Black voices in marketing

Why customers choose to insta-boycott Fashion Nova

Turns out spamming and violating privacy rights still doesn’t work

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Photo credit: nattanan23/Pixabay

Update on April 15, 2020: Not even 24 hours have passed for recipients to receive stimulus checks related to the high unemployment and underemployment rates related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and Fashion Nova still has no couth. This is the text message they sent to past customers today, regarding an 80 percent discount for “when that stimulus deposit hit.

However, being branded as spam marketers works against any company. And fashion apparel company Fashion Nova has fallen into this trap. While their marketing and advertising teams have done an outstanding job of getting celebrities to endorse their products, their spamming hustle made me instantly never want to buy their products. (And apparently the customer service leaves much to be desired too.)

What made Fashion Nova my target?

I’ve changed my phone number a few times over the years. I usually luck out and get a few wrong numbers before all the calls or text messages are for me. But Fashion Nova single-handedly has become the annoying visitor who won’t stop dropping by — for six straight months. However, the company does come in handy for one thing: Fashion Nova teaches marketing and sales teams how to not promote their products. Here’s how they’ve done it.

Recommended Read: “The award for tactless apparel marketing goes to repeat winner: Fashion Nova ~ Knowing the difference between responsible marketing and shameless advertising during the COVID-19 outbreak

Don’t have an unsubscribe/opt-out feature on marketing text messages

If you receive promotional text messages from a company that you neither signed up for nor want to continue receiving, you should have the option of typing “no,” “opt-out,” “remove” or some other wording to immediately be removed. Notice that these Fashion Nova messages have none of the above. Although Fashion Nova’s Terms and Conditions do state to type “STOP” to 36682 or 31963, this company does not follow its own Terms and Conditions.

Ignore the Federal Trade Commission’s registration list

If you are like me and consistently register your phone number on the Federal Trade Commission’s DoNotCall.gov, you are not supposed to receive telemarketing calls. While that has been very successful for more than a decade, Fashion Nova is the only company I’ve encountered that completely ignores the registry. This is even after unwanted texts were filed with the FTC.

Lie to the Better Business Bureau about your sales promotion delivery techniques

After the FTC didn’t work, I hoped to get the attention of Fashion Nova’s headquarters by reporting them to the Better Business Bureau. In a handful of reports over the years, this has been significantly useful in moderating business debates.

Although Fashion Nova’s headquarters in Vernon, California, received my request to be removed — and I provided screenshots of daily text messages I receive from the company with promotions I did not ask for — I was informed twice that my phone number was removed. And then after the complaint was closed, I received text messages as recently as Sept. 22. This was several weeks after I received confirmation that my phone number was removed.

Make sure your online sales team does not know how to remove unwanted marketing text messages

While Fashion Nova will happily collect your email address and send survey emails about their service, the online sales team is untrained in removing phone numbers. As with entirely too many customer service email teams, the auto-reply had nothing to do with my original email. It took several back-and-forth responses before someone finally answered the question I asked about being removed.

Fashion Nova teaches marketing and sales teams how to not promote their products.

Use social media images that seem to be in conflict with your product

Victoria’s Secret has become pretty well-known for those angel wings. So a model wearing lingerie with wings to endorse another product is highly problematic, specifically when social media users know the competitor’s brand well.

Sex sells, and their models are doing it well. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to start using sexy images that are more likely to make users want to buy another brand. Then, upon clicking on the image near the social media post, that actual outfit doesn’t show up at all on page one.

Believe getting celebrity endorsements are the only thing you need to stay afloat

Adrienne Bailon (talk show host of “The Real”), rapper Cardi B., Kyla Pratt (Disney child star and adult actress), Amber Rose (former model and music video star), and a few Kardashians/Jenners have modeled the products. While this seems like it’d be a hit, it just brings more attention to your products from a larger audience. And if your customer service, advertising, and sales practices aren’t at the same level as the stars wearing your products, it makes your company that much more well-known — for all the wrong reasons.

While marketing is intended to establish branding for your company and sales departments want the marketing to match the dollar equivalent, spamming for sales is counterproductive to your organization. Do not be Fashion Nova. Cater your marketing and sales strategies to companies that actually want your products. There’s no need nor logic in spamming. Not only is it bad business, but it’ll guarantee that a potential customer will never buy products from you. Why? If this is how painful your marketing is without purchasing the apparel, it can only get worse once companies such as Fashion Nova realize you might be a customer.

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Shamontiel L. Vaughn

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

We Need to Talk

Let’s chat about my oddball thoughts on family, relationships and activism — with a dose of comedy, too.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

We Need to Talk

Let’s chat about my oddball thoughts on family, relationships and activism — with a dose of comedy, too.

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