Valerie Steele, an American fashion historian, puts, “I think that a lot of our fashion history shows do touch on important issues. Fashion and technology obviously do, because technology is impacting fashion in so many ways, from computer-assisted design to the way we actually purchase clothes online”.
Indeed, technology has become one of the highly applauded value-generating elements in the fashion industry. Brands are focusing on a digital-first approach. They are committed to leverage tech advancements to strengthen their diversified assortments offered through online channels. The head-on sustainability agenda is inspiring them to invest in a tech-driven business model for longer-term transformation and serve a growing breed of customers who adore sustainable fashion.
The fashion industry is witnessing changes as brands are pioneering exciting business models leading to new paths of profitability. As 2020 will experience tectonic shift with fashion companies pushing tech-integrated services in the market, the future of fashion will undeniably be driven by tech currents as companies will keep their fingers on the pulse of market demand.
Delivering top-end consumer experience is a priority, and technology is available at the perusal of fashion brands to make them digital right. Here are some tech-centric fashion business concepts that will revolutionize this highly competitive space in the coming years.
Technology Changing the Future of Fashion
Blockchain making fashion transparent
The technology well known for fusing immutability in business transactions, is now finding its way in the fashion industry. Statista reveals that the Italian fashion and luxury sector is showing a keen interest in blockchain because of its capability to make supply chain traceable while preventing counterfeiting. Fashion is all about offering exclusivity and desirability, and nothing is better than a technology that can assure the authenticity of every transaction. Whether it is about supply chain activities or procuring raw materials unethically or involving child labor in production or emitting hazardous waste in the environment, blockchain can keep a check on all. Fashion brands can create a digital identity of the apparel and accessories, thus thwarting the economy of fake goods.
Moreover, it is offering food for thought to socially and environmentally aware consumers as they shift towards ethical consumerism and sustainable fashion. Blockchain is facilitating a win-win solution for all stakeholders by calibrating the information. Brands can experience more customer engagement as consumers develop trust in them. Blockchain is still in its nascent phase as far as the fashion industry is concerned. The future is perky as it will bring enormous opportunities for the brands to show consumers that they care for them.
Digital Stores rendering immersive and convenient experiences
In an attempt to fine-tune the customer experience and differentiate themselves from competitors, fashion brands are investing in digitization and unconventional business models. In a “winner takes all” economy, fashion companies are keen to offer a value proposition to their customers by implementing cutting-edge tools for a marvelous in-store experience. With interactive devices like AR-powered smart mirrors, AI-powered apparel design software, tailored suggestions driven by big data, interactive catalogs in 3D, digital tags, virtual fitting rooms, agent-facing bots, automated and contactless checkouts and selfie kiosks; brands are underpinning revolutionary ways of selling through brick and mortar stores. It would not be superfluous to say that fashion brands are going phygital.
The stores of the future will offer RaaS (Retail-as-a-Service), where innovative technologies will spellbind customers by providing on-demand services in the stores. Research by Raydiant justifies that retail is not dying; it is technologically evolving and redefining customer experience with new engagement models. Undoubtedly, in the quest to become the best-in-class fashion retailer, companies will continue to offer an immersive environment powered by new-age technologies.
Clothing-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering luxury fashion easily
The rental and resale model is an emerging concept in the fashion industry. With the potential to tackle the problem of overconsumption, this model is all set to end permanent ownership of the clothing and begin circular fashion. The craving for newness in the younger generation has inspired brands to come up with this creative way of refurbishing the apparel.
Clothing-as-a-Service is a subscription-based model in which apparel and accessories are provided to customers for temporary use. Gaining widespread momentum as key players are experiencing customer engagement through this model; fashion by subscription heavily relies on the latest technology. Advanced tech like AI is helping entrepreneurs in this segment to predict inventory and demand patterns. They are designing highly interactive web-based platforms where users can place an order after taking smart trials. Needless to say, fashion retailers will harness digitally advanced ecosystems in the coming years to add CaaS in their omnichannel portfolio.