Tag: Retail

The State of Fashion & Apparel 2019

The State of Fashion & Apparel 2019

The Fashion Industry has been one of the past decade’s best success stories. But according to McKinsey, in partnership with Business of Fashion, 2019 will be a turning point because of digitalization. Success in this fast-paced landscape entails fashion players to evolve as fast as consumers or if possible, even faster.


Traditional brands must not only recognize the shift in the behavior of their consumers, they must also realize that emerging nameless brands are dominating the fashion space. This is because consumers today are more socially aware and are on the lookout for something new. This monumental shift caused a slight dip in industry growth (3.5-4.5%) compared to last year’s. To survive and remain competitive, key fashion players must disrupt their business models and offerings.


Regionally, fashion players recognize the possibility of industry slow down by 2020. Forty-two percent accept the fact that conditions may worsen this year.

However, not all regions are slowing down. The APAC region is emerging with China overtaking the US as the largest fashion market, while India is projected to become the 6th largest apparel market by 2022.

The fashion segments, especially luxury, tell a different story. Ninety-seven percent of economic growth for the whole industry are contributed by only 20 companies. Luxury brands are projected to enjoy above-average growth fueled by the growing APAC economies and increase in global travel.

As for the product category, sportswear continues to be on top followed by handbags and luggage, which can be traced to the increase in global travel.


The fashion industry needs to be more adaptable to catch up with digital consumers, who are no longer satisfied playing the observer role. Liberated by fast-developing digital technologies, they prefer to be participants and interact with brands they admire. Since they favor brands who are taking controversial and political stands for the environment, fashion players must adapt to keep up and stay afloat. A fact not lost on fashion executives and thought leaders who agreed that “the need to achieve greater sustainability and transparency” should be embraced as a strategic challenge.

Overall, the fashion industry is in a state of uncertainty. The reign of top fashion players can end quickly with the slightest shift in market condition, technology trend or consumer behavior. While these changes may present opportunities, it cannot be denied that they also present risks. Only brands who are prepared to brave these shifts and self-disrupt can come out as winners.

Discover more facts and figures in the following infographic:

Why Fashion Retail Should Go Online First

Group of People with Shopping Bags

Looking at global sales figures, retail is still a model of success. However, there has been a massive shift from brick-and-mortar retail to e-commerce. The reason is fairly simple: the fashion industry is focusing on consumer behavior – and consumers are increasingly staying online. Plus, the apparel industry in particular, is currently generating the highest revenues from e-commerce on a global level. So, if a fashion company is aiming for a long-term success, integrating digital channels within the ecosystem is imperative.

Added value is worth it

Fashion brands are given two ways to communicate with their customers: online and offline. Based on this there are endless touch points made to get in contact with consumers. In the digital age, however, the encounter with a brand increasingly takes place online and in most cases long before a purchase actually takes place. This in turn has a profound impact on the way a potential customer searches, finds and evaluates products. The business model must adapt to this changing user behavior in order to be successful. Playing the digital keys consistently and confidently, delivers a whole range of advantages:

  • Scope and customer base are expanding due to online-business. 4.3 billion Internet users thus become potential customers of the clothing industry in one fell swoop.
  • Location, time and mood are not showstoppers for the shopping tour. After work in front of the TV, from the bathtub or simply on the road, consumers can find everything they need without restrictions and can quickly get an overview of availability and pricing.
  • Relevant content can be applied on the web without limit: Next to context-optimized product information, additional content like blogs, videos, reviews, recommendations and more can play a decisive role in creating a convincing product experience; thus forcing a willingness to buy.
  • Multiple touch points facilitate the decision-making as e-commerce is not only a single online shop. Consumers leaving a shop without a purchase? That´s not necessarily the end of the story. You can keep up the awareness and remind them of their product choices throughout different touch points, channels and devices to positively influence their purchase decisions.
  • Social media is key to emotions. Platforms such as Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest influence people´s gut feeling and self-esteem, thus justifying purchase decisions. Also social media is a great opportunity to actively interact and engage with consumers – and to set up a direct relation to a brand’s online shop.
  • Marketplaces like Amazon, Asos or Stylebop allow brands to use powerful additional sales channels to distribute products on a large scale.
  • Knowing your customer is necessary in order to meet their preferences. Online channels allow businesses to track and analyze their customers’ full digital footprint and to convert this knowledge into more targeted communication. The better the resulting customer experience, the more likely consumers will be willing to provide their data – which enables brands to learn even more about them.

Opening up an online flagship store

Those who assume great customer experience is only relevant for in-store shops are very much mistaken. Nowadays, a customer-centric approach is essential for every touch point. Thus, an online shop needs to be much more than just a digitalized catalog. Dealing with a large assortment of products and no opportunity to physically try them out requires innovative approaches to boost product experience. The basics are already set: ordering straight from the branch for home delivery, convenient product returns, and free and fast delivery. Now comes the fun.

Zalando Ecommerce product image

Zalando: Close up images

The fashion industry strives to make in-store customer services available online. The virtual service shows up in different ways: products are shown as closeup images, worn by different models, 3-D animations or in short video clips – to present different perspectives. In order to ensure that customers get the best possible product experience – and to reduce the number of returns – it also comes down to a solution for a helpful size guide. The most innovative ones support them in finding the right fit without the need for a dressing room. To give a few examples: Asos and Thirdlove are using a list of detailed questions to recommend a personalized size, based on individual conditions, as well as previous purchases and experiences. Macy´s gives concrete explanations via video, while Mr. Spex evolves by enabling customers to virtually try on glasses.

Zalando Infographic

Zalando: Same item worn by different models

Pretty little thing catwalk video

Pretty little thing catwalk video


Macy´s Fit Guide für Herren

Macy´s Fit Guide for Man

Mr. Spex: Virtuelle Brillen-Anprobe

Mr. Spex: Try on glasses virtually

Expanded shopping opportunities through individualization

Established brands, with their own chain of stores, are expected to have an online presence. But consumer demands are going much further today. Personalization has become a decisive factor. Customer data, purchase and search behavior – gives reliable conclusions about consumers´ preferences in order to optimize marketing and sales processes. In the long term, this will allow brands and retailers to address individuals with targeted real-time offers – that are relevant and in context.

Technical foundation for your data

Fashion companies will need the right technological infrastructure to achieve this status. Deeply integrated systems allows companies to optimize their communication by integrating data from multiple sources and quickly distributing rich, high-quality product information from a single source across all channels – a major requirement for customer loyalty.

There are numerous software solutions on the market that claim to help solving challenges in marketing products – but to efficiently support online channels, a product information management system would be the core of any digital strategy. As a central repository, a PIM system can help you easily integrate product data from different sources, enrich and localize it, and publish up-to-date product information into connected systems like e-shops, e-fulfillment and content management systems as well as to platforms like Amazon, eBay or Alibaba.

Mobile shopping

Since online shopping becomes more and more a mobile phenomenon this holds another vast chance. Today, almost everything comes together on a mobile device even if it is primarily used for communication – especially via social media. This paves the way for companies to step into their customers´ private life. Thanks to Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, it´s much easier for fashion brands to engage with consumers – an ideal foundation to inspire, inform and incite them. A successful social and mobile strategy goes above and beyond just a simple presence in certain social networks or delivering a mobile app that is just a mobile rendering of their website. Fashion brands are able to connect different touch points – using social media as a sales channel in e-commerce and mobile commerce.

Journey to success

The customer journey does not follow a linear curve but is rather formed individually by a number of touch points. Technological developments are enabling even more to connect online and offline steps to that journey. QR-codes make it possible to call up product information, mobile apps allow easier product search and purchasing, while stores offer pick up same day. Consumers appreciate the comfort-level and differences of online shopping, but they don’t plan to renounce the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. The main challenge for brands is keeping an eye on further innovations to create a cohesive omnichannel shopping experience – with the consumer at the center of all efforts.

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

3 Key Steps to Winning Consumer Trust on the Product Page

Getting consumers to your product page and getting them to purchase your products are two different things. The average ecommerce conversion rate hovers just below the three percent mark. That’s not quite three people out of every 100 visitors to your product pages are purchasing. So, you can’t afford to turn off any would-be buyers and they would be if your pages aren’t relevant enough.

Relevancy is more than a product match with a consumer. Unless you sell a very niche item, your product would also be available from a number of retailers. Anything from a shirt to a car can be bought across hundreds of sites across the web. One of the key pillars to relevancy on the web is trust, which makes a lot of sense since buying something online is somewhat final. (Even the easiest return policies are somewhat tedious, which is a reason why retailers with a strong brick-and-mortar presence tend to have better online performance.)

How do you convince consumers that you are trustworthy when they land on your product page? Below are three time-tested and proven techniques to make trust the key pillar on your product page.

STEP 1: Product Reviews

It should be no surprise that people trust other consumers more than they trust a brand. One survey states that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews prominently displayed on your product pages will give people the peace of mind to make purchases.

What about negative reviews, you might ask? Most consumers are smart enough to realize that not every product is a great fit for everyone. Some people are more vocal than others and sometimes they’ll leave unflattering reviews of your products. Read them and take action, but don’t delete them. A bunch of five-star reviews is just as damaging as having no reviews at all. In fact, 82% of consumers seek out negative feedback only, so if they can’t find it there will be an even greater chance of mistrust.

Your product will speak for itself over time if it’s sold enough, but until then, be thankful for reviews left on your site. Think of them as a little bit of free content marketing from the people that matter most, your customers.

STEP 2: Authentic Photography

The first thing that should come to most product marketers is quality photography. But, quality photography and authentic photography are two different things. How many fast food restaurant commercials have you seen with amazing looking food only to be dismayed when you order the same thing at the restaurant? Those commercials don’t exactly exude trust, do they?

What exudes trust are user-generated content (UGC) like Instagram posts. Because consumers crave authentic photos so much, they take photos themselves to share with their peers via the platform. It became a phenomenon, so a social media agency based in New York gathered and analyzed data, and found out that “Instagram-style”photos increase conversion rate by 25% more than professional product shots.

A professional photographer can make anything look great, and they should, but, consumers expect to get the same thing they see online. If they don’t, and instead got a slightly worse variation, then your product pages will have the same amount of trust as a fast food commercial.

STEP 3: Knowing Your Customer

Perhaps the quickest way to earn trust is to know someone and help them solve a problem. While most products can be found across the web, they’re mostly flashed in front of you as if the product itself is enough reason to buy it. Typically, a person is swayed to spend money on something that solves a problem for them.

How do you know the problem that your customer is trying to solve? That takes persona research and the ability to display variants and suggestions based on who is searching for what. Once you figure out your persona pain points, then you can solve for those and offer your solution on the right touchpoints at the right time. By solving their problem, you’ve gained their trust. Personalization is so effective that according to Accenture, 58% of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that offers items based on their history.

There are many other ways to prove your trustworthiness, but your product page is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Most people aren’t concerned with your corporate messaging and the educational sales funnel that might be set up. When they land on a product page you have a small window to prove that you are worthy of them going through the sales process. That’s done with relevancy, authenticity, and with proof from the people that came before.