The fashion industry is undergoing significant change at the hands of the digital revolution. That’s not new, and neither are things like artificial intelligence, virtual reality or blockchain as emerging technologies.
At this time of year, the web is inundated with predictions for what lies ahead, especially in the marketing and technology space. These trends remind ourselves of the key things to think about from a digital marketing and tech perspective as you head into the New Year.
1. One-to-one relationships at scale
Personalisation at scale is becoming ever more of a reality thanks to the role that artificial intelligence and machine learning is playing.
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Nascent at this stage (particularly when applied to the fashion and retail space), we’ll see significant uptake next year and beyond, whether that be around driving recommendations, offering natural language search responses or building out more intelligent customer service.
2. Arrival of the bots
For now, AI is largely being applied in the messaging space. Burberry, Nordstrom and Tommy Hilfiger are just some of the fashion brands already experimenting with chatbots – machine-led customer service tools on Facebook Messenger, Kik and the like.
3. Frictionless brick-and-mortar retail
We’re moving into an era where what’s put in store has to recognisably enable a more frictionless style of shopping.
Ever demanding consumers are expecting to get what they want more quickly and easily than ever, especially when it comes to the payment part.
4. Designing for the voice interface
Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Echo device, featuring Alexa, are all playing in this space; the question is, what does this look like for retailers?
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It’s more likely to impact the consumer goods space initially, but fashion brands have an opportunity to experiment and potentially a need to future-proof here too.
5. Digital realities will steam forward
Goldman Sachs theorises retail will be one of the first industries to be disrupted by the two combined, leading to a $1.6 billion market based around 32 million users.
Digital realities are set to help shoppers and businesses alike in numerous new ways, making them a highly relevant tool to explore.
6. Blockchain will become part of business vernacular
As JWT Intelligence wrote: “Blockchain’s transaction ledger is perhaps the most secure tool available today to verify authenticity, a major concern in the luxury goods sector.”
7. Need of a ‘live’ strategy
The result is serious marketing thinking in this space, which will roll forward into the New Year for those looking to gain a competitive lead within social media.
Both Benefit Cosmetics and Primark are worth looking at in the Facebook Live space.
8. A shift to visceral experiences
Adding a ‘third space’, or the idea of services in store that encourage dwell time, is no longer enough.
Success will come to those who push for differentiated experiences to their competitors, with emotional connections playing a significant role.