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BW Businessworld

Fashion Retail Sector Can Fight The Covid-Hit Economic Slowdown With Technology

The positive takeaway for brands from the tech sector is that e-commerce and artificial intelligence (AI) can help the apparel industry quarterback to a better position.

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The Coronavirus pandemic has left everyone reeling from its ramifications. The catastrophe has wreaked havoc on every sector of the economy and fashion retail is no different. The apparel industry was on an upward trajectory before Covid-19 disrupted it tragically. On top of this, the whole world switched to working from home in light of the social distancing norms, eliminating the need or desire to purchase clothes for work, conferences, meetings, date nights, reunions, get-togethers, parties, or after-work drinks.  

Steadily growing in the past few years, the fashion e-commerce market accounted for $371 billion or nearly 21% of retail sales from apparel globally in 2019. But the precariousness of Covid-19 is forcing brands to engage and experiment with advanced immersive technologies. With the world observing self-isolation and lockdown measures, brands are having to digitize even faster to stay afloat and survive the crisis; to lock in customers, manufacturers, and designers; and to redesign supply chain operations. Therefore, the positive takeaway for brands from the tech sector is that e-commerce and artificial intelligence (AI) can help the apparel industry quarterback to a better position.

How Tech Can Help Fashion Weather the Covid-19 Storm

Lockdown norms have accelerated the shift from offline to online retail, and now more than ever, brands need to focus on creating digital experiences that extend similar levels of discovery, inspiration, and customer service as in-store shopping. Consumers want to continue shopping but at the same time feel safe doing that. And these consumer demands are going to be fuelled further by prolonged store closures and restrictions, especially impacting the fashion industry in the times to come. Hence, without any more delay, fashion retailers and brands need to invest in technologies that can transfer the in-store shopping experience to the online space.

Bridging the gap between online and retail store through Virtual store concept

The retail industry can transform the shopping experience by creating new customer experiences that are memorable and unique. Businesses are differentiating themselves through technological hybridizations to appeal to their consumers in innovative ways. This will empower the customer to the purchase sitting right from their comfort yet they can get the feel of the retail store. 

The Virtual store will let the users get the feel of walking around the store and Try-On their favorite products to check the fitment and to check themselves out, whether it suits them. And further, on one click they get the complete product information which can help the customers purchase the product.

Replacing trial rooms with Smart Mirrors

Smart mirrors will have to be made as part of stores instead of trial rooms, as they are an inevitable component when purchasing apparel. A smart mirror is a touch-free device that is likely to emerge as a popular trend in the near future because people will remain socially distant even after Covid-19 fades. Smart mirrors provide a 360-degree view of how a garment looks on a person without having to actually try the clothing.  

Smart Mirrors will remove the fear in the minds of the consumers and give them enough confidence to step into the retail store to make a purchase. 

In addition, going forward, consumers will look for new ways in which technology can simplify their lives and be highly user-friendly. Here, AR and VR will play an integral role. Augmented reality systems can help customers browse a fashion retailer’s online page, watch the virtual catalog, select the clothing they want to try on, and superimpose that piece of apparel onto the customer’s body. VR can offer virtual tours and 3D modeling of apparel items, revolutionizing the customer’s shopping experience. The captivating and interactive features that the technology offers can help users find the intended products anywhere, anytime.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are set to completely transform the shopping experience and change the market in the same way, the internet did.

Summing Up 

To tide over the prevailing crisis, fashion retail needs an overhaul. But every adversity has a silver lining to it. Businesses can take this opportunity to embrace digitization and overcome the challenges posed to their survival. The more retail companies seek clarity and adopt the latest technologies, the closer they will be to regaining the previous status quo and providing improved experiences to customers. 


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
Fashion tech KiksAR pandemic impact Tech trends 2020

Kavita Jha

The Author is the founder of KiKsAR

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