I like to think that I stay ahead of trends in fashion, be it style trends, color palettes, silhouettes or technology, I have a natural knack for what will happen in the fashion industry. Today's brief post is about a few trends I spot happening and what they mean for the future.
Last year, I completed my thesis study on male denim shopping behaviors. The two part thesis focused on behaviors online and in-store. The results were very revealing and are being reflected in current trends:
To start the year off right I’m going to make a few more predictions on where the industry is heading. Below are just a few of my opinions:
The future of retail will continue to move toward customized shopping experiences. It will be essential for retailers to utilize customers’ past shopping experiences, current wardrobe items, and possibly predict consumer preference. In essence, data and technology will have to work as a sophisticated, experienced and dedicated personal shopper.
In essence, data and technology will have to work as a sophisticated, experienced and dedicated personal shopper.
A great salesperson is irreplaceable. In e-commerce, technology must act in lieu of a great salesperson. Virtual Styling is a term that I use to refer to a combination of experiences that replicate an actual salesperson in the virtual world.
In a brick and mortar store, customers can encounter amazing sales people and personal shoppers to guide their experiences. This idea must translate online as well.
Less is More
The key to customization online is summed up in the idea “less is more”. There are plenty of items to purchase online, so many that if a consumer is not satisfied with the price ( or color, fabric, print, size... etc.) of an item, he or she, being diligent, may find the same or extremely similar item, for much less somewhere else. In layman's terms "If you ain't got it,someone else does". Because this can happen, consumers are not as likely to purchase YOUR item online if it’s not what they WANT. To avoid overwhelming customers or having to deal with constant returns, retailers need to find ways to customize their catalogues,reflective of what the consumer wants.
To avoid overwhelming customers or having to deal with constant returns, retailers need to find ways to customize their catalogues,reflective of what the consumer wants.
If you’re not familiar with the famous jam study about what happens when customers are overwhelmed take a look below:
In store, bombarding a customer with many options may give the customer a sense of urgency however, the online consumer is different. The same urgency does not exist (even overnight shipping still requires you to wait and in store pickup requires you to move). Online shoppers have more patience and options. When you have options you don’t have to settle. Now that so many consumers know their worth ( you go shopper!) many of them will only buy items if it is what they want. Getting to what the customer wants is most important.
Retailers have to understand their customer's current and future needs and stay in that lane. More product does not always translate to more profit. Better experiences, however can translate directly to the bottom line. If you don’t believe this take a look at what happened with Fab.com’s over-valuation debacle after they lost sight of what their customer wanted.
In the near future, data mining will help to make this process easier by tracking customer purchases, sizes and motivations to create customized shopping experiences. This concierge like approach to shopping will benefit both the retailer and the shopper.
As shopping continues to grow via “M-commerce” (that’s the new term for mobile commerce) retailers will have to find more ways to accurately reduce their catalogue selection and to be mindful of the mobile shopping user experience. More tailored catalogues could result in more purchases if a customer sees more selections of what they want vs. everything a retailer has to offer (see above). The mobile and tablet device screen is smaller, limiting the viewing selection. The mobile shopping trend will force retailers to create better user experiences for the shopper on his or her smart device. The smaller the screen the smarter the selection will have to be.
Get ready to see more major developments on the changing apparel e-commerce platforms!
More trends to come in part 2!