As ever, fashion in 2018 will be fast-moving. And just as en vogue styles change according to new trends, your fashion content strategy needs to adapt as well.
In 2018 advances in artificial intelligence (AI), shoppable content, and online micro-moments will see the cutting-edge fashion industry adapt to the digital revolution.
Here’s what to expect in 2018:
AI ahead of the trends
Artificial intelligence isn’t just for cars and video games — it’s creeping into the fashion realm as well. And in this deeply personalised industry, it addresses needs for consumers as well as companies that humans simply cannot.
For customers, AI can play the role of a personal shopper. By looking at someone’s previous purchases, browsing history, and current interests, it can find exactly the piece you’re looking for to complete an outfit. And, AI learns as it goes. So, if you reject an option it’s found, it knows better next time.
For companies, AI has the ability to look at mass amounts of data and derive real-time solutions. For instance, it can crawl e-commerce sites to analyse what colours, styles, and materials are selling based on countries, age groups, and even cities. Companies can then discover trends before they become mainstream, and further, customise their inventory based on location and market.
AI will also help companies keep track of their inventory by deducing which products and how much of them will sell based on what the customer base is currently looking for. This allows brands to purchase only what is necessary, without the guesswork. Long-term, this means fewer mark-downs, waste, and sell-outs of popular products, which helps companies gauge profit margins and maximise revenue.
Customer service via social media and chatbots
In 2016, 87% of shoppers said that sales associates influence their in-store purchases, yet this personal service is still lacking online.
Another one for AI to tackle may be chatbots that pop up and react in real time with customers online or in fashion apps. Tommy Hilfiger already has one in operation on Facebook, as does Burberry and TK Maxx, and it’s sure others will follow.
Meanwhile, consumers continue to turn to social media for customer service help. Fashion brands need to be present to answer the queries and address the problems of these audiences.
They can even use social media to personalise their service.
Warby Parker does an excellent job of this. After customers receive their free trial pairs of glasses, Warby Parker encourages them to use the hashtag #HomeTryOn to get the opinion of their service representatives. The benefit is two-fold: customers feel they’re getting personalised service, while sales representatives have the opportunity to upsell them on products.
Making all content shoppable content
Static content will soon be so 2017. As platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook add click-to-buy options and interactive blogs and ebooks now allow shoppable content via images and links, you’ll be hardpressed to find items you can’t buy right then-and-there.
Shoppable content removes traditional obstacles to purchasing by simplifying the product. You like something? You click it and it’s yours.
Several brands are already using this type of content. ASOS has actually combined their user-generated content with shoppable moments. Users can tag their photos with #AsSeenOnMe and get featured on the ASOS website. As visitors browse the looks, they are able to click on the pieces they like and add them to their basket.
The ability to search any query at any moment is changing customer and brand interactions. Think with Google defines these customer touchpoints as those highly critical and evaluative moments where customers expect brands to cater their needs with reliable information, regardless of the time and location.
Capitalising on these impulsive, curiosity-driven moments secures a consumer’s trust that a brand can fill their needs. These moments happen on the train, at home, and — for fashion brands — when customers are in-store.
For instance, if a customer finds a top in-store, but doesn’t see it in the right colour, a quick search can get them to the right item in an instant… it’s up to the brand, now, to make that moment count by providing the correct item, information, and outlet for purchasing it.