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Usa Apparel Industry Literature Review

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Meixuan Li


Paul Dykman

April 15, 2019


Literature Review

The traditional retailers are encountering a series of marketing obstacles in terms of their apparel brands because consumers turn to shop online by social media and smart-phone. Research on the U.S. apparel industry, online sales are growing faster than offline, and apparel has become one of the most popular retail e-commerce selling products (“Trending Digital Marketing Solutions for the Apparel Industry,” 2018). For the sake of better promoting apparel brands online, Instagram has been used as one of the most influential social media platforms for marketing strategy. Instagram has succeeded in advertising apparel brands via digital influencer marketing and customer-oriented marketing.

Influencer marketing strategy is the most helpful strategy for social media, like Instagram, to create brand influence and attract consumers. First, the apparel brands can use the core functions of Instagram to enlarge the brand influence among Instagram users. Johnston (2017) encourages brands to develop a plan to deliver eye-catching and visual-sharing content to the target audience on a consistent basis. Demers (2015) also shares his opinion that brands should guarantee their images and descriptions to match their brand’s vibe. According to Demers (2015), the apparel brands can take advantage of several basic functions of Instagram, including mainly hashtags and comments, to build up the overall brand identity. Loureio (2018) highlights the importance of updating photos and videos via Instagram is also quite useful to build up an effective communication with the consumers. Souza (2016) shares a similar opinion as Loureio and indicates that the majority of successful apparel brands use photos, hashtags, and mentions to make brand promotion. Jin,Muqaddam, and Ryu (2018) imply the greatness of Instagram influencer-based branding and its effectiveness as a marketing strategy in the apparel industry. Lavoie (2015), instead of choosing to emphasize the success of Instagram marketing strategy, puts forward the failure of Dunkin’ Donuts, as a counter-example, due to the scare usage of text, photos or videos to represent or involve its fans via Instagram.        

Then, the apparel brands may use the frequent-usage of Instagram to spread the concept of their brands. Jacobson (2019) states in the article that Instagram, as a visual social platform with more than 500 million active users, becomes an online place to find relevant influencers, and emphasizes influencer marketing with the engagement online between brands and consumers has changed into a key marketing strategy for the apparel industry. Khan (2018) discusses the relationship between brand value and Instagram marketing, and believes that Instagram marketing can create brand equity in the process of establishing brand loyalty and preference. Mohr (2013) explores the relation between the impact of social media and the fashion industry as well and provides the solution to solve the market shrinkage in fashion industry based on a social media marketing strategy. Instagram, as one main source of social media, shares the similarities with other social media and contributes to the market shrinkage in apparel industry included in the fashion industry. Houser (2016) discusses the influence of brand loyalty on the target customers in the scope of teens. The information can appeal to consumers to form brand loyalty. Teens, as the majority of Instagram users, prefer to gather information via Instagram, which is an effective way for the apparel brands to advertise their brand information through the brand display on Instagram. In this way, the brands can capture a lot of brand followers and build up brand loyalty among teens who tend to become the growing group of consumers.

In addition to digital influencer marketing strategy, customer-orientation has always boasted one significant marketing strategy in brand promotion. Potential customers in contemporary society appear in all kinds of social media in the way of participating in social media in their daily life. The apparel brands use Instagram to find and influence their customers. VIP customer loyalty programs can be an effective way to foster an online community of dedicated shoppers (“Trending Digital Marketing Solutions for the Apparel Industry,” 2018). Extra service must be added into the customer services so as to keep the customers loyal. Some apparel brands provide personalized and exclusive experiences only for VIP members, while others offer virtual apparel assistants as a value-add service to special customers. This series of customer loyalty programs via Instagram can increase the loyal degree of customers to the greatest extent. Loureiro (2018) emphasizes the importance of interaction with consumers. It is very crucial for apparel brands to make consumers feel a part of the brand. Loureiro (2018) notes that Zara and H&M tend to be more effective than other apparel brands in online communication, which shows apparel brands require to cater to customers’ preference. Carah and Shaul (2015) stress Instagram expands the brand operation by creating and engaging with images into customers’ daily lives. Alex Hanse, the owner of the T-shirt company, expresses his idea in Jacobson’s (2019) article that it is an effective way to develop a buyer persona to increase the popularity of one brand. In other words, the apparel brands need to categorize their target groups of consumers via developing customer profiles. Khan (2018) declares the multi-relation between Instagram marketing, brand equity and customer tendency towards brands. Customer preference is one essential aspect of Instagram marketing strategy, and consumer responses is a vital judgemental principle of brand evaluation.                

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