Thefashion industry is known for its creativity. Its most influential designers are known for their crazy ideas, rapidly changing styles, and cut throat competition. Most industries never experience that kind of volatility. There are a few areas, however, where fashion has remainedlargely undisturbed, which has created small degrees of stagnation and consumer dissatisfaction. The following are 3 trends that are quickly disrupting the industry, and saving it from stalled innovation.
Crowdsourced design is a growing trend in different segments of the fashion industry. It takes many forms, but the basic idea is that companies, designers, and consumerswork togetherto collectively curate designs that eventually make it to the finished product stage. Designers are latching on to the concept because it highlights individual brand stories. Industry experts are buying in because popular styles can be identified through consumer participation, reducing the risk of unprofitable designs making it through the production pipeline.
Ryan Kang, CEO and Co-Founder ofROOY, an online footwear creation platform, explains how crowdsourced design can change an industry, “Crowdsourced design is a movement that is allowing brands to create new and authentic content. The aim is to create collaborative projects with a clear story that consumers can get behind.” Providing content and context is one of the best ways to gain the support of millennial consumers, whichCensus dataplaces as the largest consumer group in history.
Another important factor to consider behind the growing popularity of crowdsourced design, especially for the footwear industry, rests in the barriers that it helps eliminate for designers. Kang explains, “The three major obstacles that prevent footwear designers from taking a concept to production are physical construction, manufacturing capability, and marketing the brand. Consolidating these capacities into one creation platform is helping empower designers who previously wouldn’t have been able to bring a concept to the product phase, let alone selling it to a large base of consumers.”
By eliminating barriers for designers, companies like ROOY are tapping into more highly engaged consumer groups that already have a significant degree of brand loyalty to the individual designers. The consumer also gains access to product concepts that were previously unrealized, making crowdsourced design an ideal platform to increase consumer influence over product development.
Big Data for Fashion
The fashion industry has been one dominated by a small number of savants who tell the rest of the world what they should buy. A growing number of designers and retailers, tired of having to sell surplus clothing at steep discounts, are catching on to the usefulness of big data for fashion. Astudyby McKinsey found that data savvy retailers have the potential to increase operating margin by more than 60 percent.
Major players in the industry are beginning to restructure their efforts to integrate data into decision making. Nordstrom, a giant in the fashion industry, is one. Chief Information Officer at Nordstrom, Dan Little, explains, “We are positioning our technology organization to better support our long-term growth plans.” This also came with the announcement of a new Chief Technology Officer, after the downsizing of their Innovation Lab and multiple store closures.
There have also been a number of data companies emerging that provide information services specifically for fashion and retail. EDITD CEO Geoff Wattssharedwhy retailers are beginning to leverage this kind of data, “We can reverse engineer discount cycles and promo cycles across the whole industry.” Avoiding discounts means higher profits and streamlined operations. Consumers might be disappointed that big data could eliminate the clearance rack, but it is clear that more retailers will be using data to better plan their product offers.
More and more industry experts are catching on to the importance of technology in fashion. One area that is causing the industry to pivot is mobile technology. Barkley’sAmerican Millennial Reportshows that 50 percent of millennials use smartphones to research products online before making a purchasing decision.
Another significant trend being driven by the collision of traditional retail and fashion tech is Omnichannel retail. As fashion tech grows in importance, one might speculate that brick and mortar retail would disappear. Data indicates otherwise. AnIBM studyon the impact of omnichannel in retail found that brick-and-mortar stores have conversion rates of 20 percent versus 4.8 percent for retailers that only exist online. This means that fashion tech and mobile options are helping improve brick-and-mortar experiences by adding valuable context for consumers before they make it to the store.
As these trends change the face of the fashion industry, it will be important for designers, brands, and consumers to stay closer to one another than ever before. Technology is enabling this sort of interaction in unprecedented ways and brands are continuing to think of new ways to create these touchpoints with consumers. The result will be a leaner industry, with more engaged customers, and less waste from unsuccessful product lines.
PUBLISHED ON: DEC 10, 2016
PUBLISHED ON: DEC 10, 2016
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New Technologies Allow You to Do Business (and Compete) From Anywhere
Storage, collaboration, finance, conferencing, and e-commerce solutions for growing businesses.
Everyone knows just how much of an impact technology has had on global business, but if there’s one segment that has benefited the most from technological innovation it’s entrepreneurs. With mobile phones, cloud computing, do-it-yourself accounting software and ubiquitous connectivity, business owners can now create successful companies quickly and from anywhere.
However, with so much technology out there, it can be hard to know what programs and tools are essential for getting a company off the ground and growing. There are some must-haves, though, including these five types of tech.
Super-Size Your Storage
In today’s world, most budding businesses need far more storage than their computers can provide. Things like high-resolutions photos, data-heavy PowerPoints and an endless stream of documents will max out CPU storage in no time. Fortunately, cloud-based companies like Dropbox, Box, Apple and Google offer several terabytes of data for a reasonable monthly cost. These programs also make collaboration easier as you can quickly share files and folders with contractors and employees. Thanks to these storage sites that many small companies can create a global workforce from the start.
Keep Up With Collaboration
Whether you’re in an office or have a remote workforce located in different cities, being able to collaborate and connect with staffers quickly is a must. Over the last few years, sites like Slack, Basecamp, Trello and others have revolutionized the way small business employees interact with one another. Forget e-mail–you can now send messages to individuals or teams in an instant, you can work together, in real-time, on complex projects, and you can even build camaraderie by creating “channels” dedicated to more social communication. Messages and files are also easily searchable, making it difficult to lose something important.
Crunch The Numbers
As excited you may be about your brilliant idea, you still need to run a business. That means keeping receipts, adding up bills, doing taxes and other more mundane work. While it may still be a good idea to have an accountant nearby, technology can, and should, take care of most of this work. Quicken, the classic accounting software, is still popular for tax work, but other programs like Wave Accounting, Xero and Zoho Books come with a variety of features like invoicing, payroll, bill payments and other mission critical applications and fall well within the budgets of most small businesses.
Show Your Face
Instant messaging and email only goes so far. In many cases, you still want to see clients or employees face-to-face–maybe you have to walk them through a presentation or just want to catch up. That’s why having a good video program is critical for small businesses today. You’ll want to find software that allows you hold meetings with multiple participants, share files with people on a call and you may want to be able to record conferences for future viewing. Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, Zoom.us and GoToMeeting are just some of the popular video conferencing sites to choose from. While it may not be quite as good as a face-to-face meeting, it saves a fortune in travel costs and wear and tear.
Set Up A Store
There was once a time when creating a consumer-focused e-commerce website was a painstaking process. Now, though, sites like Shopify and Tictail let even the smallest companies create sleek websites with all the e-commerce fixings. Companies like these have been a boon to entrepreneurs–they let users create online shops in snap and take a variety of payment options, such as credit card and PayPal, so that every potential customer can buy what you’re selling. It only takes a few hours to get a store up and running and turn your company into a potentially global business.
While there are plenty of other useful technologies out there–security software, customer relationship management programs and so on–incorporate these five tools into your budding business and you could find yourself ahead of the competition in no time.