The fashion industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and change. But even for a constantly evolving sector, the year 2020 presented additional challenges to be addressed and resolved. Customer experiences had to be relooked, revenue streams had to be analysed and re-evaluated, rampant use of technology was preferred, and the ongoing efforts to do good for the environment through fashion continued.
In light of these circumstances, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things retail brands in particular should embrace and explore as opportunities for their growth.
- Changing Customer Behaviour
When was the last time you stepped into a physical store? And when do you think you will be comfortable in doing so?
As per a McKinsey report in August 2020, across the globe, e-commerce penetration has been accelerated by 10 years in just 3 months. Even in the post pandemic world, slight traces of pandemic trends are bound to stay. This means, the first time online buyers will have a tendency to keep resorting to online fashion owing to its convenience. There are reports which state the online sales performed well even after some shops reopened after the relaxation of the restrictions.
For the world that is constantly adapting and improving the digital era, it makes sense for retail brands to enhance their online business and go beyond conventional e-commerce to provide a better shopping experience and retain them on their platforms.
2. Adoption Of Virtual Reality
This is what excites us the most! Viewing the transformation in customer mindset and preferences, it becomes of prime importance that they receive an immersive shopping experience, where the hassles of physical shopping are eliminated and immense benefits of online shopping are made available. To blur the lines between the physical and the digital world, i.e., to create a ‘phygital’ experience, looking towards advanced technologies is the way to go.
Major retailers like Adidas are bringing VR to people’s homes, where they can virtually try the dresses. According to Forbes, this has proven to reduce the return rates by 36%. Furthermore, 3D designs or digital prototypes are being created by brands before manufacturing them, giving way to precision, streamlining of physical production when needed and less wastage of resources.
Fashion consumption in the form of digital-only clothing is not new, but it is gaining popularity in the current times. For instance, Gucci and Nike have begun to capitalize on buyers who purchase skins in video games. But introducing this concept to ecommerce or virtual commerce is a game changer. According to Richard Hobbs, founder and CEO of Brand New Vision, digital wardrobes are here to stay so that people can wear digital garments in multiple metaverses. He adds that one of the building blocks for this is the emerging popularity of NFTs which will give customers exclusive access to authentic brand products and understand the true meaning of ‘limited edition’. In fact, according to CB Insights’ Industry Analyst Consensus, virtual items that can be accessed only in virtual environments could approximately reach $190B by 2025.
3. Promotion of Circular Economy Over Linear Economy Through Digitization
Design – Produce – Transport – Use (Lesser than expected) – Discard. This linear fashion of fashion has been going on since a very long time. Being one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation, fashion brands are moving towards circular fashion where the process of garment production is cyclical, where the products and materials are always used and kept in the loop. Joining this cause are the eco-conscious customers who now prefer to associate with brands who choose sustainable fashion. According to Forbes, around 50% of fast fashion retailers observed a reduction in customer purchases as they wanted to be associated with responsible brands who cared about the environment.
As the fashion consumption is increasingly inclining towards ‘digital-only’, several brands are opting for circular fashion by creating expertise in creating digital garments. Can you imagine the good this does to our planet? As per Carbon Trust’s Report, production of a men’s white-shirt emits 6.5 kg of carbon dioxide and a digital garment of the same product emits only 0.312 kg of carbon dioxide. What a drastic difference, right? Through digitization, circular fashion can mean much more than reducing wastage caused due to traditional sample production. For garments specifically designed for social media or digital marketing, it could mean complete elimination of the emissions caused due to the current supply chain.
It is evident that the approach towards fashion is changing on both the ends – the brands and the customers. The future lies in creating customer-centric, innovative, easily accessible and highly sustainable experiences through a digitized revolution.
- The move to online shopping has been accelerated by the pandemic. The pandemic trends are expected to stay and customers are expected to spend more time online than offline. The brands who make the most of this opportunity by blending the best of the physical and digital words (phygital) will remain on the top of the game.
- Technology has become an integral part of the customer journey and there is a visible interest to explore digital product assessments before purchase. Creating an immersive and engaging shopping experience, going beyond traditional e-commerce and shifting to virtual commerce will open up new acquiring and retention opportunities for retail brands.
- The new age customer is eco-conscious and will choose a brand with similar values. To be the go-to choice for them and reduce the drastic negative impact of fashion on the planet, it becomes absolutely necessary for brands to work towards sustainable fashion. Leveraging technology for the same is one of the credible and beneficial ways to do it.
If you are a brand who is as excited as we are about being a part of these changes, and would like to know more about virtual marketplaces, digitisation of products and creating futuristic and effective marketing channels, we would be happy to discuss it with you. Choosing the right partners for such collaborations is crucial and we assure you, you have reached the right place!