Cultural and technological shifts are driving revolutionary change within the fashion and lifestyle industry. Social media, big data, advanced analytics and cloud computing are generating unprecedented opportunities for businesses, who are converging these technologies to adapt their business models and cater to the demands of the new “digital” consumer. In many respects, the industry today bears little semblance to that of a year ago—and will change even more in the coming years ahead.
As we head into another fast-paced year with promises of new technology and innovations, here’s a rundown of trends that are creating this new disrupted and unpredictable future:
1. Sophistication of Consumer Demand
Truly successful fashion brands of tomorrow will be those who can cope with rising consumer expectations. As evolving consumer expectations increasingly drive fashion firms to innovate, remaining competitive and relevant in the industry will become harder to achieve.
This emergence will likely push brands and retailers to adapt their business models to gain a single view of each customer, integrating their shopping data with behavioral profiling and preferences. Exploring the possibilities with a multi-channel shopper has already given birth to omni-channel retail, which will undoubtedly play an even bigger role in years to come.
2. Faster Fashion Cycles
The rate at which products are introduced, adopted, peak in popularity and then fall out of fashion is becoming more rapid while the number of fashion cycles being squeezed into a season are also increasing.
While the fashion and lifestyle industry has always been a volatile one, faster fashion cycles will create new challenges in terms of effectively synchronizing supply with demand. Consequently, fashion companies will have to equip themselves with the tools required to monitor the popularity of a particular line and adapt to spikes and troughs in demand as they arise.
3. Consumer-Centric, Demand-Driven Supply Chain
Where the previous decade saw significant efforts expended on improving efficiency in the supply chain, fashion companies will now have to combine efficiency, agility and predictive analytics to synchronize processes across the total value chain, all with the goal of matching fashion offerings with consumer preference in real-time.
Fashion retailers and labels that give greater attention to consumer demand and improve their ability to alter or re-route supply to meet changes in demand will benefit from drastically improved logistics, reduced out-of-stocks and markdown dollars. In doing so, they will be able to earn consumer validation and expand their market share.
4. Personalization & Analytics
How existing and potential customers interact with a fashion brand online can unearth valuable behavioral patterns. Capturing these digital footprints have become a standard in today’s industry, yet managing the large volumes of data that comes with it has left retailers struggling to find the right infrastructure to make sense of it all.
Knowing how to sift through the stack of information and pinpoint key data to develop new tactics defines the best use of data-mining technologies. This coupled with a strategic approach will drive new growth strategies.
5. The Agility of the Cloud
To realize new levels of productivity conducive to today’s fast-changing world, retailers must be able to adapt and capitalize on market shifts. Cloud empowers businesses to this by eliminating the delays and inadequacies in operational and BI systems. Leveraging the power and speed of in-memory database and analytics, they can quickly reconfigure business processes or extend information to employees and partners across the globe – without the need for IT resources.
In addition, combining both transaction processing and analytics on a single platform will help businesses analyze and determine the best course of action with unprecedented speed.