Fashion is an innovator when it comes to embracing technological advances and trends. When a variety of industries assumed digital strategies to keep their business continuity plan even in the face of significant disruptions over the past few years, many fashion companies already had digital presences and those who didn’t establish the online profile of their brands.
While the necessity of having a presence on the internet is recognized, especially for D2C (direct to the consumer) initiatives, digitally-savvy brands recognize the value of having an offline presence for increasing the satisfaction of consumers. In the end, both online and offline fashion companies are taking an omnichannel approach to provide customers with a more significant value offer. Anurag Saboo, Co-Founder of DaMENSCH, provides insights into how technology changes the way fashion companies operate.
The various technology trends that are dominating the fashion industry are:
AI: By keeping the customer experience at the heart of all operations, AI is helping brands offer personalized services and products. AI helps predict fashion trends by following social media traffic and analyzing consumer behavior offering recommendations based on customers’ previous purchase history and their time on particular pages on the brand’s website, and more. AI reduces the chance of mistakes during production and reduces operating costs, increasing efficiency, increasing revenues, and enhancing customer experience. Furthermore, AI highlights what is trendy for the customer and brand and assists in predicting trends in light of changing buyer preferences.
Chatbots: A growing percentage of D2C fashion companies use chatbots to answer customer questions and increase consumer engagement in selling and cross-selling. Chatbots are also a part of chat-based commerce, where brands utilize WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to connect directly with customers to sell their clothing.
D2C Mode: A website is now essential for interacting with consumers and selling clothing directly. In addition to ensuring higher margins, D2C lets brands enjoy greater control over their customer experience with full transparency of consumer information and direct access for buyers, which encourages greater customer loyalty. Furthermore, it assists companies in streamlining growth strategies to meet changing needs. Through mobile applications or social networks, companies can connect with customers at any time they want.
Blockchain: The revolutionary technology revolutionizes and safeguards supply chains by recording and tracking the entire transaction history of assets in an irreplaceable, secure database. In addition, by assigning every item, a unique digital ID blockchain can boost the efficiency of supply chains. Thus, apart from the products, data and documents can be securely exchanged. Blockchain allows brands to design digitally, which is nearly impossible to counterfeit. Blockchain may also play significant roles in the Metaverse, which is an exciting area for fashion.
The Metaverse: This new realm could be explained as the fusion of two worlds. Customers will get an immersive experience using VR (virtual reality) or AR (augmented reality) when they select their clothes. The customers can “try” on the short-listed clothes in virtual test rooms. Once they have decided, the garments can then be shipped to them by online or offline stores.
Clothing can be altered according to your personal preferences and sizes in the metaverse. For instance, a buyer can choose a particular design, style, or color. They will get various computer-generated images of the person wearing each design. The customer then places their order and goes to the three-dimensional measurement booth. A multi-digit size code is generated and sent to a 3D computerized pattern maker. Digital printers create the necessary 3D print. It is sent to a micro-factory that produces a single item just as requested.
If the Metaverse is realized, digital products will begin to become a reality when brands can monetize their top items using NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Slow Fashion: A second observable trend is the increasing preference of the growing number of consumers to purchase clothes made using sustainable production methods. The new trend has a significant impact on the fashion world, which is one of the major causes of global warming because of the non-sustainable practices of fashion that is fast. This is the general method of making clothes in a short time with synthetic fabrics which are affordable but carry heavy carbon trails.
On the other hand, slow fashion uses sustainable manufacturing practices that make use of eco-friendly materials. Although they are expensive, the clothes last for a long time, which means you aren’t required to replace their clothing regularly as frequently as fast fashion. Thus, sustainable fashion labels are steadily rising in popularity due to consumers’ growing demand.
Eco-Friendly Fabrics: Believe it or not, these unique, environmentally-friendly alternatives are made from cacti, pineapples, apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, mushrooms, algae, nettles, and more! They are mostly made from leftovers from various industries, which minimizes the amount of trash thrown away and helps protect the Earth’s resources.
For example, Vega or wine leather can be described as a material made from skins of grapes (derived from winemaking), vegetable oils, and other organic fibers used in the agro-industries. There is also nettle fiber which was popular with people in the Bronze Age. It is made from nettle plants. The fibers from nettles were eliminated quickly after discovering cotton, as it was more practical and easy to cultivate. The fiber made from natural Himalayan nettles is ideal for denim. The best part is that these items are biodegradable.
The above trends indicate that technological advancements are driving the shift to sustainable practices. In the same way, they emphasize the necessity of using digital tools for maintaining an offline and online presence to increase customer loyalty and brand loyalty.