In the past, fashion brands traded in their history. New lines would appear and then be promoted to an audience. We, the customers, have changed all that. Millennials changing preferences and attitudes toward corporate responsibility and social consciousness have affected how fashion brands present and position themselves. Fashion is being increasingly directed by customer interest in sustainable and ethical fashion and the rejection of ‘fast fashion’ and its negative impact on the environment. Customers are no longer commodity fodder and retailers are waking up to the fact that they need to engage customers outside of traditional shopping environments.
Online operators are growing around 24 times faster than shops on the High Street, and Artificial Intelligence is opening up ways in which we can access a range of fashion once unimaginable, such as apps where you can take a photo of an outfit and find similar items of clothing.
Personalised fashion was once the preserve of the wealthy clientele of haute couture, but technology is bringing the option of online personalisation to all its customers. Adidas operates ‘speed factories’ which use robotics and digital design to allow personalisation of up to a million pairs of running shoes by 2020.
Click and Collect
One of the minor irritations of modern life is the experience of waiting in for an item that you’ve purchased online or returning home to find a slip of card informing you that your garment has been deposited at some depot in the back of beyond and you’ll have to go and collect. So not only did you pay for postage but also now you’re going to have to burn fuel and waste time in order to get your hands on it. Click and collect gives you control over where and when to collect your package. You don’t pay delivery costs and it’s usually a next day service. No wonder it’s so popular with customers.
These are sites where one company brings a group of brands together in one place, for example, Glasses and ShopStyle. This is both convenient and time-saving for the customer, you don’t have to trawl around a bunch of sites, trying desperately to remember where it was that you saw that jacket you wanted.
A more customer-orientated approach
The ‘woke’ generation is having a massive impact on the way in which fashion retailers position themselves in relation to their customers. We expect the corporations from which we buy our fashion to behave in socially responsible ways. Nike supported the controversial Colin Kaepernick in his anthem protests, Levi’s fronted a campaign against gun violence, GAP support the LGBTQ+ community. Customer discussion platforms have brought customer satisfaction, speed of delivery and convenience to the forefront of fashion marketing and resulted in a better service for all customers. Fashion retailers are now acutely aware that they must respond to customer demand or disappear, no matter how famous their brand.