For a brand or retailer, engaging with the goings-on of their customers’ life is critical; they must stay relevant to attract ongoing spend. Many brands and retailers don’t have the ability to personalise to specific-customer level, so key calendar events and holidays are a clear way to make assumptions about what your consumer is doing and what they’re looking forward to. Christmas is an obvious period for adjusting brand communications and merchandise, yet Easter is often overlooked. However, its timing sits in line with new season stock arrivals, making promotions and product features all the more appealing. Using our Visual Merchandising database, we investigated who did what this Easter holiday; the successes and the disappointments.
With pastel being one of the key mass market trends for SS13, an edited selection of Easter-y products should have been an easy call. Topshop’s Prom story, for example, would have made simple work for digital marketers to create a timely Easter-themed newsletter. New Look were one of the few high street retailers who did react in time, with their ‘Good enough to eat’ email newsletter on the 28th March. It linked cleverly to their hastag #fashioneaster and a competition they were running via Instagram; to be in with a chance of winning a goodie bag, followers uploaded snaps of their Easter nails (tapping into a theme which trends virally on Instagram). Neat campaign, entirely applicable for their audience.
Other mass market retailers adapting their merchandising for the four-day holiday (in the UK, Europe and Australia) were online retailer Boohoo, with a homepage update of their ‘Easter Edit’ on the 25th March, menswear retailer Burton with their ‘Easter treat’ discount code and carefully photographed edit of holiday looks and the high street’s River Island’s 28th March ‘Easter Getaway’ newsletter featuring holiday products.
Department store Debenhams used the holiday to promote their mid-season sale, with an ‘Easter Extravaganza’ newsletter on the 29th March. Many retailers in Australia and New Zealand are closed over public holidays, so Glassons ran a campaign encouraging shoppers to visit their bricks and mortar stores earlier in the week for an in-store Easter egg hunt. Then over the weekend newsletters encouraged online spend; ‘The stores might be shut, but we’re open‘ with an Easter discount code and suitably bunny-ish image. Meanwhile American menswear retailer, Bonobos, launched an online Easter egg hunt on the 30th March, with discount codes hidden throughout their online store.
This kind of calendar-focused merchandising doesn’t have to be gimmicky, it can suit brands too. Australian brand Willow showed us how, with their sleek email newsletter simply featuring their product shot in a cinematic style, but accessorised with bunny ears. A subtle nod to show that the brand is a living, breathing, updating entity but still within the confines of a high-end look.
My-wardrobe consistently get it right with their email newsletters, sending out Fashion Forecasts for the week ahead, linked to UK weather and enticing customers to shop for the now. Their 25th March newsletter was as on-the-money, not only reflecting the dubious UK weather, but addressing the types of occasion their customers may be trying to dress for over the holiday break. Their site also ran a promotional popover, with an Easter discount of £50 off every £200 spent leaping up to greet visitors.
Perhaps the most disappointing campaign was H&M’s. Their newsletter, on the 28th March, simply featured a large arrow and a link to the sale page. Yes, it’s obvious, it’s bold – but this from a brand who stages ornate Paris Fashion Week runway shows and has Beyoncé fronting its campaigns?
But, the winners? It’s got to be Boden for originality and viral appeal. Rather than taking the bunny route they had a brainwave, sending out an email newsletter to promote their latest product: a skirt for men. Of course, the campaign was just an April Fools’ joke, but from the normally traditional retailer it was a stroke of genius, raising eyebrows online, sending hordes of traffic to their site and of course getting themselves some handy press attention. We like the cut of your jib, Boden, if not your men’s skirt.