Digital innovation and changes in consumer spending habits have catapulted the fashion industry into the midst of seismic shifts. To explore where we are and where we’re heading, this article takes a detailed look at the 3 E-commerce trends in fashion that will make a difference in 2020.
The Influence of Behaviour
60% of marketers struggle to personalize their site content in real time, yet 77% of them believe real-time personalization is crucial to their business. To achieve this, the average fashion retailer, globally, uses more than eight different analytics and commerce technologies. The challenge for retailers — and an opportunity to transform — lies in harnessing real-time behavioral data among these technologies to deliver personalized experiences. The alternative is depending on stale, transaction-based data, lacking in valuable insight, that emerges as customers interact with different channels, devices and touch points. As retail continues to evolve, ignoring behavioral data will make it that much harder for brands to excel against their competitors that are using it to personalize the shopping journey.
On top of the innate difficulties fashion retailers face with harnessing real-time behavioral data, new data privacy legislation will continue making these efforts even more challenging. We saw how GDPR cracked down on consumer privacy, requiring EU consumers to opt in to any web site before viewing any content. Similarly, the U.S. is following suit to tighten consumer privacy with the California Consumer Privacy Act and other legislation on the horizon — which will make the use of third-party data and PII more challenging than ever before.
As retailers continue to experience challenges, such as harmonizing their commerce technologies and adhering to new privacy legislation, using behavioral data will become the highlight of gathering personalization insights and overcoming these challenges.
For many shoppers, buying clothes online is a very hit-and-miss affair. Sizes vary between outlets and getting the right fit means many clothing items are returned – which is bad for both the shopper and the shopkeeper. That could change thanks to new software that creates an accurate 3D model of the shopper, meaning it is possible to “try on” clothes.
Cambridge based startup Metail, which has raised $20m to date and is backed by Hong Kong clothing giant Tal, is setting the pace. The company’s technology can be plugged into retailers’ websites so customers can create what it calls “Me Models” as well as 3D images of the products on sale. Shoppers can then find out if a pair of tight jeans will give them a muffin top. Retailers will also be able to use customer data to suggest outfits, creating a “Netflix style” shopping experience.
Do you know Shudu ? She’s the world’s first digital supermodel. She may not be able to talk or predict your favorite new product, but don’t underestimate her power : she’s been acclaimed by Rihanna, Naomi Campbell and Tyra bands. She might be a 3D character but she generates a lot of interest (she posed for Balmain, for the record) and has inspired this new trend of using 3D mannequins.
Shudu is more than a beautiful 3D Mannequin : she’s a superstar. She’s a new way of dealing with branding and story telling because she is a new face that has a lot to show.
Instagram is still leading the way
Instagram, a powerful channel for fashion retailers, made waves this year by announcing the launch of Instagram Checkout, which is meant to make it easier for shoppers to buy the products they discover directly within the app. However, some retailers are proving to be much more hesitant about the idea of using the new feature than the platform thought they’d be.
Having historically been used by retailers as more of a digital storefront instead of a full-on store, it’s not surprising that Instagram is having difficulties with changing brands’ behavior on their platform. Retailers risk losing a lot by allowing Instagram to interject itself into their most important interactions with their customers: purchases. By allowing purchases to take place offsite, retailers are giving up a lot of data that they currently capture when a customer makes an onsite purchase (such as email addresses). They’re also losing the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell during the checkout process.
As retailers of all types continue to raise these concerns with Instagram, I believe the platform will start finding other ways for the capability to be useful. Looking to reach the end-goal of added value to both the brands and the users, Instagram will begin using the capability to drive experiences somewhere in-between their traditional browsing experience and this full-fledged purchase experience. The market will start to see retailers, especially in the fashion vertical, use this new technology to drive micro-conversions, such as ‘Add to Cart’, signing up for an email list or activating a promotion. These micro-conversions, in congruence with the influence of celebrity that is so tied to the platform, will once again prove why Instagram is such a powerful tool for fashion retailers.