The Future Is Now Open
Aside from the fashion industry’s great upheaval realized hard in 2018, then again during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now coming back from COVID jumping into a possible recession, New York Fashion Week continues to adjust and evolve as much as possible to these circumstances, but what’s unavoidable is how everyday retail behavioral habits had completely changed, even before the aforementioned world events, Informa Markets today along with Fashion Snoops held a live digital event to address “The Evolution Of Retail”, a complete guide to keep the action of stepping into Macy’s from going extinct.
The image compilation seen above here on Daniel Plus Lauren says it all about the three prong areas where retail is at, which really is broken down into 5 categories, let’s start with the most simple action of all that burns calories too, Physical Retail, going into the store in-person to buy an item you want or need, you may have to try it on to see if it fits before you buy, but in order to keep you coming back to Physical Retail, there’s something out there now that keeps this platform alive, it’s called Phygital.
Phygital is Physical Retail enhanced, offering immersive 3D options on the fashions and accessories you want to buy, providing images of pieces, vital information about fitting, how it’s made, sourcing, and backstory of the brand, but it’s not just about the clothes that are in the store, or even anticipating shopper’s needs, it’s about service speed and efficiency such as contactless checkout which Millennials and Generation Z take very seriously, and avoid retailers who don’t have these options, plus there must be a purpose for desired demographic to shop at a retailer, plus QR Codes come in handy for not only goods, but store services such as booking the fitting room.
Physical Retail is out, Online Shopping is in, and it’s the one and only option that keeps retail alive, you could not be so wrong, it’s not just point, click, buy, and ship anymore with e-commerce, e-commerce now has offspring it’s spawned thanks to social media, it’s Social Commerce, also spawned by TikTok and Instagram, Social Commerce involves video posts and livestream media of someone demoing a product or look on camera, also connected to an app allowing you to buy what you’re watching, broken down and explained in the most digestible way humanly possible, this truly personal and exciting experience aside from coffee or with coffee/ caffeine/ or even libation, trust levels for those who Social Commerce is extremely high, the Asian Market has welcomed this experience with open arms while it’s still being experimented here in the United States.
The biggest component that’s missing from online shopping is fitting, trying to guess what size blouse or bra you need to buy, so buyers also returned items in large because their pieces were an incorrect fit, which also causes landfills to swell with tons of unwanted clothing, the biggest fix to reducing 10 million pounds of waste in landfills and $761 Billion in online returns is Made-To-Measure, executed through sizing questionnaires, machine learning algorithms, and 3D scanning methods, it’s now an affordable bespoke model which retails can invest in and quickly implement in their online retail experience, this sustainable, body scanning, person to person experience can easily be customized according to retailer as an affordable way to start, and can be made for the consumer to update at anytime according to size modifications.
Another key component to fitting into the buys you make online that complements compiled data to find the right size for you is Virtual Try-On (VTO), relying on augmented reality to be at play that involves digitally created images of clothing and shoes you’re buying, thanks to 3D apps used as body mesh enhancements to recreate the movement of fabric, allowing you to virtually try on a pair of shoes as it hones in on your feet through AI (Artificial Intelligence), VTO’s have been tremendously successful in many studies which leads to 90 percent conversion rates, businesses already using VTO see returns drop 40 percent, and Millennials and Gen Z want to be apart of this immersive experience.
It literally seems like that every time you think a thought, or click onto a piece of clothing you’re buying, chances are that Google or the retailer you’re shopping at knows what you’re looking for even before you click on the page, that now is a cemented reality with online retail shopping, so now it has a name, Intelligent Recommendations, directly driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), IR now can be found not only with online retail, but when you walk into a department store like Macy’s in-person, who could be implementing Phygital Retail as we speak, displays in the store already know who you are, providing you item recommendations you know are right for you, despite privacy concerns, consumers expect IR powered by AI to be present wherever they go, just so as long as there’s transparency by the retailer, and 71 percent consumers now expect personalization with IR by AI, and 80 percent consumers get frustrated if not given personal features.