The digital landscape of the Fashion industry is ever-shifting to suit the needs of the customer. Discover how you can react to meet customer demand and ensure your organisation doesn’t become marginalised.
Shopping has changed.
What once was a chore that housewives carried out on a daily basis became something more fun, done not only out of necessity but out of desire too. And now, thanks to innovations in technology, shopping can be done from anywhere at anytime in a way that suits the customer best. It means that buying items from abroad is as simple as buying something from the shop down the road. It means that the entire world and its products are just a few clicks away thanks to this digital transformation in fashion retail.
But what of the high street?
If online shopping is such an easy task to accomplish, where does that leave the brick and mortar stores? The retail footprint is decreasing significantly; not as many customers have the time to go to the shops anymore, whether it is a chore or not, and scanning through an app or clicking a mouse means that the task can be completed in seconds rather than hours. In order to keep up with the way the world is changing, and shopping in particular, is it time, then, for a digital transformation in fashion retail?
What is digital transformation in Fashion Retail?
Digital transformation is a foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its customers. It marks a rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people, and processes in pursuit of new business models and new revenue streams, driven by changes in customer expectations around products and services. [i]
For Fashion & Apparel brands, this means re-imagining how shopping in a digital world should play out, rather than merely digitising the shopping process for a physical world. [ii]
Made to measure for the customer
There has never been a better time to embrace digital transformation in Fashion. If everything is available from home, quickly and painlessly, then enticing people out to the high street is something that needs to be thought about carefully – considering a digital transformation strategy for fashion retail could be the way to do it. Just how can retailers on the high street compete with online shopping, a ‘trend’ that seems to have no end in sight and is most likely here to stay?
Personalisation through data
The customer experience is what is really going to make the difference between buying something online and heading out to the shops to buy something in a physical building, face to face with someone else. The digital transformation in fashion retail, therefore, doesn’t have to happen regarding the act of purchasing itself; it could be before that, in terms of marketing.
If you can personalise your marketing so that those who are most likely to want to buy from you see that you exist and see that you offer some excellent products and services, then more people will come to you. Your business model could be that you only sell from your shops, and not online at all, and if you get your marketing right this won’t make a difference – it’s the experience you are offering that makes people come to you, even if they could, technically, buy what you are selling online at home in a fraction of the time, perhaps even for a fraction of the cost.
Determining what it is your perfect customer will help you here. You need to know who they are, what they want, their age, gender, location, their budget, and anything else that you can find to ensure that you are marketing to the right people, and selling to them in the way they want. You need to know how the digital transformation in fashion retail has affected their shopping habits too.
Building up insights into your customers and making the experience a more personal, unique one, is key.
People are used to being able to take their time over their purchases if need be. They might do a lot of research beforehand, they might want to mull their options over. This is where the internet has an advantage, particularly in terms of digital transformation in fashion retail – comparing is a simple act, and you can leave things in your online basket, go away for a few hours or even days, and then determine what you want to do.
Doing that when you step into a physical store is much harder. Customers will have needed to do their research before they come to you, and they won’t be able to keep going away and coming back again to ask questions or check things over one last time.
Or will they? Although this is not practical within the store itself, being proactive with your website and your marketing can help them. Make sure you offer all the information and advice that is required when it is needed – before the moment of potential purchase – rather than waiting for people to ask you because, as we all know, they might not have the time to do that. They might just want to come and buy and go again.
You can also use proactivity to create events such as sales, pamper evenings, or anything else that will work for your business. By using a program such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central you can input buying patterns, customer motives, marketing results, and more to determine when the best time to have these special events is going to be.
Streamline the process
Something that people enjoy about online shopping is just how streamlined it is. They see something they want, click to add it to a basket, click to checkout, and it’s done. This is especially true if their details are already inputted and they simply have to log into the site to buy whatever it was they wanted.
Yet having a digital transformation in fashion retail can mean that you can offer a similar service in your shop, if that would be of use to you. You can also streamline incoming goods and deliveries, plan events more easily, help customers to make faster purchasing decisions, and ensure that you never run out of stock. A modern business management solution is the best way to do this, and it can transform your brick and mortar store into an easily accessible and interesting place to be that customers will enjoy returning to time and again.
If your organisation is considering the benefits of digital transformation, contact our Fashion specialist to discover how an experienced approach will deliver real business value and prepare your organisation for what the future may bring.
[i] CIO Magazine (2021) – https://www.cio.com/article/230425/what-is-digital-transformation-a-necessary-disruption.html