In the age of e-commerce, on-demand retail, and virtually endless customization, the way in which products are manufactured, marketed and sold has changed drastically from the “traditional” retail model. There are few industries in which this is more apparent than fashion.
In today’s fashion space, the customer has more power and influence over product lines and design than ever before. This power and influence is wielded through purchasing trendy pieces, as well as online reviews and other forums for feedback within the digital marketplace. But most importantly, customers’ demands of the fashion industry are conveyed through money and the dollars they spend on the actual product.
In today’s dynamic and highly-saturated fashion space, it is imperative that brands keep pace with customers’ preferences and demands in order to retain said customers’ business. In this post, we will examine the three key ways in which today’s consumer is shaping the modern fashion industry.
First things first – before delving into how customers are determining the direction of the fashion industry, it is important to examine some of the key characteristics of the modern fashion industry.
Historically, the fashion industry was ruled by a handful of well-established brands, which were in turn carried by a handful of well-established retailers. These days are long gone. While some of the biggest and oldest names in the industry still occupy a glamorous and respected seat atop the fashion world, the barrier to entry for labels and brands is much lower than it once was.
Thanks to the platforms afforded them by the Internet and digital and social media, companies with a vision can secure funding, find an audience and market their designs and products to a global audience –creating a successful brand from virtually nothing. Naturally, if fashion is more accessible, the industry has become much more crowded and the competition far fiercer.
Demand for Personalization
Personalization is important to today’s consumer. With access to seemingly endless information via the Internet, consumers are well-informed and interested in supporting companies that reflect their style and personality.
This need for personalized goods is not just limited to the product itself, the actual shopping and purchasing experience must also be customized and personalized. Whether it’s personalized marketing and digital content, or suggested outfits and related products within a shopper’s online shopping bag or product queue, today’s fashion consumer expects companies to understand his or her style and cater to their needs.
Demand for Sustainability
While the modern fashion consumer is drawn to companies that reflect his or her style and personality, they are often equally interested in brands that reflect their values and beliefs. Often at the top of the list of values is sustainability and a commitment to environmentally friendly materials and practices.
For many companies in the fashion industry, sustainable practices and processes represent a significant shift – both culturally and operationally. But in order to remain relevant and appeal to the environmentally-conscious customer of 2019, companies must focus on sustainability.
Demand for Quality and the Demise of Brand Loyalty
In this crowded fashion space, consumers have options. Where customers were once limited to a handful of labels and often remained loyal to one or two particular brands, today a multitude of options exist; each jockeying for the same customers in order to gain market share.
As a result, the quality of the product, as well as the quality of the shopping experience, are critical considerations for fashion retailers. Failure in these key areas is likely to result in the loss of patronage and the associated revenue. Furthermore, in the digital marketplace, poor quality and customer experiences will be shared widely through reviews and comments, which can in turn impact the brand’s reputation and the consumer’s perception of the product.
The bottom line
Today’s customers demand more from the fashion industry. Gerber’s on-demand solutions, which includes the GERBERZ1, AccuMark, AccuMark 3D AccuPlanTM and YuniquePLM provides end-to-end automated fashion production to allow you to meet your client’s demands and remain competitive in the digital age.