January 25, 2017

Mis[s]guided; is their branch into the physical just that?

If there’s one thing Missguided do well, it’s having a DGAF attitude to innovation.

In late November, the fast-fashion retailer launched their first shop in Westfield Stratford with all the fluffy pink hype imaginable. As a big fan of brands with personality, the opening of the first Missguided IRL (in real life) store sounded like a dream come true. But their latest venture does beg the question – will the brand translate well in a physical space?

There’s something about seeing an 88-year-old grandmother who refers to herself as Baddie Winkle (that’s Mrs. to you!) dressed as pink obsessed pin-up and splashing her cash that just screams Missguided. If there’s anything that has become increasingly clear over the last year, it’s that Missguided honestly DGAF…and that’s exactly what makes them a leader in digital innovation. Their brand is loud, trendy and unmistakably pink!Fast fashion pureplays, such as Missguided, are dominating an increasingly challenging sector. For pureplays every point of the consumer journey is made not only clear and easy but also engaging. Landing sites are creative, inspiring and emphasise important messages that resonate well with their target audience – ‘free and fast delivery’, secure shopping and ‘student discounts’. Their ability to adapt quickly to the progressively unpredictable weather patterns, shopping behaviours and new trends better than their ‘click and mortar’ competitors gives them a clear advantage. And this fast adaptability also translates into their digital content. They’re hashtag-mad and emoji-heavy, just like their 16-24 year old target audience.With a target audience of fluent social media users, Missguided needs to constantly establish innovative ways of creating social dialogue with fans.  And to do that they need data, a lot of it…so it made perfect sense for them to launch a Tinder-style shopping app. The ‘swipe to hype’ element allows shoppers to ‘love’ or ‘nah’ products like you would on dating app Tinder. In addition to giving consumers a more compelling reason to download their app, the move also provided Missguided with more data to spot trends and personalise content (swipe right for more!).According to Mintel’s ‘Fashion: Technology and Innovation’ report (2016) 47% of female 16-24s have used their smartphones to shop for fashion online. While these numbers are pushing ‘click and mortar’ retailers to up their online game, pureplays such as Missguided are thinking further into the future by opening physical stores.Despite the successful launch of #MissguidedIRL, it’s important to acknowledge that this move might be a result of the pressure of rising shipping costs. Because of the ecommerce market's continuous push of free shipping, consumers are increasingly coming to expect it. This IWWIWWIWI (I Want What I Want When I Want It) mentality is the results of years of (unintentional) training by retailers. Once items are purchased online, shoppers expect these items to magically arrive at their door at the exact same price they would have paid in-store.  So although it’s easy to view Missguided’s transition into a literal representation of Instagram as a simple brand extension, that would only be touching upon the surface. Time will soon tell whether the brand survives off-line, but until then we’re awarding them several ‘W’s for taking the plunge!

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