Many people are aware of fast fashion brands, such as Forever 21 or H&M, because they have decent clothing at cheap prices. Of course, that is why people usually flock to these brands — because they are cheap. They are not necessarily the nicest quality, but they do the trick for many people who just need a clothing item to get the job done.
However, new brands in eCommerce have emerged which offer, in many cases, cheaper clothes at a similar quality. This makes it even more appealing to consumers, especially if they are willing to take a risk with their purchase in hopes of getting something that is worth their money.
There are many fast fashion brands out on the market currently, but let us take a look at both Shein and YesStyle to see how they market to consumers.
What is Shein?
One of the most popular sites in fast fashion is Shein. Little is known about the site or where its roots are, but it is a popular place for young people to shop due to their incredibly low prices. Consumers can find deals from only a few dollars, so there is no wonder as to why many people will go on a shopping spree on the site.
Shein is truly a mystery. There is practically no information on who founded the site or when it was established, nor is there any contact information to reach anyone at Shein. However, if you have any questions, you can contact the customer service chat instead.
Shein was something that I found out about towards the end of my high school career. I remember seeing such low prices, thinking to myself, “There’s no way this is not a scam.” My friends and I were pretty skeptical about it because the site seemed pretty sketchy and they did not have a reputable reputation at first.
Their website definitely seemed very underdeveloped, which made it seem untrustworthy and unprofessional. Their overall layout of the website was not very developed, and there was not a strong sense of brand identity present throughout the whole site.
Everything seemed to be really fragmented, which may make sense as they decided to rebrand to “Shein” within the following years. Like many brands, they needed to build a reputable following before consumers began to trust the website.
However, Shein presents itself as a site that sells things from a large warehouse, which may attribute to its low prices. Product images were not very consistent, and seemed like they were just pulled straight from the Internet. The lack of consistency caused distrust in customers, however, consumers were still willing to buy from the site because of the cheap prices.
I Googled the website to read the reviews about the site, and it seemed like many people were not receiving their orders after weeks of waiting, or that it was taking weeks to be delivered. Many people complained about the quality, but what more can you expect from a top that only costs a few dollars?
Shein describes itself as an “international B2C fast fashion e-commerce platform.” The company focuses on “women’s wear, but also offers men’s apparel, children’s clothes, accessories, shoes, bags and other fashion items.”
One of the only things that is known about Shein is that it was previously known as “She Inside.” Other than that, much of the company remains a mystery.
Much of their popularity is attributed to their success in digital marketing. Shein has a “fashion blogger program,” which is another way of saying that they have influencers that market their products in exchange for free products.
The popularity of Shein shines mainly through TikTok. However, it is not from a Shein TikTok, but young girls who are actual consumers (although sometimes it may be unclear as to whether or not they were sent the products for free). A lot of the videos will be clips of people opening up their Shein packages, or short try-on hauls. Many will try them on and rate them as well to let people know whether or not an item is worth purchasing.
Outside of digital media, SheIn has also announced the opening of a few of their pop-up shops, and one actually opened around the area that I live in. There was even a pop-up in Paris that was widely applauded, further attributing to their success.
What is YesStyle?
YesStyle is the sister company of another retail company of YesAsia, which sells Asian entertainment worldwide. In 2006, YesAsia expanded into the field of Asian fashion apparel, in which the products are sourced from Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
YesStyle varies in clothing for both men and women, to Asian beauty products and even home goods. I was once an avid shopper for YesStyle, oftentimes making a purchase from the site at least once a month. I noticed that all my packages come from Hong Kong, although it seems like there are many Korean products that are marketed on the site.
The site is full of Asian products, and seems to appeal more to Asians or people who are interested in Asian fashion and beauty. For many, it is a go-to website for Asian beauty products, as the shipping minimum is quite low, only $35 for free shipping or $4.99 for purchases under the minimum (this was before Covid-19 — it is now only offering express shipping once the customer reaches $59 or else shipping is $15).
Many people flocked to YesStyle because the website gave people easy access to Asian products.
YesStyle was also seen as a sponsor for Wong Fu Productions, which is a production company that had its start on the YouTube platform. They reached primarily large Asian audiences, as their content featured many different Asian actors and actresses in an attempt to bring more Asian representation in the entertainment industry.
YesStyle does not have as strong of a media presence on social media compared to Shein. YesStyle does have affiliates, but they are not marketed as heavily as Shein’s “fashion blogger program.” They did open up a storefront at Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco, but unfortunately they have closed. It seemed like many people disliked the selection at the store as it did not accurately reflect the products that were listed online. Because the store was really small, it limited the choices that customers had to choose from.
Shein vs. YesStyle
It seems as if Shein has always targeted customers from a more international demographic. Its clothing items remind me of things that I would see on Forever 21 or Fashion Nova. It is no different than other fast fashion brands, but what sets itself apart from then is the mysteriousness of the company and why it has stayed that way for years.
Shein has gradually gained popularity over the years as it built a more reputable reputation for itself, which is quite a contrast from its sketchy beginnings. Through the years, they have built trust with their consumers so that they are able to have influencers promote their products to have them seem more credible and trustworthy.
With the many people that are promoting Shein, the company seems to slowly becoming more up to par with other leaders in fast fashion, such as Forever 21. Its appeal to the audience also seems to fit Forever 21’s audience demographic as well — young teenagers who want to look fashionable, but on a budget. Shein is definitely working towards this vibe through the way that they market their products.
Shein is obviously targeting a more western audience, due to the types of clothing trends and styles that they carry. The style of clothing sold on the site relates to many of the kinds of clothing that Instagram influencers wear, but at a fraction of the cost.
Shein has definitely upgraded their website over the years, and it seems much more appealing and trustworthy. It seems on par with other fashion websites with the trends that they portray, which convinces consumers to trust the site and its products. The images are well shot and resemble what you would see from other reputable online retailers.
Shein has also improved in the consistency of their marketing of their products, as it does not seem as sketchy as it once was. It seems like they were able to shoot more professional campaign photos, which further increased its credibility as a reputable eCommerce company.
On the other hand, YesStyle does not have seen to evolve as much over the years. Its website has stayed primarily the same, with not that many changes to its web design. However, as its sister company focuses on Asian entertainment distribution, it seems as if YesStyle wants to also continue to primarily target Asians and people who are interested in Asian goods.
YesStyle does not seem to be reaching towards a larger demographic, as their target audience perfectly fits with the kinds of products that they are retailing. Thus, this explains why there have not been drastic changes to the YesStyle website over the years.
Many Asian websites are quite convoluted in its layout, and there are often many extraneous features on the pages, or unnecessary design elements. There is often not much variety in the websites’ layouts, as many of these sites often try to convey as much information as possible, without paying attention to what it may look like to the user.
Asian websites are also a lot more playful in its nature, as this is a common characteristic throughout their sites. For the most part, everything is also consolidated into one page so that the user is able to see everything. This can explain the convolutedness of YesStyle’s website.
In both China and Japan, users tend to like the messy and cluttered organization of information on webpages. Some researchers suggest that this could be due to both of the languages’ complex and dense characters that are compact. Because there is no way to emphasize text through bold or italics, they must highlight important information through visual cues.
Because Asia has a very collectivist culture, this is also embodied in web design. Thus, there are many designs and flows that allow for group decisions. The language and tonality of the description of products should also be respectful.
YesStyle also outsources their items, so there are products from many different brands across Asia. This is quite common across many other Asian websites. Websites will use photos of a model modeling the clothing and then images of the product, but those gallery of images may also be used on a completely different website.
Thus, the photos are not actually photos taken by YesStyle, but photos taken by whoever is distributing the product. And oftentimes, the same product with the same photos will be listed under different sellers, so things may seem a little sketchy there.
In this case, YesStyle shares a similarity with the early beginnings of Shein, however, Shein has made the change to be more consistent with its overall content on their website in order to be seen as a viable option for those looking for cheap and trendy fashion. In order to become as competitive as fast fashion brands such as Forever 21 anf Fashion Nova, they must market their products the same way in which those brands do to appeal to more consumers.
YesStyle, on the other hand, has stayed true to its roots and continues to act as the middleman between Asian products and people who live in areas in which it is difficult to obtain such products.
Although all of their products may seem completely varied and different, this is due to their outsourcing, which provides a lot of variety for their consumers. However, YesStyle seems more reputable because of its longer history and its reputation for being a very reliable source for Asian fashion and beauty products.
Shein, on the other hand, is still building its reputation to be a large brand that people return to shop at, as opposed to being only-one time shoppers that buy products to see if they are worth the hassle.
Fast fashion does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, it seems to be a growing industry, especially during a time where many young teens want to stay on trend and look fashionable without breaking the bank account.
Both Shein and YesStyle provide different examples of marketing fast fashion items due to their different demographics and who they are specifically targeting to. Nonetheless, they are still both popular to their consumers because of their affordable prices, which many people seem to put above the higher quality of the clothes.
No matter how you see it, both sites have succeeded to fulfill the needs of their niche audiences by providing a shopping experience that accurately reflects their consumers interests and desires.