Summer is here and the first half of 2017 has already passed by. It’s the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened in fashion retailing during the first half of the year. At FashionTrade, we are always keeping track of the latest industry news and we have identified 4 clear B2C trends that are currently reshaping the industry. Learn about them and what they might mean to your business moving forward.
Fashion on Amazon is coming
Amazon has been one of the biggest online retailers for years. It all started with books and then successfully moved to a wide range of consumer goods, from office supplies to food. However, it never managed to be top of our mind as far as fashion was concerned. But – this could change very soon as the American E-tailer is now openly moving towards this lucrative market. In order to attract consumers and appear as a fashion destination, it recently launched two new services:
- Amazon Prime Wardrobe,
- Amazon Echo Look.
Prime Wardrobe allows customers to receive up to 15 pieces of clothing at home, without having to pay for them! Try them on, return what you don’t like and only pay for the ones that actually fit you. After-pay is not per se a new concept, but on this scale it’s seen as the ultimate step to make online shopping as easy as possible for the few remaining doubters out there.
Amazon Echo Look is a hands-free camera linked to the Amazon home device, Alexa. It takes pictures and videos of you when voice commanded that appear on your phone and can easily be shared with your friends. The best part – Echo is also a personal stylist because based on your daily looks, artificial intelligence can offer recommendations when deciding between two outfits.
These two initiatives show that Amazon is doing its best to appear like a fashion destination to consumers looking for inspiration (in addition to an easy path to purchase and checkout of course).
Stores are popping-up!
Many stores and malls are facing a hard time and closing (especially in the US). But it doesn’t mean that consumers don’t want to go to stores anymore. It simply means that they are looking for a new kind of store, one where they can get an unique experience as well as shopping for products. More and more retailers offer a great brand experience by opening pop-up (or temporary) stores. Whereas pop-up stores used to be an one-off thing associated with the launch of a new product, they are now seen as part of a long-term strategy aimed at:
- Reinforcing the brand (more than the products it’s selling),
- Complementing its online presence,
- Engaging with the consumers in a different way.
Pop-up stores don’t require a huge investment and are the perfect way for a brand to surprise consumers and showcase its identity and creativity in a new way each time.
Shopping gets social
Social media platforms attract more and more users: 700 millions for Instagram and 150 millions for Pinterest. Fashion brands have instantaneously understood the power of these two platforms and posted their most inspirational images there. Now inspiration and E-commerce have joined as these two platforms become more and more shoppable.
In February, Pinterest launched ‘Shop the Look’ which allows users to click on individual fashion items appearing on their pins in order to buy them. Hot on their heels, Instagram released Instagram Shopping in the US. This feature lets a selected group of brands tag products and link consumers from Instagram to their E-commerce website.
With more and more consumers willing to shop online on their mobile, these kinds of features should become more widely available to benefit even more brands and retailers across the globe.
Launched in 2016, ‘conversational commerce’ keeps on rising in 2017. ‘Conversational commerce’ is commerce happening within conversation apps, like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or Wechat. Consumers use these apps everyday and they now expect to be able to interact with – and buy from – their favourite brands in the same environment.
Imagine that you open your app and ask your favourite brand what you could wear for your next birthday party. A chat bot (a robot using artificial intelligence) will provide you with the most relevant products for the occasion and the conversation will continue until you decide what to buy. The more the chatbot talks with you, the more it learns – offering you a better conversation… and accurate information about you to the brand! 900 million of Chinese consumers are now using Wechat, showing the huge potential of these apps for fashion retailing.
Key takeaways for your business
- Amazon focusing on fashion is just another example of how the large cross department E-tailers are getting bigger and bigger. Other stakeholders must fight hard to stay competitive.
- Online shopping continues its rise, but consumers are still happy to visit a brick-and-mortar store (as the success of pop-up stores show). Remember that they are looking for an experience as much as an opportunity to shop. Brand experience is what will make them come back to your store, whether online or offline.
- Social and commerce getting together shows that consumers are willing to shop while browsing their social feeds or apps. Not everybody can afford a chatbot. The same goes for Instagram Shopping (only available in the US now) or Pinterest ‘Shop the Look’ (only accessible to brands who work with selected partners). But you can still develop your social accounts to offer great inspiration to your consumers and start getting used to this platforms. There will come a time when every brand will be able to sell on Instagram or Pinterest, so you’d rather start now! Do you need a little help? Read our blog post about Instagram for fashion brands.
One thing is sure, fashion retailing is evolving quickly: brands and retailers need to innovate to stay on top of the competition. At FashionTrade, we truly believe that our platform can help you grow your business and make your target sooner. FashionTrade allows:
- Brands to connect with new retailers and sell their collections more widely,
- Retailers to connect with new brands and get the best assortment for their consumers.
In addition, our online platform gives you the opportunity to be more reactive and trade whenever you need, without depending too heavily on seasonal trade shows.
Are you interested? Join for free as a brand or a retailer now.