For most of us, a new year signifies a new, promising start. Whether that’s a new diet, ceasing old habits or even starting up new (and better!) ones, it’s a fantastic time to take stock and assess what aspects of our lives to ditch and what to keep.
It’s no different for the fashion industry either; whilst seasonal trends and product collections might be planned months, if not years, ahead, the new year still provides a great opportunity to review what processes to bring forward and what to change and evolve. And whilst we might have seen what SS20 trends have already hit the catwalks, what technology trends are set to rise over the next 12 months and what can fashion retailers be doing now to effectively respond?
Here at OMIO PIM, we gazed into our retail crystal ball to see what digital marketplace trends your brand needs to know about now.
Social Sell Outs: Expanding Social Media Selling
In China, the astronomical growth of WeChat is setting an exciting precedent for Western ecommerce. The concept behind it is that WeChat, China’s most popular social network, builds “mini-programs” on top of its existing infrastructure, and this allows users to do anything from buying a new top, getting film tickets or completing their weekly food shop: crucially, all without leaving the app.
Of the 2.3 million mini-programs on the market, 18% are dedicated to ecommerce, meaning that the opportunities for fashion retailers are immense. With Instagram now offering a similar selling system, the popularity of browsing and buying an item, all without leaving the same app, not only makes the customer experience frictionless, but it feeds into the short-lived Gen Z attention span, nurturing the “see it, want it, buy it” aspect of their generation’s behaviour. Ensuring that your products are available for customers to snap up in just a few clicks will be the shopping experience of the immediate future.
Back (office) to the Future
Part of a joined-up customer experience is ensuring that you have the right product and the right information in place: without this, the whole system crumbles. With this in mind, back office technology will be a huge priority for retailers in 2020, as they have to ensure that their systems support a complete customer journey. There’s no point if you’ve implemented an exciting new digital selling channel, perhaps through Instagram, if your stock isn’t in the right place or if the product information is all wrong.
Systems such as stock pool management, warehouse management systems and PIM systems such as OMIO PIM will prove to be essential to make sure that the correct and relevant product data is there to support a cohesive customer experience. Not only this, but these systems also help fashion retailers in future-proofing their selling strategy, both for physical and online trading, with more product selling at full-price. OMIO PIM has in-built connector technology which will enable retailers to expand their presence on digital marketplaces with ease.
Join up the Dots: in-store and online behaviour becomes one
Omnichannel retailing is certainly nothing new. But a joined-up journey across all selling channels – both digital and physical – has been a retail tech trend that just refuses to go away. Rising in importance, customers don’t see bricks-and-mortar and digital marketplaces as two separate concepts; instead, they’re every bit linked from a brand’s social media pages to their email campaigns, no matter whether the brand’s products are being sold via own-brand channels or through wholesale or partner stores/sites.
The movement between physical and digital must be a cohesive, joined-up process. Much like skinny jeans, it’s also a trend that has been around for a long time, but that is also showing no signs of disappearing any time soon, despite what other trends or styles might be out there. In 2020, retailers have been given another opportunity to join the dots together and, in doing so, will offer their customer the best possible experience.
The Future is Bright?
2019 has proved itself to be a cruel master to the retail industry. With a new year comes new hope that positive change might be on the horizon. Whilst some could argue that rocky trading environments are a time to batten down the hatches, another argument is the importance in investing in the infrastructure to take your technology to the new decade – and beyond.