The concern lies in what these consumers are looking for. Since they belong to different cultures, religions, and ethnicities, the idea of modest fashion is interpreted differently, which means this huge target market can be further broken down into segmented niches. These offer great opportunities for businesses to enter this sector and cater to diverse needs.
What is modest clothing? As noted earlier, the definition of modest clothing varies by culture and religion; for Muslims, for example, this could include loose-fitting trousers and full-sleeved tunics with head coverings. For Christians, this could mean midi skirts. Some cultures associate modesty with clothing that leaves only the hands, feet and face uncovered, while others dictate that it must be covered a few inches below the knee.
But what ties the market together is a basic principle: women who don modest fashion value style and luxury, without sacrificing modesty. The industry's demand for modest fashion clothing is primarily driven by this, hugely supported by the expectations of religion. The increasing demand can also be linked to the #MeToo movement, which shows that modest clothing is not only about faith and religion, but also about women feeling protected and comfortable in their bodies.
Although targeted efforts are needed to make modesty mainstream without laying too much emphasis on religion, Muslims have a major influence on the modest fashion industry. According to Research Gate, Muslims make up about 24% of the 1.8 billion people in the world. With Islam being one of the fastest growing religions globally, these numbers can be expected to increase in the coming years, providing lucrative opportunities for businesses, especially the modest hijab fashion sector, to connect with them and grow their audience.
Currently, women seeking conservative outfits have few options in the e-commerce scene, especially when it comes to finding luxurious and stylish modest clothes. Since many consumers are now shopping online, for reasons like convenience and accessibility, modest fashion businesses have plenty to do in the digital space to attract this target market on a global scale.
Businesses can market and promote their modest fashion business by using key marketing touchpoints and offering different options to their target audience:
Setting up a modest clothing website is the most important element of digitalisation for a business. The brand needs to conduct the relevant research and understand its target audience: what kind of clothes they want, their cultural values, and how they want to combine style and luxury with modesty in clothing. The e-commerce store should be able to express the brand’s unique creativity and versatility by offering customers an amazing shopping experience compared to other abaya websites and fashion e-commerce stores. The website should have all the essential features to provide a seamless and user-friendly online shopping experience to the customers.
An example would be the Malaysian hijab online store, Naelofar, which has penetrated the international Muslim fashion market through its digital presence and the use of digital marketing techniques.
An e-commerce website needs to be optimised and marketed through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques. SEO refers to the actions you take to make your website perform better in search engine results, while SEM includes the marketing activities you can use to promote your website through paid advertising. SEO and SEM are crucial for businesses to increase brand awareness and accessibility.
Social media marketing is one of the most critical fashion e-commerce marketing strategies that can help modest fashion businesses gain brand awareness and draw customers to them. These marketing strategies include live streaming, video messages, and banner ads on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and others. Many Malaysian brands have also managed to successfully provide modest fashion inspiration ideas on Instagram, which facilitates in brand awareness and recall.
Another fashion e-commerce marketing strategy is to constantly communicate with loyal customers to increase brand loyalty and customer retention. Today’s customers want not only a product but also an experience when they shop online. They want to communicate with the brand and expect it to answer their questions in real-time. This communication can be in the form of EDMs (electronic direct mail) and cross-channel marketing, where a brand can target potential customers across multiple channels.
Established and growing modest fashion markets like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia offer a playground for businesses to explore. However, it is also good to consider hidden modest fashion markets in the Western world where supply is still catching up with demand. Leveraging the support of influencers can even go a long way.
Complementing your marketing techniques with a reliable and trusted logistics partner is also important to ensure smooth and timely shipping to their customers in these different countries. Considering options like same day delivery or on-demand options can offer greater flexibility to consumers, a key trait to distinguish yourself in the market.