Forbes India – Metaverse, Connected Stores, Traceability: Technology Embedded in Fashion Transformation

In their “State of Fashion Technology” report, McKinsey and The Business of Fashion outlined areas where the fashion industry needs to act in order to “maximize its technological resources”. Image: FotografieLink / Getty Images

Jhe pandemic has accelerated the digital shift in the fashion industry, with the rise of online shopping, virtual fittings and fittings, even social shopping as well as the emergence of the metaverse. And that’s only the beginning. A new report reveals that fashion players will double their investments in technology by 2030 to optimize the customer experience and respond to the challenges of climate change, with personalization, connected stores, new digital worlds and sustainability as main axes.

2020 has been a pivotal year in terms of digital engagement. The pandemic has had a major impact on the time spent in front of screens, which has increased sharply, especially among the youngest, transforming the buying and interaction habits of consumers, who are turning more to social networks, games and new virtual worlds. And key players in the fashion industry, in all segments, from fast fashion to luxury, are taking note, multiplying projects and initiatives based on technological innovation. Online shopping, live shopping, NFTs, digital fashion and virtual try-ons have marked the shopping habits of customers of many brands and fashion houses. Fashion brands even experimented – perhaps a little prematurely – with the possibilities offered by the first Metaverse Fashion Week last March.

While these transformations already appear to represent significant shifts in the industry landscape, they may just be the precursor to a true fashion revolution, as a report by McKinsey and The Business of Fashion suggests. Fashion companies are expected to invest significant, if not record, amounts in technology in the near future, rising from around 1.6-1.8% of revenue in 2021 to 3.0-3.5% in 2030, almost doubling in less than a decade. These figures highlight how important it is for brands to integrate technological innovations, starting with artificial intelligence, to help “support sustainability, as well as create an exceptional customer experience”, underlines the report.

Embedding digital processes, personalization and sustainability

In their “State of Fashion Technology” report, McKinsey and The Business of Fashion outlined areas where the fashion industry needs to act in order to “maximize its technological resources”. The metaverse, through NFTs and digital fashion, tops the list, but the analysis emphasizes an important point: “The marketing value of digital fashion and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may now be clear. , but fashion brands will need to separate concrete opportunity from hype to generate sustainable revenue streams.”

While brands are rushing into these universes with a seemingly never-ending stream of initiatives to win over young consumers, several surveys show that this demographic is not yet fully convinced. The goal for brands will be to target initiatives that will make a difference. “Fashion companies focused on metaverse innovation and commercialization could generate more than 5% of virtual business revenue over the next two to five years. The task of decision makers, however, will be to focus on specific opportunities.”

It could also go through an increasingly personalized experience, using artificial intelligence in particular to improve the relationship between brands and their customers, and to build their loyalty. It could start with online shopping, but would continue, according to the report, in stores with the aim of offering increasingly connected physical places. “Fashion executives can solve consumer pain points by using in-store mobile apps to improve the in-store experience and micro-execution technologies to leverage the store in the age of fast commerce,” experts say . The general idea being to reduce the gap between physical and virtual stores, and to make them complementary.

Technology will also have to be put more at the service of more sustainable and transparent fashion, in response to more demanding consumers on these issues. “Traceability systems powered by traceability software and big data will help fashion brands penetrate deep into their supply chains to understand the entire lifecycle of their products.”

Whether dedicated to creativity, craftsmanship, sustainability or the shopping experience, technology will be an integral part of consumers’ fashion shopping process in the not-too-distant future. The question now is how brands will put them into practice.

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