Fashion Forward: The Transformation of an Industry

Published 15 July 2019 by Blessing Olumoroti

Like the wider retail industry, fashion has had to adapt to an increasingly digital climate. Companies have changed the technologies they operate with both on- and off-line, embracing digital transformation strategies. This creates a grey area between the digital and physical world, but several brands have done so successfully.

Customer experience is of the utmost importance, meaning a retailer’s successful digital transformation strategy is a customer centric one.

Fashion retailers have been consistent in trying to maintain a balance both in-store and online, with several well-known players making innovative changes to their businesses and business models. 

How to get it right

When enacting digital transformation, companies will look to either create or transform an already existent online platform. A key step in this is to personalise the customer experience. Brands may have their platform address the customer by name, remember their clothing sizes or log previous style choices to recommend outfits.

ASOS is an example of a retailer who has taken some of these measures and in 2017 saw a 27% increase in sales after investing into the development of their site.

Several online retailers have also employed the use of chatbots on their digital platforms to ensure that customers have their issues addressed in a timely fashion, lessening the number who become frustrated and abandon their carts. This can also be reduced by making the shopping experience more streamlined. By creating a consistent experience on every device they use, you ensure familiarity and possible returns to your site.

 

Remember to get physical

Despite living in a digital world, ‘brick and mortar’ stores aren’t dying. In fact, 90% of shopping still happens in-store and several brands have chosen to digitise the in-store experience, making it more “streamlined”.

Zara have trialled interactive dressing rooms and RFID technology, making it easier and quicker for customers to find and try on items.

UNIQLO have also experimented with AI technology, using a new system to engage with real-time data analytics and ensure the right products are in the right locations at the right time. They are also dedicated to helping customers shop while in store and the system analyses customer choices so it can offer relevant recommendations.

 

Both - not either/or

It is not enough to provide an either/or digital approach. Digital transformation is a blending of both the physical and digital – and it must be understood that the experience doesn’t just begin in-store. 

More and more customers are expecting an omnichannel shopping experience. With shoppers researching clothing and brands prior to their visit, and 90% of customers using their phones to both research and compare brands while shopping, it is not enough to only operate on the high-street.

River Island have set up several measures to ensure the in-store experience is as effortlessly linked to customers’ mobile phone use as possible. If coming to the store for a 'click-and-collect' item, shoppers can alert staff that they have arrived through their phone.

Tommy Hilfiger have also experimented with AR and mobile shopping through their TommyNow Snap App, that customers can make use of whenever they see an item they wish to purchase from the brand. By opening the app and pointing their phone at an item they were interested in, customers were taken to the online store.

By integrating the online and in-store shopping experience, you can ensure longevity. But this is only once you remember that your digital transformation strategy must be built with evolution in mind.

 

Digital transformation and customer experience

As a global online learning business, we help organisations navigate in a technology-driven world by building their digital capabilities - while ensuring that the customer experience isn't lost by the wayside.

The benefits of developing a strategy and a more in-depth look into digital transformation is explored in our Digital Transformation lessons.

The importance of placing the customer at the centre of your strategy is also highlighted in our Customer Experience lessons.

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