“Some people dream of having a big swimming pool. With me, it’s closets.” — Audrey Hepburn.

The eternal style icon Audrey Hepburn would certainly personify the definition of a diva: ‘di –va’/ from lt. diva “goddess”, fem. of divus “divine (one).” A lady of distinction and good taste.

As timeless as this concept is, it is currently making a comeback in a globally emerging and most influential consumer segment – the “Digital Diva”.

The concept of the Digital Diva emerged from a large global piece of research with 7400 consumers, undertaken by researchers at the University of Arizona in 2013.

Here are five facts about this emerging consumer segment fashion retailers need to know:

1. The Digital Diva sums up a consumer type in apparel, which is highly connected, engaged with fashion and technology savvy.

2. This segment cannot be grasped or remotely understood by means of classic demographic characteristics – they make up a large age bracket of anything between 25 to 44-year-olds with nearly equal incidence among females and males, with and without children.

3. They are well-informed, hyper-connected and opinion leaders in their social circles and beyond (e.g. high klout scores, high social media usage and engagement, brand advocates).

4. Digital Divas comprise 22% of all fashion shoppers, yet represent 69% of purchasing power, a combination of their direct spend (29%) and influenced spend (40%).

5. Diva’s leverage an average of 3.7 different technologies along their path to purchase (compared to less than one for non-divas), to finally purchase primarily at physical retail stores (70%) and retailer websites (51%).” (Source: UA)

So for many fashion retailers, these consumers represent the equivalent of a holy grail. The good news is that they are highly loyal advocates if they identify with a brand. Bad news is they are highly selective, time poor and their attention is difficult to get.

So, how can these consumers be better understood, reached and turned into customers?

Emotionally personalised experiences are key

It is obvious from the above five facts describing this segment that a seamless experience across multiple channels will be a key value driver, as well as a sound mobile strategy and inspiring physical store experience. So far, so good.

But this doesn’t answer which digital and physical experiences will capture their attention, inspire them and win them over.

No particular demographic will help target
them in an effective way, as expectations and experiences that connect with these different fashion shopper types are vastly different.

From all our research and client work in the field we know that behind this broader segment of ‘Digital Divas’ three particular shopper types can be differentiated: The Performer (5%), the Adventurer (5%) and the Hedonist (12%).

Behind each one of these types there is a set of subconscious aspirations and motives that determine what is meaningful for them and what attracts their interest.

Once you understand who your

core market is you can then design store and digital experiences that immediately connect on a personal, emotional level.

These are some high level differences:

The Performer

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An example of a retailer that resonates with the Performer is Shine, Hong Kong.

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Source: Shine Hong Kong

The Hedonist

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An example of a retailer that resonates with the Hedonist is Peter Alexander.

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Source: peteralexander.com.au

The Adventurer

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An example of a retailer that resonates with the Adventurer is Hollister.

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Source: Hollister Berlin 

How to create Diva-centric experiences?

There are three things I’d like to leave you with to capture these consumers who dream of closets and influence the world with their views:

1. Understand who your current customers are and what share of Digital Divas you’re capturing to date.

2. Understand which experiences, styles and communications will win them over, by further exploring the three personality types they can consist of (this can be done by profiling your database, which is typically the starting point of our work).

3. To say it in the words of a well-known Digital Diva: “The only rule is don’t be boring, and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.” True not only for consumers but also for retailers and brands (wise words from Paris Hilton).

Happy fit fashion retailing!

First published by SmartCompany March 2014