Business for Fashion published the ten trends that will shape 2017. We will share one trend every week, read the complete article here
4. Shrewder shoppers
In 2017 consumer needs and behaviours will likely become more sophisticated, more technology-driven and harder to predict than ever, with fashion companies striving to keep up.
Today’s consumers are “always on” — better informed, better connected to others, more demanding and more conscious of values and authenticity — and yet perhaps more unpredictable. This is a new consumer altogether who chooses to blend elements from different brands and designers, and shops more broadly than was common in the past. The driving forces behind their behavioural changes are the availability of information and accessibility of brands, as well as the desire for personalisation and connection to deep-rooted values. With brand promiscuity on the rise and more consumers inclined to shop across market segments, the market is becoming increasingly complex for brands that have relied on traditionally loyal consumers buying from a particular segment of products.
The changing competitive landscape — more brands, more channels, more retailers — should further amplify the complexity of the consumer. Brands will likely need to rethink the future of the store and focus on a customer-experience redesign, particularly by leveraging the omnichannel consumer decision journey to create a seamless consumer experience. This may take the form of stores being reshaped to resemble the online experience more closely, or amplifying the mobile and digital connections available in-store, and introducing the notion of community-based retail.
As consumers engage with technology to enhance their shopping behaviour, brands can leverage this to their advantage and further gain insights into their consumers. Investment in CRM is crucial for 2017. More than ever, fashion brands need to have a global view of their consumers in order to understand what they want, what they like, what they don’t like and where and how they shop. Consumers have so many choices that fashion companies need to leverage the information they have to segment and then segment again. Emerging brands have been founded on the realisation that there are many untapped consumers for whom today’s fashion brands fail to cater. These emerging brands, such as Olivia von Halle, Cambridge Satchel Company, Mansur Gavriel and Common Projects, are scaling up niche businesses through best-in-class or best-in-category strategies, or building a business on the strength of a single best-selling product.
At the same time, new technologies are coming online, often with the promise of opening new sorts of connections with consumers. Virtual reality is a big theme, with some companies rolling out immersive fashion show access, while others are developing mobile payments infrastructure, such as Alibaba’s VR pay, which aims to allow customers to purchase items with simply the nod of a head for those connected to a brand show. The winners of 2017 will probably be those companies that invest in the right technology to help them understand and serve their consumers and tap into their currently unmet needs.