The Fashion Tech Trends Disrupting the Industry
Fashion and technology are two industries that have been dabbling in each other's fields for the past few years with minimal success. But as a result of retail's fast-paced and uncertain cycles, the fashion industry has decidedly turned to technology to reboot all things style related. This past year the fashion-tech space has seen it all from not-so-chic wearables, to purely ornamental ipads. This year is slated to be a turning point, with retailers looking to refresh antiquated stores and adapt to the new normal expected from eager millennials.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Innovative businesses are chasing personalization to bring a more unique and catered experience to loyal customers. Artificial intelligence is the answer to mass personalization and companies are adopting AI at rapid rates. Artificial intelligence can be used for everything from trend prediction, to customer recommendations and demand projections. Currently chatbots are the most common way that e-commerce is using the technology. These automated sales agents give shoppers access to customer service 24/7, giving the ever-present shopper personalized attention at every step of the conversion process.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is all the rage when it comes to interconnectedness. This facet of fashion tech allows objects to connect to the internet and “communicate” with each other. Brands are using this to build futuristic stores that give real time insights about shoppers that are presently in the store. IoT can also be applied to the garments themselves. For example the startup, Wearable X, designed yoga pants that have woven-in technology that sends vibrations throughout the garment to help perfect the wearer's yoga pose.
Online shopping is practically a sport when it comes to millennials. But many websites have an overwhelming assortment of product, resulting in a very lost shopper. Many startups have found ways to address this pain point in the shopping experience with visual search, rather than keyboard search. This feature allows consumers to snap an item they love and find a similar product on the spot. ASOS recently introduced this feature on its iOS application to make discovery significantly easier.
Virtual Dressing Room
There is nothing more frustrating than ordering that beautiful dress online, only to have it not fit when it arrives in the mail. Countless brands are looking for a solution to the ever-present issue of fit when shopping online. One startup, Body Labs which was recently acquired by Amazon, utilizes an avatar that is developed through a simple iPhone picture and basic measurements to address the fit problem. Although not perfected, the virtual dressing room is the future of ecommerce.
It’s no secret that younger generations are glued to their phones, which makes m-commerce an important trend in the fashion tech space. Frictionless checkout is the keyword here, with businesses attempting to make their shopping experience as mobile friendly as possible. Adoption of m-commerce in Asian countries has been significantly higher than in North America. According to Business of Fashion, 80% of e commerce is done through mobile phones in China, while only 15% of consumers in the US use mobile checkout. However m-commerce is projected to grow significantly with more stores accepting payments such as Apple Pay.