The fashion industry – from your department store to your luxury boutique –
is undergoing significant change at the hands of the digital revolution. That’s
not new in concept. Neither, mind you, is talking about things like artificial
intelligence, virtual reality or blockchain as emerging technologies.
Put those two together however, and things start getting interesting. Broad
business adoption of machine learning (for instance) is one thing, but in the
context of the impact that then has on shopping, we start to be able to see what
the future might look like.
At this time of year, the web is inundated with predictions for what lies
ahead, especially in the marketing and technology space. Yet, at a point when
consumers are not only more demanding than ever, but market conditions are
increasingly volatile, keeping abreast of such movements has also never been so
This isn’t a list that pushes the likes of mobile or omnichannel strategy, no
matter how far off retailers actually are from achieving the latter
particularly, nor is it a focus on areas including the fashion week cycle or
sustainability, despite how important these are to shifting business strategy.
Rather it's an opportunity to remind yourself of some of the key things to think
about from a digital marketing and tech perspective as you head into the New
Year. If 2016 is anything to go by, it’s set to be an interesting one...
Personalization at scale is becoming ever more of a reality thanks to the
role that artificial intelligence and machine learning is playing. Nascent at
this stage (particularly when applied to the fashion and retail space), we’ll
see significant uptake next year and beyond, whether that be around driving
recommendations, offering natural language search responses or building out more
intelligent customer service. The outcome, in theory, is the idea of returning
to the store of yesteryear, where the owners knew every shopper on a one-to-one
basis. This time, it’s not only at scale, but constantly learning so as to keep
improving the experience. It also comes with significant value exchange attached
for the shopper, both online and in the real world. The nuance that goes into
fashion selection makes this one of the harder areas to play in, but the company
that figures out how to tie that together with personal data on a shopping
level, is in for a win.