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How Is Technology Changing Fashion?

 Wednesday, 15th March, 2017

Former Head of Commercial at Style.com, Samantha Lavin, talks about the future of technology in fashion.

Exciting advancements in technology have been changing the fashion industry for many years now, across all levels of the value chain. The internet and mobile devices have made fashion accessible to consumers internationally, twenty four seven. Consumers are extremely savvy to more competitive pricing, service offerings and have an abundance of choice, making them increasingly more demanding and driving businesses to be much more creative with customer engagement and retention. We have seen a rise in the importance of online communities through Instagram, YouTube and various other social media channels. Fashion consumers often turn to Instagram to understand brand identities, profiles and communities. If brands are able to encourage a strong following through these channels with successful influencers and brand ambassadors, they stand to make sizeable revenues.

Personalisation is key to customer engagement. Consumers expect marketing communication and product placement to be specifically relevant to them in order to build a positive relationship with a brand. Gone are the days of mass marketing and prospecting. Technology has enabled highly advanced performance marketing for brands, and retailers are fortunate enough now to optimise these channels directly and immediately through instant feedback. From my experience and particularly in the luxury fashion environment, the most effective performance marketing channels have been affiliates. They not only allow for a personalised engagement strategy, they also target a specific niche market that is in line with the target consumer. Partnerships through affiliates drive quick short-term conversions and quality brand synergies for long-term engagement.
           
Additionally, with the development of advanced artificial intelligence from companies such as Streamoid, we are seeing the rise of the Chatbot. Millennials prefer using chatbot technology, whereby they interact with a robot to receive instant personalised answers to their queries. Chatbots are able to supply immediate service messaging, as well as style advice and integrated recommendation engines and outfitting. Servicing this messaging and interaction with consumers through both social channels and onsite, enables brands to interact with their consumers in a relevant, convenient and familiar way. 
           
Another important impact technology has had on the fashion world is through the supply chain. Not only can consumers buy off the catwalk, for brands such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger etc., consumers can also receive their deliveries at phenomenal speed. Matches Fashion for instance recently launched their 90-minute London delivery service. Plus, consumers can collect their deliveries from an increasing amount of collection points, making online ordering much more appealing. However, logistics companies are not stopping there, oh no… Amazon has been testing the feasibility of drone delivery over the past couple of years and companies such at UPS are now exploring the ability to deliver parcels to consumers at any moment to their mobile IP address.  Yes, so in theory that means consumers in the future could be walking down the high street and their online order could be delivered to them in the street!

Technology is shaping the way for infinite opportunities within the fashion industry, both online and offline with consumer convenience, excitement and engagement at its core.  The industry continues to exceed consumer expectations and raise the bar in digitalising retail, and I for one am very excited about all the developments to come.

Join us to continue the conversation on 23rd March with EDITIONS: Decoding The Fashion Algorithm, 6.30pm.

EDITIONS is a monthly discussion-led event put on by EDITED, a retail technology company with offices in London, New York and San Francisco. Previous speakers have joined from the management ranks of Valentino, Paul Smith, H&M, Vivienne Westwood, and LK Bennett.