written by Alexander Otto
FASHION RETAIL 2022 – THREE TRENDS, THREE PREDICTIONS
The fashion industry is still dealing with all the effects and challenges of the pandemic – it has been a 26 month state of emergency that has left its mark on retail in general. However, this particular industry seems to be one of those segments that at least dealt with those challenges rather quickly. Digitalization was well underway in the pre-covid world and has rapidly accelerated since. Fashion retail, by design, is faster, more diverse and also more easily adaptable than other industries. Many processes and even whole business models have been turned upside down; there is still, and will be, a lot more to resolve. And, to be honest at this point, there is still a significant amount of work left to do. But there are three major trends currently being talked about which show the continued willingness and readiness of fashion retail players.
1.Direct-to-consumer steps out of its niche status and becomes the standard setup for fashion retail
One could say: DTC is the key – to success, to a future orientated business model, to the future of commerce per se. Easy to say, because you hear this buzz everywhere in the fashion industry: Good riddance, wholesale, we don’t need you anymore. But where are we really in this business model transformation?
Marcel Brindöpke, Managing Director of heyconnect, states it very clearly: “DTC is not an option for fashion brands. It is a mandatory prerequisite to stay in business. To rely on retail partners is not possible anymore. Fashion DTC lived in the niche due to a lack of knowledge, skills and recognized necessity. But covid lifted the curtain forever and finally changed the game. Brands now must obey these new rules. Not only to survive, but also take the chance to prevail.”
Marcel Brindöpke, Managing Director of heyconnect
2.Headless e-commerce as an accelerator for agility and flexibility
Shopify and Salesforce have paved the way for this authentic tech revolution. The backend and frontend of a shop system are becoming increasingly decoupled, letting developers have the chance to modify and deploy updates without interfering with the customer’s user experience. This is the real precondition for a dynamic device landscape beyond the “computer”. Right now, voice commerce, social shopping and smart watch functionalities are made possible with a headless e-commerce approach. But this is not only a tech topic.. Ryan Mullins, CEO of Aglet, sees a broader scope in the fact that consumers aim to find new ways to connect to brands: “Commerce and brand relationships become ubiquitous. I’ve said for many years now that gaming is eating the world. Not because we play more games, that’s obviously true, but more so, that the mechanics of gaming and immersive experiences become the focus. You’re playing in the space of the brand. So brands will likely find new means to engage with consumers and fans decoupled from standard and traditional commerce.” Headless e-commerce combines classic retail with the new world of real genuine digital commerce – a story that will unfold its true power in a couple of years.
Centre: Ryan Mullins, CEO of Aglet
3.Hybrid commerce has trickled down – omnichannel model finally touches nearly everyone in the business
Buzzwords like hybrid commerce or omnichannel have made their way through the industry for years now. The saying was (and is): brands and retailers need to play multi or omni to survive. Theory has become reality, fashion retail has faced the biggest transformation in its history and is now able to play with technical and logistics innovations that were hardly imaginable five years ago. Now, even small brands have easier access to those technologies or initiatives. We will witness a never before seen set of tools that brands and retailers can play with this year. Felix Jahn, Director eCommerce & Digital at s.Oliver Group, agrees, however, he adds another very important aspect: “Omnichannel commerce is less technology- but people-driven. That’s the key to success. Tools are enablers or roadblockers, but people management decides about the ultimate outcome and success. Especially people working for smaller brands at a POS for example must understand the tools and, yes, love to play with it. Fashion industry has made a big leap forward in the past two years. Many initiatives showed great results when deployed reasonably, like click & collect, microwarehousing or packing terminals at POS for instance. It’s up to the people to properly utilise tech for this brave new world of retail we all dream of.”
Centre:Felix Jahn Director eCommerce // Digital at s.Oliver Group
These three major trends are above many that will massively influence fashion retail this year and for many to come. Because the transformation has only just begun.
Written by Alexander Otto
Find more trends and topics in the ECD expert interviews.