In the shoe market, uniqueness and weirdness have won. Look at any company’s website or brick-and-mortar store for that matter; you will come across a buffet of stylish collections. And it is not just high-end fashion and luxury labels that are providing creative designs to their buyers; the emerging brands as well have jumped to this wagon. But if we tell you that we have another solution that will help you boost your sales without spending too many resources to attain your goal. It is a shoe designer online customization solution that empowers brands to listen to their customers’ requirements and manufacture products that people want to own. The tool helps brands reverse the manufacturing trend and then sell first to sell the idea and experience and then manufacture it. It comes with digital solutions that allow buyers to preview the product before they finally decide to pay and make even the minute corrections in the designs that otherwise go unnoticed.
Custom Design Shoes Offers Solutions to Footwear Brands to Stand Out from the Crowd
As we all know the ecommerce has been rising exponentially in the past couple of years. According to Euromonitor International’s Apparel and Footwear research, it now represents 28 per cent of global apparel and footwear sales. The primary reason for such a great hike in the sector is embracing digital solutions that have opened an avenue full of possibilities for brands. The retail strategies, such as curbside pick-up and order delivery, virtual shopping appointments, livestream shopping, digital showrooms, have played a pivot role in expanding the business. In the USA, speciality footwear retailers, such asDSW and brands like Old Navy and American Eagle, have started to offer curbside pick-up options at selected locations. In Asian countries, especially in China, live streaming has become extremely popular. Therefore, leading fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton and Burberry, use live streaming to demonstrate their products and interact with their customers. This is likely to continue popular, as consumers have more time to stay indoors and spend on their mobile devices.
Moreover, buyers have also become fitness freaks and health-conscious, and they are keen to adopt a lifestyle that keeps their health in check. According to Euromonitor International’s COVID-19 Voice of the Industry Survey, 41 per cent of professionals across all industries think about buying more health and wellness-related products. And approximately 40 per cent of the people surveyed believe that their change in purchasing behavior is permanent. That means they will continue to purchase products that help them to improve their health and immunity. While consumers are finding ways to stay active inside their homes, sportswear players like Adidas and Lululemon are offering virtual classes to support their at-home experience and continue interacting with their customer base.
From the facts and figures mentioned above, it is evident that the footwear industry holds great potentials as its brands welcome digital solutions and embark upon a new journey to reinvent themselves. So, let us look at the various factors that help the sector to bolster its business.
Here are some elements helping brands to scale up their business amid the uncertainties:
The Rise of Resale Market
As the term sustainability is gaining traction among the buyers, rental and resale markets are emerging as the two viable options in the circular business model and arbiters of next-generation fashion consumption. In fact, many leading companies are investing and forming partnerships to promote the use of resold products. For example, Kering has invested in Vestiaire Collective, Balenciaga and Simone Rocha partnered with The RealReal, and Farfetch collaborated with Thredup. Though the names can be counted on fingers, many leading businesses are yet to embrace the emerging market.
The rental market has its own limitations, as there are yet to receive complete participation from brands in comparison to the resale market. The primary reason for its failure to gain as much traction as the resale market is that it is a trickier and costlier market with cleaning, damages, wear and constant returns. According to Bain & Company published a report which estimates that by 2030, resale would account for 20 per cent of the revenue, while rental would account for only 10 per cent. However, a report commissioned by resale company Thredup revealed that rental, resale, and subscription would be the fastest-growing retail sectors in the next ten years. However, the average person is predicted to spend 18 per cent of their apparel spend on resale by 2030, while rental is expected to make up just less than 1 per cent.
However, for younger generations, adoption will be quicker, and renting will become more important in the luxury mix. Therefore, many rental companies are enticing fashion executives to educate them on the benefits of the rental market through the resale playbook. And they say that desperate times call desperate actions; these companies are ready to abandon the word “rental” entirely and use terms like loan, access, and club. Despite a more complex customer journey, the industry hopes a Gen Z buy-in will lure brands. The rental and resale market is a slightly newer concept, and therefore, brands showed a little reluctance to adopt them.
Luxury brands have feared that these emerging markets would compete with their full-priced sales, but as it turned out, traditional luxury shoppers refrained from buying anything second-hand. Instead, research shows that resale marketplaces attract new customers who lack access to the brand and regret buying a full-priced outfit. However, luxury is particularly well-suited to resale because it plays into the narrative of heritage quality that lasts generations — which pairs well with the new consumer attention on sustainability. Rental, for its part, has the potential to be a customer acquisition tool, especially with younger generations. It can also be used to test products and styles and drive returns on low-performing inventory. Rental subscriptions, in which people pay a set amount at regular intervals to borrow a rotating selection, is even newer. This is especially true outside the USA, where a fashion rental company on the scale ofRent the Runway, which is now valued at $750 million, is yet to emerge.
The Surge in Trendy and Stylish Footwear
Since people have spent most of their time sitting home and gazing the mobile phones, luxury brands saw it as a lucrative opportunity by offering them distinctive designs. This strategy was immediately received by users who started taking pride in donning clothes and accessories that can turn as many heads as possible. Though, this is not a new trend to emerge on the landscape, as its precursors, such as Margiela’s cloven Tabi boots, offered the same vibe to users. The weird-is-good movement has truly erupted over the past half-decade. It’s been gaining ground in the pandemic, as working remotely provides great freedom to experiment and see what suits the wearer the best. The trend has successfully turned away from co-workers’ critical eyes and coincided with a drive toward comfort at any cost. In 2017, the launch of Balenciaga‘s bulbous, pre-weathered Triple S sneakers set a new standard for intentionally ugly designer shoes. Meanwhile, frumpy Crocs and Birkenstocks were recontextualized as beloved, even covetable, shoes, spurred by collaborations with stars like Justin Bieber and luxury brands like Jil Sander.
The forces of casualization have made office footwear like shiny dress shoes and chaste heels—once a crucial adult investment—increasingly irrelevant. It’s now acceptable to wear startlingly informal shoes daily. With people becoming more comfortable in accessorizing themselves with more comfortable shoes, it is hard for them not to smile at a pair of wacky tie-dye Crocs or furry purple Marni mules.
Moreover, footwear fanatics look for style statements to stand out from the crowd. Many young buyers have got their priorities straight out that “I don’t like to wear what everybody wears“. Consequently, brands are rolling out exponentially more extreme shoes that give buyers something to be proud of. This is especially true in the case of influencers. They prefer strange sole shapes, garish color schemes. Brands are getting more and more extreme, in an almost competitive manner, as they introduce a wide of shoe collections from bulky pre-distressed sneakers to fuzzy mules, there’s an outlandish shoe for everyone.
Likewise, the 3D shoe design online, a customization tool, helps brands to offer more creative designs to their buyers by allowing them to create their own line of shoes that are distinctive, funky, and trendy. It enables them to make bolder fashion statements and inspire others to learn from them. Additionally, it helps brands come closer to their buyers, understand their requirements, and make them an integral part of your production process, thus, helping in forming a strong and warm relationship with customers. It also aids consumers to preview the product they have created with the help of designers through the digital technology in the tool. This novel feature allows brands to be transparent, turn their customers into loyal ones, and reduce the cart abandonment ratio. We work closely with JuliaBo, a footwear company that provides shoes for sale, and we have integrated our shoe customization tool as per their requirement. Customers will primarily have to select the type of shoe they wish to customize, as they can select a leather/ material from the predefined ones and then choose the color as per their selected material. They can also decorate the shoe by setting up initials as well as lace colors.
An Increase in Sustainable Footwear
Sustainability isn’t a new concept in the fashion world, and it has been doing rounds since the time the reports of the industry being the largest pollution contributor came out. Though many brands have been doing their bit to reduce the impact, they have caused in the past. If you are willing to do your bit for nature, you must learn from the success stories of footwear brands presented below. Let us take them one by one. Firstly, the case of the casual footwear company, Crocs who is all set to introduce a new bio-based Croslite material into its product lines to lower its carbon footprint. The move is part of the company’s pledge to become a net-zero brand by 2030, as it targets a 50 per cent reduction in its carbon footprint per pair of Crocs shoes.
Crocs have collaborated with Dow, a global materials science company, to manufacture collections that are called “shoe of the future”. The new shoes will incorporate new Ecolibrium technology that transforms sustainably sourced waste and byproducts into a shoe while also ensuring that the shoe looks, feels and functions exactly like the Crocs consumers know and love, but with fewer carbon emissions. In addition, Crocs is also investing in resource use, including transitioning to renewably sourced energy in its offices and distribution centres and reducing efforts across the entire value chain by purchasing carbon credits to offset any remaining emissions, leveraging the most impactful sources available.
Plastics and leather are dangerous products that brands need to refrain from using, and if not completely abandoned, they should at least minimally utilize them. The Earth is currently drowning in plastic, and recent statistics reveal that over 8.5 million tons of plastic are produced every single year, so it is no surprise that the plastic pandemic is one of the biggest plagues our planet faces. Though many brands, such as Crocs, as mentioned above, are dedicating their resources to manufacture products that are recycled. And some are recycling the household plastic; however, this will come as news to you that only 9 per cent of plastic is recycled, 12 per cent is incinerated, and the remaining 79 per cent makes its way to landfills where it takes up to 500 years to break down and decompose. Therefore, Remeant, an innovative textile company from Isreal, is bridging the gap between the fashion and design industry by enabling plastic to have a second life. Giving plastic waste a new purpose by reusing and upcycling the unwanted plastic into fashionable, colorful, and high-quality textiles, you’re voting for a better world at the same time.
Remeant uses materials such as bubble wraps and developed them into colorful textiles that are high-quality, perfect to use in fashion products. Since the materials used by the brand have already been manufactured, there is a reduction in processing as the raw materials are not needed to be made from scratch. It is much more complicated only to reuse the material instead of shredding and recycling it, and it saves a lot of energy! To add to this, using industrial packaging plastic from factories helps reduce the volume of plastic placed through alternative recycling processes.
The Climb of Omnichannel Strategy
As the world shifts from over a year of lockdown, retailers are looking for ways to ensure that their stores continue to honor the new normal with a switch to omnichannel platforms. The brands that have despised implementing these novel strategies in their business model are now looking for ways to adhere to the shift in trends and boost their sales. They have now realized the potential digital technology holds in connecting them with their buyers anytime and anywhere. Therefore, the trend-led shoe brand Steve Madden is the latest to join the long line of retailers harnessing the digital in-store commerce experience. Teaming up with PredictSpring, a Modern POS technology platform, the retailer will be introducing a range of POS omnichannel features, starting with its stores in Mexico.
It is noteworthy for brands that mere providing a mobile responsive layout won’t be enough to survive in this intense competition. They have to provide experiences that give them an edge over others. They should allow the store associate to access all the required information about the product and customer, including the past purchases and loyalty status. Such detailed information helps them connect with buyers better and enable them to discuss their concerns and queries with the brand openly. Besides, customers will now have the option to buy online and pick up in the store or buy products online with store associates to have the products delivered to their homes.
And with the holiday season coming around in few months, customers are seeking ways to engage with brands more. Now is the right time to invest in the technologies to upgrade your business model, connect with in-store and online shoppers, and offer them a marvellous experience.
To sum it up, the footwear industry holds tremendous opportunities for brands that are willing to grab it with both hands. The custom shoe designs by iDesigniBuy help shoe manufacturers and resellers leverage recent trends and foresee emerging ones. The customization solution allows brands to give complete freedom to their buyers and let them determine what pair of shoes give them a distinctive identity. It helps them create designs that are one-of-a-kind and also preview them through digital technology.