Technology

New technologies that are boosting the digitalization of the fashion industry

Sorana Gheorghiade
Sorana Gheorghiade September 15, 2021
New technologies that are boosting the digitalization of the fashion industry

Judging by the looks of it, the increasing shift to digital shopping channels shows no sign of reversing. Marketing managers invest in digital advertising more than ever, in an attempt to replicate the likes of the live fashion experience. From adjustable size guides suitable for all body types to a virtual fit tool that matches your body with the desired product, shopping for clothes online in 2021 makes you feel like you are window shopping on the high streets. Or even better, like you just left your favorite clothing store with a bag full of perfect fits. 

Offering the end-customer the right digital fashion shopping experience implies in, simply put, customization. This article looks into some tips, tricks and examples to boost your online business in the fashion industry and guarantee you’ll offer what customers are looking for. Some might say it’s a digital transformation guide for the world of fashion retail, but we have already told you about that.

Fashion retail 101

The move to digital seems here to stay and likely to increase. Retailers need to keep innovating in the digital space in order to close the growing gap between the digital shopping experiences consumers are looking for and what merchants are prioritizing. Besides a list of must-haves for a successful online fashion operation, the retailer should also take into account the fact that customers’ purchase expectations have never been higher than they are today.

Before we dive into the depths of fashion retail ecommerce and its finest examples, one should reiterate some basic traits:

User experience

To make it easier for the shopper, the user experience should be the business owner’s best friend. Defining the categories tree as well as all products’ attributes is a crucial step that should be planned with extreme care. 

Always go for well planned and segmented menus, coupled with an advanced internal search engine that allows the refinement of the searched term through facets and filters. This improves the assertiveness in finding the desired product. This usually translates into a shorter path to purchase and an increase in the conversion rate.

Product pages and other strategies

Second to the user experience comes delivering a flawless product page and closely after, cross-selling and up-selling. Content-wise, the shopper is always happy to see a well-over product page built following the best SEO practices, fast-loading with easy and fluid navigation, with high-quality detailed photographs, clear and accurate information. 

Cross-selling and up-selling are the suggestions of matching tops you get while looking for a pair of jeans and respectively, a more pricey alternative to those jeans you’ve found. If one masters these in their online business, then they have a gold mine. This is the way for customers to see the added value that those tools bring and increase the retailer’s AOV. 

Powerful product experience in ecommerce

Without going as far as the social promotion part, the ‘add to cart’ stage or the almighty checkout, those are the primary boxes to check for a reasonable online business in fashion and not only. But while the grocery industry does not leave much room for maneuver, hitting the jackpot of the digital fashion shopping experience is a true work of art. Meant to fit your ecommerce needs rather than your feet, bust or hips, the website should aim for retrieving to the shopper a real brand experience, with looks and feels.   

Take, for example, Grupo Soma. It uses video previews to create a runway experience by developing product pages with movement and sound through dynamic banners. A study done by the Institute of Quality Development Strategy in China explored the impacts of short video displays on consumers’ perceptions of quality in an online shopping context. The results show that short videos can make consumers have better perceptions of quality. 

Another remedy to the shortcomings of online shopping is the live shopping experience: It would connect an online livestream broadcast to a digital store, permitting participants to simultaneously watch products being presented and actually buy them. Find out all about this innovative trend in our latest article

As long as your ecommerce platform is flexible, scalable and customizable, like the ones VTEX builds on Amazon Web Services, you can make of your marketplace or B2C model whatever you please. Dynamic banners and creative call-to-action ads are a few other examples of visuals that can enrich your front-end and catch the attention of the customer. 

A size guide for retailers

Nonetheless, the interactive shopping experience doesn’t stop here. If you changed your prescription glasses during the past year, you probably know that you can virtually try on any model you want using just a face filter. Following the same thread, size guides have gone beyond translating shoe sizes EU/FR/US/IT or measuring your waist to see if you’re a medium or a large. Businesses now have the so-called ‘virtual try on’. It’s a tad of a longer process now but way more accurate: The customer gives information about size in other brands, preferred fit and previous experience with similar products to later find out the most suitable size of that particular piece or brand.

Also, in the fashion industry, high return rates can often be traced directly to sizing issues. And we know how inefficient that is for the customer, the retailer, and the environment. The majority of returns for ecommerce apparel items are due to the customer not being satisfied with the fit. But of course, there’s a solution for this already. This try-on technology replicates the experience customers have with products in-store by projecting the clothes on their figure and showing the entire outfits as worn by the customer on the screen. 

All things considered, the digital fashion shopping experience has diversified a lot in the past few years and yet its developers still have a lot to learn, not about the technology as much as how to satisfy the customer. A unique characteristic of online shopping environments is that they allow vendors to create retail interfaces with highly interactive features.

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