The exponential growth of digital has created an environment that 20 years ago didn't exist, and even today retailers are still finding their way around it. As more consumers become connected to information than ever before, fashion businesses are compelled to understand and innovate their operations based on what their customers want, in real time.Take the role of the store for example. From a customer engagement perspective, stores have evolved from a traditional point-of-purchase to providing a digitally enhanced shopping experience. Although stores continue to build value even in their traditional functions, the demand of today's omnichannel consumers require recasting a store's role as a distribution and logistics asset. This helps enable multiple fulfilment options - helping shoppers get their favourite products faster, wherever it is convenient for them.
This level of convenience has become a competitive differentiator - leaving companies with the burden of understanding and leveraging these touch points to create a seamless shopping experience that unites both online and offline.
Digital transformation can set fashion retailers apart
So much has changed in the retail industry that former retail giants who failed to keep up with the evolving industry have suffered for their lack of digital strategy, resulting in mass store closures, and even bankruptcy. While it’s true that by now most retailers recognize the need for a digital transformation strategy, many major players have still been slow to implement a solid customer experience. There are still a number of challenges faced by retailers when adapting their strategy to meet the requirements of the evolving digital economy. In particular, fashion retailers must:
- Gain a single version of the truth. Fashion companies traditionally view their vertical businesses in silos for a better understanding of how these different segments are performing from retail to wholesale to manufacturing. This will continue to be important but retailers today need to integrate their data to gain one view of a customer's entire journey across multiple touchpoints. Only then will fashion retailers gather customer insights to deliver quick, unique, and ultimately superior customer experiences.
- Provide a consistent, scalable and flexible customer experience. It's not enough for fashion retailers to enable click and collect services. Fashion businesses must overcome technology restrictions surrounding omni-channel operations and remain committed to becoming more agile as the industry and consumer demands continue to evolve.
- Enable data transparency across the fashion value chain. Employees in a fashion company from supply chain executives to the marketing team to store associates – must have access to the same data. Often, teams across different departments follow multiple agendas and strategies. Getting everyone on the same page and empowering them with the data needed to do their jobs will help execute a better customer experience strategy.
Check out our presentation Fashion Brands: Getting an Omni-Commerce Strategy Right to learn more about how fashion brands and retailers can leverage one single view of the entire business to leverage the opportunites that digital transformation presents.