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What is the future of fashion retail?
With economic and political fluctuations plus a shift in consumerism and increased competition simultaneously affecting the two hemispheres of the world, it isn’t hard to imagine that fashion businesses will suffer from immense pain (and even a shutdown) if they don’t innovate their designs, branding and marketing.
Let me make two things clear, which I bet you can’t deny: digital shoppers are on a constant look for discount offers, one-of-a-kind experience and convenience. Obviously this is a challenge for fashion retailers but if you have creative sales growth strategies at hand, you’ll be in the winner’s league.
Fashion Retail Industry
The fashion industry is seeing many changes – from closures, retaliations, jump from street to the web, and hyper-realism. This is true, look at what’s happening: American Apparel is shutting down its 110 stores after bankruptcy, retail giants like Nordstrom refuse to shelve Ivanka Trump’s brand, and BCBG plans to shut down stores and focus on their online presence.
While a study projects 14% growth for the “online fashion market”, several retailers have brought digital devices like smartphone and tablets to their physical stores for product customization, interactive changing rooms, and mobile point-of-sale system.
This is the battle of the fashion retailers – online stores and physical stores are head-to-head in a competition to grow sales and serve a digital-savvy shopper.
Spotlight: Digital Shoppers
In the recent years, we’ve seen an influx in the use of digital media to shop for apparel, shoes, bags and jewelry. Shoppers don’t just want an at-home online buying experience, but they also prefer to visit fashion stores to fulfill their shopping desires. An American businessman and investor, Marcus Lemonis confirms that “Consumer attitudes are rapidly evolving”. This is why fashion retailers must keep up with the ever-changing buying habits.
Also Explore: Consumer Buying Behavior – Digital versus the Real World
But what do shoppers want? According to Google, people want instant solutions and thus retailers should cater to micro-moments. Hubspot on the other hand reveals shoppers like surprises or as they put it: magic-moments. At the same time, marketers across the globe also recommend retailers to provide valuable and memorable experiences (I repeat) because shoppers like trends, storytelling, engagement and satisfaction of security and comfort.
“Experiences have to be engaging and exciting. The new consumer wants immediate gratification.” – Tommy Hilfiger
No matter what happens, fashion retailers should market their brands keeping the shopper life cycle in mind.
Fashion Retail Efforts To Serve Digital Devourers
Fashion retailers, brands and organizations are working alongside technology companies and products to target the digital shopper.
- Ralph Lauren’s flagship store in Manhattan embraced digital fitting rooms to improve buyer experience and assist people in making the correct buying decisions.
- Rebecca Minkoff partnered with QueueHop to introduce in-store self-checkout tablets to give buyers the authority to process their own purchases.
- Ivyrevel, H&M’s digital fashion store teamed with Google to collect shopper’s personal data via a mobile app to create well-researched and custom dresses.
- Tommy Hilfiger adopted conversational commerce through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Kik to personalize buyer’s journey.
- Accenture and Council of Fashion Designers of America collaborated to offer a 3-month experience to budding designers to test if bricks-and-mortar store works for them.
- French Connection teamed up with Stitch Fix to provide “personal styling service” for both women and men based on their data to give shoppers exactly what they want.
- Levi’s and Google paired to use the Jacquard technology to create an interactive jacket by weaving technology into the cloth’s threads.
Isn’t this futuristic and cool? I’m blown by the out-of-the-world and inspiring ideas fashion retailers are coming up with.
Future Of Fashion Retail
Although recession in let’s say Britain has forced people to think whether to spend money on fashion or other necessities, it isn’t hard to say that the world’s fashion industry won’t collapse. That’s for sure.
A fusion of fashion and technology will keep startups and small businesses competitive. It’ll be good if you offered free Wi-Fi, a digital window display, a mobile responsive website, real-time discounts, product locating app, or beacons for geo-location advertisements. The idea is to be there when and where your shoppers are.
Thus, here are proven sales growth strategies for fashion retailers to shine in a digital and internet of everything age.