The COVID-19 pandemic has led consumers and fashion retailers to navigate their complete digital transformation in the face of unpredictable and accelerated trends. With inflation, rising prices, and other economic uncertainties, retailers that will dominate 2023 will be those strategizing and executing digitization, and they must take this next step to be able to capitalize on new trends fully.
Social commerce represents the paradigm shift in how consumers can now interact with brands on a more personal level. It is not just a new shopping experience; it creates opportunities for more interactive, entertaining and memorable experiences.
Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram reels let brands form new relationships with consumers, shifting from regular advertising such as billboards and posters, which are usually considered overly promotional.
For example, the likes of Bella Hadid or your favorite celebrity inviting you to their nighttime routine, including their skincare routine, instead of watching a television ad for a new skincare formula, showing and explaining why they love it. Consumers can then directly buy these products straight from the reel / video, e.g. the TikTok shop or Instagram shop feature.
This simplifies the process, almost throwing it in consumers’ faces to buy! Offering seamless and modernised customer journeys can benefit retailers by leveraging data on continuous consumer behaviours, creating offers with targeted benefits and suggestions.
One of the biggest 2023 Instagram engagement sensations is collaborative and remix posts. These types of posts are usually targeted on shared traffic and end consumer interest between two Instagram users, with the benefit of targeting multiple market segments with the tag of the product or services. TikTok also offers duet posts between two users that are beneficial for both parties, targeting global market expansion, product sales or brand awareness. Get in touch with the Candid marketing team to find out how we can help you forge new brand partnerships and scale your brand awareness across various social media channels.
Artificial intelligence (AI) brings new solutions that are helping retailers with authentic engagement expectations. There has been mass adoption of AI in the retail tech space, leading to a more competitive future. More retailers and brands are beginning to incorporate these solutions, leading to capitalizing on fashion trends faster than ever before.
It is common to have difficulties navigating websites or have questions about products. Retailers are using AI chatbots as a direct solution to fast and straightforward responses, in order to keep customers at the heart of their marketing strategies, as well as to personalize their brands and simplify consumers’ experience, naturally leading to direct conversions.
Chatbots can be used for a variety of questions, from getting ideas and inspiration for purchases, making reservations, resolving any complaints or problems, and so on. There have been many surveys completed which have found that a higher number of consumers would rather connect with brands via live chat or chatbots vs. email or any other means of contact in 2023.
Usually, these are a part of the company you are shopping from. However, a popular chatbot that is not tied to any specific brand, Epytom, serves a personal styling service, helping encourage consumers to find their own style; it helps style users with clothing they already own, based on different factors that the user enters themselves, e.g. weather that day.
It is expected for the majority of businesses to use chatbots by the end of the year, but not just for queries or live chat purposes – they can even further personalize consumers’ experiences by recommending suggestions on fashion items or how to wear items as an upsell or cross sell strategy, directly stemming from the human factor and leading to maximizing conversion rates.
The fashion and apparel industry has always been criticized for being one of the most heavily polluting industries in the world. It takes an average of 75 lbs of CO2 to make a single pair of jeans and over 700 gallons of water for the production of a new t-shirt.
With increased awareness and the rise of the ecommerce industry, interest in sustainable and ethical fashion is a growing trend. Fashion e-commerce is seen as the next frontier, and as change is an important part of the fashion industry, new sustainable looks are coming for consumers and fashion retailers. France has made drastic moves in this direction, legally mandating sustainability, whereby all French market trading brands have to provide verified proof of sustainable inputs in their production processes and supply chains.
The growing interest in sustainable fashion is clear. Selling platforms such as Depop show how consumers, especially Gen Z, are becoming more and more interested in buying second-hand items, and the economic engagement this is gathering.
Fashion brands have the opportunity to capitalize on this new interest and can also receive bonuses for promoting sustainable practices. Many brands are offering add-ons such as guidance on how to wash, store, care and repair items. This created brand identity puts sustainability front and center for the brand, encouraging not only sustainable purchases but practices to increase the longevity of items and decrease waste on the planet.
Another one of the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the abandonment of retail stores, which has found consumers buying things online that they would have previously shopped for in-store. Omnichannel strategies unite user experiences across multiple touchpoints, including brick-and-mortar, web and mobile devices, creating a seamless link between online and in-store shopping and shifting wholesale online.
Zara demonstrated one of the first offerings that omnichannel futures could include, by introducing the click-and-collect in-store concept in London. This was introduced as a separate shop in 2018 but is now seen as a feature of the franchise. Also, Uniqlo has installed self-service till points and alteration stands, leading to a seamless and fast customer experience journey and repeat purchase maximization. Many high street shops have now followed, also introducing the option to check beforehand what items were in the shop nearer to you, further simplifying customer experiences. This not only strengthens their digital presence but also drives traffic to their physical stores, helping to fulfill different customer needs by segmenting their approaches to supply, limiting certain products to online or in-store only.
We are all familiar with the buy now, pay later, or pay in installments, idea instilled in our heads via mortgages and credit cards. But this has now expanded to clothing and all types of wholesale.
Klarna was introduced as one of the first firms to allow consumers to pay for products via installment plans rather than paying upfront, which may be off-putting. Since these products aren’t usually as high value as properties or credit card statements, the installments can be split up into as small as $20 over three months for an item that may have been $60, which is more appealing to consumers and leads to higher purchasing power.
After Klarna, many services have followed, such as Afterpay, allowing consumers to purchase and receive products faster than they initially would have without financing.