Three digital tactics for fashion retailers in 2021
Posted on by cassie
For multi-channel fashion and apparel retailers, the drive for digital transformation is fuelled by a need to meet growing consumer demand for outstanding online experiences, while simultaneously improving speed to market, cost efficiencies, and decision-making processes across product design, manufacturing and the supply chain.
From new technologies to emerging online trends, staying ahead of the digital curve means fashion brands need to adapt quickly to a changing market landscape—one that’s been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we look at three ways in which fashion retailers can build their online capabilities in order to support their digital transformation, and remain relevant and competitive in today’s evolving market.
Personalise your online strategy
The past twelve months have seen a huge increase in the amount of time consumers are spending online—a phenomenon driven by COVID and its resulting impact on our daily activities and behaviours.
A report by McKinsey and Company found that during the coronavirus crisis:
- time spent texting, chatting or messaging increased by 46%
- social media usage increased by 43%
- video content consumption increased by 40%
As for fashion-specific activities, the McKinsey and Company report revealed that 35% of consumers browsed for fashion inspiration in online shops at least once per week, while 22% planned to browse for inspiration online more often in the next four weeks.
This spike in online usage presents an opportunity for fashion brands to connect with their customers on the channels they’re heavily engaging with. However, this opportunity comes with a caveat: at a time when COVID-fatigue is rampant, digital communications need to be tactful, purpose-driven and genuine.
Communicating on your target customers’ platforms of choice can help to keep your brand top of mind and encourage both new sales and repeat business. From personalised offers to online services such as digital styling, authentic messaging that puts the customer at the centre of your communications is most likely to cut through the online noise and resonate with your intended targets.
2. Enhance your online experience with AI
Artificial intelligence is transforming the way fashion retailers engage, interact and support their online customers. And with 47% of consumers happy to buy a product from a chatbot and 57% interested in getting their information from bots when browsing a website 2, it’s clear that customers are far from put off by the rise of the robots. AI such as web-based chatbots allows fashion retailers to deliver the personalised experiences their customers seek while automating functions such as basic customer support. Beyond live chat features on a brand’s website, chatbots can also be used on social channels such as Facebook Messenger to seamlessly embed the brand experience in a customer’s typical digital interactions.
With 80% of businesses expecting to be using chatbots by the end of 2021 3, the potential uses for fashion retailers offer an exciting opportunity to drive engagement and elevate the online customer experience. From welcoming visitors to your website to offering product recommendations via a chat service or providing personalised online styling tips using data and analytics, chatbots and other AI-based technology can benefit online retailers in all areas of apparel.
3. Use data-leveraging technolgy to manage your inventory
For fashion retailers that sell stock through dozens of channels—from stores and ecommerce sites to online marketplaces—and ship from multiple locations (3PL warehouses, suppliers, stores, drop-ship locations etc.), streamlined and unified inventory management is critical for obtaining the visibility you need and empowering you to make smart automated decisions.
And when it comes to effective inventory management, data is key. A high-quality inventory management system leverages all the relevant information across each of your channels— capturing everything from real-time data, analytics and fulfilment rates to delivery costs and product catalogues—sourced from your ecommerce platforms, social media channels, distribution centres, and everything in between.
As a result of this data-leveraging approach, fashion brands are better able to optimise product visibility and delivery options for customers, while improving manufacturing and supply practices with more accurate information and the ability to automate decisions for faster, more reliable fulfilment.
If you would like to talk to us about better inventory management, or other digital tactics contact us today.