shutterstock_362956220-22-wide Ecommerce, Etailer, Fashion, News / September 19th, 2017

What can we learn from fashion etailer Boohoo.com?

Last year saw the demise of American clothing powerhouse Nastygal – once a force to be reckoned with in the online sphere. For over a decade, Nastygal convinced us it had the millennial market sussed. The site was overflowing with an ever-changing array of trend-focused fashion. There were vintage pieces. And luxe collaborations. Even an LA-based store.

And so, the prices crept ever upwards, figuring that the image-conscious Gen Y customer would pay any amount of money for the latest style. But Nastygal grossly miscalculated.

Social media has created a celeb junkie youth, a selfie obsessed generation.

But there’s one behaviour of Generation Instagram that Nastygal overlooked: never wanting to be caught in the same look twice. The youth of today are not just dressing for themselves or their friends, they’re dressing for their online followers. An outfit, then, is not just an outfit but a work-of-art to be forever immortalised on Insta. The desire to reach magazine levels of glossiness calls for trend-reactive fashion. And this variety calls for cheap clothing.

Millennials may be making more purchases than their older peers, but they’re spending less. Theirs is the era of Groupon, deals and disposable fashion. Why would they pay £140 for a dress when the colour, fabric or cut might be ‘so last season’ within a matter of weeks? If they got that dress for, say, £25, then they could easily keep up their chameleon-like wardrobe, emulating the styles of Kylie Kardashian, Gigi Hadid and other megastars.

Boohoo.com saw the way millennials were behaving and swept in to fill that niche.

The Manchester-based ecommerce giant seemed to anticipate the erosion of fashion’s middle market and the consequent polarisation of very cheap and super luxe. Founded by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane in 2006, Boohoo.com has trodden much the same path as Nastygal. Its growth has been phenomenal –  yet measured.

Unlike Nastygal, Boohoo hasn’t rushed to open a physical store, preferring instead to operate occasional pop-ups in major cities at key times in the fashion calendar. This restraint can be seen in the collections too. A premium line launched but the prices of these aspirational pieces remained refreshingly affordable. In other words, Boohoo has been playing the long game, and it’s winning.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Boohoo’s profits were up by 97%.  A figure bolstered by a whopping 140% rise in sales in the US and 50% rise in sales in Europe. Most telling of all, this momentous success comes in the wake of its acquiring both Pretty Little Things and Nastygal.

Boohoo has never lost sight of its customer. Never split focus or tried to be several things at once. And, it’s this steady approach that will see Boohoo’s star continue to rise.