The days of traditional shopping have come and gone, and today, the fashion industry has shifted its focus to the dynamic and quickly growing world of online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores. As the retail revolution continues, it is important to understand the differences between the two, in order to stay ahead of the curve and maximize the potential of the industry. In this article, we’ll explore the fashion industry and retail revolution, revealing the differences between online and brick-and-mortar stores, and uncovering the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
1. Mapping the Digital-to-Physical Journey: Where Fashion Shopping Is Going
For centuries, fashion shopping has been defined by physical stores and mall visits. But with the rise of digital technology, the shopping journey is now in the midst of an overhaul. As the customer journey morphs, fashion brands need to think closely about how they bridge the physical and digital worlds.
Today’s shoppers require seamless, personalized experiences — across all brands and channels. For fashion retailers, that means embracing integrated retail strategies that bring together the best of both online and offline experiences.
Here are the key elements to consider when mapping a digital-to-physical journey:
- Omnichannel: Retailers should prioritize omnichannel capabilities that enable customers to shop anytime, anywhere. This may include features such as click-and-collect, in-store pickup, delivery options, and more.
- Data integration: To deliver a modern shopping experience, retailers need to be able to access customer data across their entire organization. This requires a unified view of the customer, so that no matter where the customer interacts with the brand, they have a consistent experience.
- Personalization: By using customer data, retailers can deliver personalized offers and services. By gaining a deeper understanding of customer behavior, fashion brands can create personalized experiences that meet their customer’s unique needs.
- In-store tech: More fashion retailers are using in-store technology to make the shopping experience more engaging. This may include interactive displays, virtual mirrors, and more.
- Social media: Social media is an important part of any fashion brand’s customer experience, allowing customers to share their purchase decisions and engage with retailers and other customers alike. Retailers can leverage social media to build a stronger connection with consumers.
As fashion brands embark on their digital transformation journey, they need to embrace an integrated approach to retail and consider how they bridge the physical and digital realms. By creating an cohesive, personalized shopping experience, fashion retailers can stay ahead of the competition.
2. Not Just a Fad: Explosive Growth in Online Fashion Shopping
In recent years, the way we buy fashion has changed drastically. By 2021, online fashion shopping is forecasted to reach $850 Billion, according to a report by Goldman Sachs. While online shopping was once looked at simply as a trend, it is now widely accepted that it is here to stay.
This shift to online shopping not only reflects the changing attitudes of consumers, but is also the result of increased access to technology and social media across the globe. There has been an explosion in platforms such as Instagram, which enables people to follow brands on their mobile devices and be among the first to know about the latest fashion trends. These platforms help consumers stay in the know about upcoming styles and make it easier than ever for them to shop for what they want.
The online shopping industry is still in its infancy, with many opportunities for growth and innovation. Brands like ASOS, Boohoo and Missguided, have become hugely successful by offering trend-led clothing that is both affordable and on-trend. With more and more new entrants to the market, competition is becoming increasingly intense.
The growth in online fashion shopping is only set to continue, with retailers becoming increasingly savvy about using technology to foster a more personalized online shopping experience. Already, many retailers are using data to provide personal recommendations as well as automated email campaigns to keep customers up to date with fresh styles.
Advantages of Online Shopping:
- Access to limitless choices and a wide range of sizes.
- The ability to compare different styles and prices more easily.
- Convenient and fast shopping experience.
Ultimately, the massive growth in online fashion shopping is here to stay. Consumers now have access to an array of products and services that meet their individual needs, allowing them to shop quickly and conveniently. As the industry keeps growing, it is essential that retailers keep up with the latest trends and technology, so they can provide the best possible customer experience.
3. The ‘Bricks’ That Keep the Revolution Rolling: The Allure of Brick-and-Mortar Fashion Stores
The opening of the first-ever brick-and-mortar fashion store can be traced back to 1858, in a modest building on London’s Regent Street. Since then, fashion stores have come a long way, crafting unique spaces that simultaneously whisk fashion lovers away into their own world and showcase products to be admired. Even today, physical stores still have a special kind of energy closed off to those who merely shop online.
There is a certain charm to physical stores that simply cannot be replicated. As customers move through the store, they interact with the designs from all angles, taking in details that they may never have seen in an online advertisement. It is both the tactile and visual experience that make fashion stores so alluring, providing customers with the chance to explore and experiment with new styles that have been carefully curated.
When the stars align, customers can be surprised with a great find that previously eluded them. Whether it’s through an unexpected sale or a chance encounter with a unique piece, brick-and-mortar stores are where those stories come alive. Every trip to the store is a chance for unscripted adventures that will leave customers wanting more.
Stores feature everything from modern minimalism to vintage haute couture. At a physical store customers can find clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories to help create their own unique style. Along with their selections of apparel they are also able to consult with their knowledgeable staff who can assist in helping make a dream outfit come to life.
Fashion stores offer a unique opportunity to take part in a kind of retail therapy, giving customers the chance to treat themselves to whatever they desire. Surprises that were not planned for, from magazine racks and tantalizing window displays, make stores a launchpad for customers to explore and end up with a purchase. Finally, fashion stores provide the promise of a tantalizing experience, with something new and different drawing customers back again and again.
- Tactile and visual experience
- Unexpected finds
- Clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories
- Consultation with knowledgeable staff
- Different styles to explore
- Surprises that were not planned for
4. A Flipped Marketplace: Leveraging Technology to Bring the Best of Both Worlds Together
Intelligent use of digital technology is transforming the way the marketplace operates. Every industry is not only utilizing the skills of technicians and engineers and harnessing the power of digital computers to streamline their activities, but it is also revolutionizing customer engagement. Now customers can access products and services with a few clicks of a button and can enjoy the best of both worlds – convenience and savings.
At the forefront of this revolution is the phenomenon of the flipped marketplace, which leverages technology to bring together the best of both the physical and digital worlds. By combining the convenience of online shopping with the reliability of the traditional marketplace, companies can allow customers to unlock a whole new shopping experience.
- It enables customers to select and purchase products from their favourite stores with ease, even when they’re far away.
- It eliminates the need to physically visit stores and thus saves time.
- It also eliminates physical handling of products and reduces the possibility of theft or breakage.
The flipped marketplace’s integration of digital and physical operations also provides a customized customer experience. Companies can choose from a variety of platforms to deliver personalized customer service and sell products accordingly. Customers can benefit from the convenience of virtual shopping, while companies can take advantage of predictive analytics and data-based insights to manage their inventory and provide better customer service.
The flipped marketplace is revolutionizing the way companies and customers interact. It is providing an unprecedented combination of convenience, affordability and safety. With the capabilities that today’s technology brings, customers now have access to a shopping experience that can match their ever-evolving needs and preferences.
As the retail industry evolves, the fashion industry will continue to need to stay ahead of the curve and develop innovative strategies to keep up with the ever-changing face of customer shopping habits. With the improvements in online shopping technology, brick-and-mortar stores will continue to reinvent themselves with more frequent changes in trends and products offered. It is safe to say that the face of the fashion industry and retail sector is sure to remain fascinating in the years to come.