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 should act to “maximize its technological resources.” Image: Photography Link/Getty Images

JThe 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 rise of the metaverse. And that’s just the beginning. A new report shows 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 key axes.

2020 was a pivotal year for 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, changing the buying and interacting habits of consumers, who focus more on social networks, games and new virtual worlds. . And major players in the fashion industry, in all segments from fast fashion to luxury, are taking note and multiplying projects and initiatives based on technological innovation. Online shopping, live shopping, NFTs, digital fashion and virtual try-ons have marked the shopping behavior of customers of many brands and fashion houses. Fashion brands even experimented – perhaps prematurely – with the possibilities offered by the first Metaverse Fashion Week last March.

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

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 should act to “maximize its technological resources.” The metaverse, via NFTs and digital fashion, tops the list, but the analysis highlights an important point: “The marketing value of digital fashion and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be clear by now, but fashion brands will have concrete opportunity from hype to generate sustainable revenue streams.”

As brands storm into these worlds with a seemingly endless stream of initiatives to win over young consumers, several studies show that this target group is not yet fully convinced. The goal for brands is to focus on initiatives that make a difference. “Fashion companies focusing on metaverse innovation and commercialization could generate more than 5% of virtual company revenue in the next two to five years. However, the job of decision makers will be to focus on specific opportunities.”

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

Technology will also have to be put more at the service of more sustainable and transparent fashion, in order to respond to the more demanding consumers in this area. “Tracking systems powered by traceability software and big data will help fashion brands penetrate deep into their supply chains to understand the full lifecycle of their products.”

Be it creativity, craftsmanship, sustainability or the shopping experience, technology will be an integral part of the consumer fashion shopping process in the not-too-distant future. The question now is how brands are going to put them into practice.

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