The fashion industry is not what it used to be. If we could rewind our memories to a few decades back when we the fast-fashion coming to its fullest. However, the rise in the mass-production was quickly countered by the increasing concern over sustainability, and fashion brands had to adopt more technological solutions that could balance nature and profits. Thus, came customization, which helped fashion brands to attain all their goals and also safeguards nature. Likewise, the clothes designing software helps brands grapple with all the demands and trends emerging in the online marketplace. The custom-made solution helps brands seamlessly implement digital technology into their business model and streamline their entire supply chain. It is the epitome of blending the best of two worlds where customers wear what they do while also helping brands keep the production in check.
Fashion Design Software Offers Solutions to Clothing Brands to Smoothly Transcend into Ecommerce
It is undeniable that the fashion industry has been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19. The disruption led to the shift in consumer preferences and consumer sentiment. According to Boston Consulting Group, revenue generated by the fashion industry dropped by more than one-third in 2020, which is equivalent to around $640 billion in lost sales. This is huge for an industry that thrives on a fast-live lifestyle and believes in changing with time. But it was also a wake call for many brands that were reluctant to bring any change in their business model. The facts suggest that several leading brands had to face the consequence of not being digitally native, including H&M and Zara. It was reported that H&M had planned to close 250 of its 5,000 stores globally, and the Zara owner Inditex SA already closed over 1,000 retail shops earlier last year. The fashion giants were under the impression that the world would remain a happy place and flourish in the market with their age-old strategies. Undoubtedly certain brands did benefit from the strategy, and its living example is Boohoo, who had gone public, snapping up ecommerce upstarts Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal, adding gasoline to their online growth. In fact, some established fashion giants were turning their Fashion Week venues into stage shows, withChanel displaying its latest collection in a giant airline terminal and Tommy Hilfiger building an entire indoor mini-beach, complete with a boardwalk.
As they say, things seem calmer when you are in the eye of the storm. And when the situation took a nasty turn, and the losses started unfolding, several brands were caught off-guard. However, many retailers and manufacturing brands were quick to realize the potential the pandemic offered and saw the silver lining of moving to the ecommerce platform to do business. Therefore, the fashion industry had to revamp its operational mode and rewrite its strategies and approaches to help brands practice digitization. The declaration of switching to the online marketplace did come late, but it has successfully resolved its operational mode. Besides, a switch to working remotely and buying things that were needed more regularly, such as athleisure and streetwear, swiftly became the centre of attention among many other apparels. When people had no physical connection with the outside world, they could wear funky hoodies and sweatpants. So, buying a fashionable outfit was out of the question. However, as brands started to experiment with their bottom line and business model and implemented the digital features to make shopping a lifetime and fun experience, the story began to change.
What does the future hold for the fashion industry?
It is evident that the pandemic has highlighted many loopholes in the fashion industry and taught the lesson of being prepared for any situation at any time. Digital technology provided similar choices to fashion brands and enabled them to spread their wings to mark their presence. Despite the apparel industry having downtime during the pandemic, it was still in a better condition than the other sectors, and besides, it had the power of modern technology that further provided strong support. The situation may have demanded an interesting challenge; it can still rise above it using modern-day solutions. It is apparent that clothing utilization is decreasing globally, and a report by the Ellen McArthur foundation suggests that the average number of times a garment is worn has decreased by 36 per cent compared to 15 years ago and even more so in high-income countries.
With the world changing its norms and letting people see each other more online than face-to-face, the trend to buy-less –and wear—more bolstered the rise of style-conscious social media users. Pre-pandemic stories were rife of Instagram influencers buying items once for an outfit photo before returning them. Consequently, brands have started to use AI in their websites and communicate directly with their buyers. According toGartner Senior Director and Analyst Brian Manusama, about 25 per cent of companies are planning to deploy AI technology like chatbots in the coming months. The benefits of chatbots and other digital solutions are well known to the stakeholders. They were developed to give a more personalized touch to the shopping experience that could translate into customer satisfaction and more sales.
Moreover, in dealing with customers who are always busy in their Zoom calls, brands saw an opportunity to connect with them more transparently and offer them an offline-like shopping experience. The case of Dior perfectly supports the notion where it launched a 360-degree view virtual store and enable customers to walk through the whole store and look at items, just like in a regular retail store. Other leading fashion houses, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren, also repeated the virtual retail success story to entice their buyers.
The facts and figures presented above show how crucial and beneficial it is for brands to adopt novel technological solutions to ramp up their sales. Let us discuss the other factors that help brands flourish in the apparel market using digital solutions.
Here are trends that determine the use of virtual solutions to thrive in the fashion industry:
- Social Media Emerging as a Powerful Tool
The power of social media is out and open, and it has played a vital role in starting various moments that shaped the world we live in. It helps people to freely speak their mind and offer the authority to reach million people at once. The platform has always been a source of bringing some social and political changes around the world. One comment, video, and image can make or break anybody. Additionally, it is a tremendous tool to market your products and thoughts to people living in different parts of the world and having different time zones. Numerous brands have already successfully made use of paid advertising for their marketing campaigns. The digitally native brands have used the platform to the fullest. Its native social media ads have served as a great way to create authentic online marketing campaigns. It is hands down the best marketing tool that guarantees sales, revenue, and large outreach, which otherwise be difficult to attain, especially when travelling and stepping out was restricted.
The latest developments in the social media platform suggest that they will continue to drive sales. For example,Twitter is all set to pilot a direct shopping feature on brand pages and becomes the latest social media giant to tap into the red-hot online shopping world with a new pilot feature allowing users to buy products directly from brands’ profiles. The company owners have stated that they had been thinking of adding a ‘Buy Now’ button, product pages, and product collections way back in 2015 but ultimately decided against it to “focus on other areas”. The networking site follows the footsteps of Snapchat, Tiktok, Pinterest and Facebook that have offered similar shopping features in the past. Their decision to revisit the idea of the ‘Shop Module’ allows Twitter users to buy products directly from the pages of brands.
- Ecommerce Offering the Necessary Mileage to Apparel Brands
The fact that we are talking about digital solutions could only be possible because of the existence of ecommerce. Online shopping was gaining traction well before the pandemic outbroke; however, the new form of shopping suddenly boomed after its spread. Since people were asked to work from home, and their movements outside the house were entirely restricted, online shopping offered them the chance to feel good. They could see various clothing collections and compare the product quality and prices by browsing through various websites. Shopping from the comfort of home is something customers will always cherish. Therefore, many brands that were earlier physically-based stores opted for online storefronts. It also offered a golden opportunity to brands to many emerging start-ups and SMEs to swiftly align with the changing shopping trends.
Similarly, a sustainable textile manufacturer Aquafil has launched a new shoppable platform dedicated to Econyl, its regenerated nylon made from recycled waste. The new ecommerce storefront will allow its buyers to browse through global brands using Eocnyl Regenerated Nylon and provide information about the innovative fibre and the broader topics of sustainability and circularity. The new online platform will launch with 15 brands, including ACE, C’est la V, Ludovica Gualtieri Milano, and many others. The sustainable brand will enable brads to set their search using more ethical and eco-friendly parameters. Econyl has been picked up by fashion giants including Burberry, Prada, Adidas and Speedo.
Also, the 3D fashion design software works on similar lines and allows apparel ecommerce brands to offer customization services to their customers. The tool aids brands’ users to design their apparel using digital features and make even the tiniest change in the design of the clothes from the comfort of their home. In the past, we have helped Customstyle to provide an innovative customer experience on their website. After our tool is integrated on your website, your customers can access it using gadgets, thus making it user-friendly and offering a single platform to buyers to use an innovative and exciting platform for creating personalized apparel.
- Inclusive Fashion Emerging as a New Trend
Another significant aspect of using digital technology in the business model for apparel brands is bringing people of all color, races, gender, and body type together on one table. Last year, we saw many hashtags trending on social media, and most of them targeted offering inclusive fashion. The hashtags, such as #blacklivesmatter, were prominent on Instagram and Twitter for many days, and many brands were called out for promoting beauty and body type in a certain way. The fashion industry was accused of only harbouring people who were white and slim. This notion many brands to change their marketing style and include models of all types. However, if they had adopted digital technology earlier, they wouldn’t have to face such criticism.
Virtual technology enables buyers to scan their bodies and try on clothes that best suit their personality and, most importantly, what they like to wear. Digitization has the power to let the buyers take control of what is to be produced, for whom it is to be produced, and how it should be produced. No wonder the new-age generation are so mesmerized by the recent developments happening in the apparel industry. In the same vein as virtual fit, inclusivity-focused technologies allow shoppers to see more variety in the body size and skin color of clothing models to reflect what shoppers themselves look like. As Kayla Marci, a market analyst at a retail and fashion technology firm, told Retail Dive, “67 per cent of American women are a size 14 and are voicing their need for fashionable products regardless of size.”
- Sustainability Becoming Driving Factor for Millennials
Since the beginning of 2021, fashion has become more about the status symbol more than ever. As a result, buyers are more likely to spend their money on clothes or fashion accessories only if they are loyal to show some intention of practising sustainability. Several examples in the luxury market, such asConcrete Jungle, show that if brands are well-intentioned and motivated to work with buyers to offer a beautiful and safe future, customers will stick with them through thick and thin. It is undeniable that fashion brands have done nothing to become more sustainable and cater to the emerging needs of their buyers. They have various attempts to their side that have helped them to set themselves apart from their competition, and most of these ways don’t directly relate to COVID-19. Nevertheless, in 2021, it will be more important than ever for fashion brands to tell a story that entices customers to buy from them. Focusing on sustainability and corporate social responsibility is a good way to make people relate to a brand, which will result in them being more willing to buy from this brand.
Moreover, technology has played a big role in transforming fast-fashion brands to become eco-friendly. Therefore, a US-based denim brand like Madewell has launched a new second-hand fashion platform with the help of resale giant ThredUp. The new platform, called ‘Madewell Forever’, harnesses ThredUp’s resale-as-a-service (RaaS) to give preloved women’s jeans a new lease of life. The platform was launched last week, currently has over 3,000 products, with new styles added hourly as available.
Days of Reckoning-
The current blog is an attempt to enlighten fashion brands about the degree to which the retail industry has transformed. The surging last-mile delivery costs and environmental concerns accelerated by the ecommerce boom compel fashion retailers to explore new delivery and collection methods. The last year was a lesson for apparel brands to emphasize enhancing product quality and services that could entice people and make them shop from the comfort of their homes. Brands that fail to deliver to these changed expectations will struggle to thrive yesteryear in the post-pandemic, digital-first era unless they reimagine their physical assets and make significant upgrades to logistics networks. The 3D clothing design software by iDesigniBuy enables apparel brands to walk that extra mile and helps them thrive amid the spotlight during the pandemic. The digital features in-built in the customization feature allow clothing manufacturers and retailers to gain customers’ trust by making shopping safer. The business solution aids them to shift towards online shopping while also maintaining physical stores. It assists brands in navigating the digital terrain, and its experts help understand these tech-driven trends to better compete in 2021 and beyond.
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