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Tech offers an edge over others in fashion retail

"While designers are busy offering trendy clothes every season but is that enough? In the millennium it’s the tech edge that will help fashion retailers win over consumers. At a recent conference, Tommy Hilfiger reflected on the importance of technology. In fact they were the first to do a chatbot with Facebook (Messenger)…and believe in Snap:Shop (an app that lets consumers instantly shop items from the moment models hit the runway). In a recent advancement, Hilfiger has a digital showroom that has no garments but allows buyers to view a big screen that they can also view from home."

 

 

Tech offers an edge over others in fashion retail

 

While designers are busy offering trendy clothes every season but is that enough? In the millennium it’s the tech edge that will help fashion retailers win over consumers. At a recent conference, Tommy Hilfiger reflected on the importance of technology. In fact they were the first to do a chatbot with Facebook (Messenger)…and believe in Snap:Shop (an app that lets consumers instantly shop items from the moment models hit the runway). In a recent advancement, Hilfiger has a digital showroom that has no garments but allows buyers to view a big screen that they can also view from home. From this, they make their apparel, shoe and accessory selections, put them in the different store doors and choose their floor plans, and in a couple of clicks, they have their entire seasons mapped out.

Technology gives the edge

Tech offers an edge over others in fashion

 

Nancy Johnson, Founder, President & CEO, Optimyze, points out multiple forms of technology are essential to  stay competitive in today’s fashion business. Whether it’s through their marketing, or stores, or information they are capturing at their point of sale, all these are allowing companies to create their competitive advantage by using big data. Nesli Danisman, Founder, Angora Group explains new RFID hangers that move from the sales floor to checkout to track what individual customers are buying, allowing stores to sculpt future tailored marketing for each shopper. Anthony Bruce, CEO, Applied Predictive Technologies, refers to how his firm helps retailers and brands test and learn about any new retail action on a small scale, before doing a full rollout. Prior to putting in new fixtures or rolling out new products or changing operating hours, their philosophy is to try it first. That includes more tailored communications with consumers. He explained how data drawn from a test run could prove to be successful.

Johnson says, other applications are also helping to put a new spin on customer experience. Companies are working with augmented reality, like AR mirrors that allow you to walk into a fit room and see different things on your body. For instance, Zara was meeting the tech challenge with its new pop-up store in London. Tabea Soriano Hughes, Managing Partner, Futuremade opines consumers can place online orders, and make returns and exchanges. Associates have big iPads to help with selection. The retail space isn’t for store inventory, its more for larger fitting rooms and interactive mirrors. If you try on one item, the mirror shows other recommendations in suitable sizes and colours. Customers can check out via the Zara app, with their smartphones or with self-checkout. Delivery can be same- or next-day. Similarly, LVMH has bought shape-shifting mannequins that expand into multiple sizes to adjust in a much more customised way.

Making purchase decision

According to Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey, currently, just over half of all consumers (54 per cent) say they love or enjoy clothes shopping. Seven of 10 purchases are planned, with shoppers buying clothes 19.2 times per year in-store and 8.4 times online. Monitor data shows two of five consumers (43 per cent) would be interested in apparel brands and retailers using virtual reality to enhance their shopping experience either online or in a physical store. This percentage increases with younger consumers.

For most consumers (75 per cent), fit is the top factor when making an apparel purchasing decision, according to Monitor Research. That goes for whether people are slow to change styles (38 per cent) or consider themselves fashionistas (36 per cent). Bruce informed that retailers should be more specific to take advantage of patterns of success. Those that invest in these tailored and targeted responses are the ones that are going to not just survive but thrive.

 
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