How Lingerie & Swim Brands Are Disrupting Social Marketing

This post was originally published on the Yotpo blog.

Online lingerie and swimwear are tackling key consumer pain points with user-generated content.

A Yotpo study of 1.3 million customer reviews reveals that size and fit are two of the biggest pain points for online fashion shoppers.

In the lingerie and swimwear industries these issues are amplified because size and fit vary between companies and depend so much on personal preference and each individual’s unique body shape.

In brick-and-mortar stores a trusted second opinion from a friend or a sales associate boosts shoppers’ confidence and makes them more likely to buy.

We teamed up with Foursixty to discuss how user-generated content creates that dynamic social shopping experience for your online store.

Lines between eCommerce and Social Networks are Being Blurred

Social networks are broadening in scope into many facets of our daily lives, including our shopping habits.

Visually driven social media like Instagram and Pinterest have become digital forms of window shopping, while social ads and shoppable galleries provide instant access to stores and product pages.

Frankie’s Bikinis, a company mainly discovered via Instagram and whose customers mostly come from there, embraces its social media origins and user-generated content to enhance its brand and stay relevant to customers.

Marketing and Creative Manager Lucas Huffman says that for Frankie’s Bikinis, more UGC only leads to more sales and happier customers.

“We’re a brand built on social media and we know our customers were created there. For them, having UGC on the site refers them back to where they first saw and fell in love with our product.”

With their active social communities and aspirational visual content, swimwear and lingerie brands stand to gain even more from user-generated content.

Aspirational content takes a step beyond informational messaging into the realm of lifestyle experiences. It allows companies to express their values through content that encapsulates the very essence of their brand.

For swimwear brands this could mean a picture of people wearing their bathing suits on pristine beaches. For lingerie brands it may be a picture of someone starting their day with the lingerie that makes them feel the most confident.

The content evokes an emotion based on the context, not on the product.

A Product Development Gold Mine

User-generated content such as customer reviews and photos allows customers to tell you exactly what they like and don’t like, what they want and don’t want.

For example, IKEA ran an Instagram campaign asking customers to submit photos of their favorite pieces.

The campaign gave IKEA a glimpse into which products customers like the most and how they use them, while also providing the company with user-generated content that could be repurposed across marketing materials.

Online fashion brands are also seeing the benefits of using customer input to drive product decisions. When asked how they deal with the challenges of being an entirely online lingerie brand, Adore Me COO Romain Liot said, “We just trust our customer.”

“We generate customer content, letting our customers influence our decisions about next purchases. The best guides to making the right decisions are our customers.”

User-generated content allows your brand to maintain an ongoing conversation with your customers, and Instagram in particular really gets them talking.

Instagram is a forum where brands can inspire customers and where customers can inspire brands.

If a particular style, color, location or activity shows up throughout a brand’s following on Instagram, they can pick that up and use it as inspiration for their product line.

It can also serve as a testing ground for new products, as online retailer Everlaneis doing with their new private Instagram account.

The private account is essentially a social media based focus group made up of the brands most dedicated customers, where the company gets immediate reaction to new products and the customers get exclusive pre-launch deals.

The product development process at Frankie’s Bikinis is largely influenced by Instagram. Huffman says that user-generated content has influenced all aspects of the Frankie’s Bikinis brand.

“We test all sorts of things from colors, suits and cuts, to different graphics and branding techniques to see what responds well with our customers and what falls short.”

An Opportunity to Disrupt the Lingerie & Swimwear Shopping Experience

Lingerie and swimwear customers have notoriously difficult shopping experiences with major pain points in finding the right size, fit and style.

Many online brands are using the growth of eCommerce as an opportunity to change the way people shop.

Online lingerie company ThirdLove offers unique resources such as Bra 101, FitFinder and an app to help site visitors find the right size and style for them. ThirdLove Director of Strategy Veronique Powell says that breast and body shape play a huge part in determining whether a particular style will fit you best.

“At ThirdLove, we believe there is more to fit than just your size.”

Build a Shared Experience Around Your Brand

User-generated content elevates an online store’s existing resources, building a community of shoppers and customers who provide social proof for the brand’s products and for the company as a whole.

Such communities break down barriers between individual online shoppers, which in turn leads to conversions and increased trust in your brand.

Huffman says that displaying pictures from past buyers encourages online shoppers to convert.

“For us, UGC is a way for customers to feel comfortable about making a purchase.”

ThirdLove features user-generated content on their website and in their e-mails, which Powell says highlights what real women love about their products.

“UGC in the form of customer reviews helps the women shopping our site understand how our bras fit on other women with similar shapes and pain points.”

Customer reviews and pictures build a shopper’s confidence in a brand, which is essential for young eCommerce stores.

Powell adds that customer reviews provide an additional layer of confidence for potential customers who are just discovering ThirdLove for the first time.

“UGC is incredibly important for establishing trust in potential customers and helping them to understand the quality and overall value of our products.”

Conclusion

Swimwear and lingerie companies selling online have niche pain points that magnify the overarching challenges of eCommerce.

User-generated content provides such brands with the opportunity to talk to their customers, improve their product, disrupt an old industry and grow their community.

This post was originally published on the Yotpo blog.