool for market expansion and possibly “democratization” through increased accessibility. Evidence suggests that, rather than generating new opera audiences, digitalization provides an extension of opera experience for the existing customer base, that is especially relevant for second and third “tier” customers. Second, we look at the early stages in the adoption of digital marketing approaches and especially at the creation of online communities based on social networks.
Nicola Bellini
The Art of Digital Marketing for Fashion and Luxury Brands
Wilson Ozuem
Silvia Ranfagni
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