The Problem with Ignoring Tech


Author: Cammy Pedroja, PhD

You’ve heard the old adage, “adapt or perish,” haven’t you? The funny thing is that sentiment is even more on point now than when H.G. Wells wrote the words more than 70 years ago. Now, deep into the digital age, companies are challenged with the need to adapt to their consumer base’s needs more quickly than ever. The fashion industry, notorious for slow-moving supply chains coupled with quickly-changing consumer expectations, is specifically prone to the sad fate that befalls a business that fails to adapt quickly enough to a marketplace that moves at rocket ship pace.

Marc. C. Close, CEO of Bespokify, the Singapore-based custom apparel start-up, argues in a Business of Fashion op-ed that “Fashion companies that don't embrace technology are sitting ducks just waiting to be picked off by sharp-shooting software companies.” So, what can those working in the fashion world do to hold on to their clientele? Get with the changing times by making sure you have tech-capable employees on your team, and incorporating cutting-edge technology into your business operations now, before it’s too late.

Know Thy Customer
Once looked at as over-coddled teens mooching off their parents, millennials have grown up and are now commanding a yearly spending power of about 600 billion dollars in the U.S. alone. Some estimates even say that number will more than double into the trillions in the next few years. If you haven’t yet ditched your negative misconceptions about this group of selective and driven shoppers and begun to bend your business to appeal to them, you have a lot to gain by understanding what millennials want in a retail experience. And by most research-backed accounts, what they want out of shopping is choice, personalization, sustainability, and as close to instant gratification as they can get.

The Benefits of High-Tech Fashion
Here are six basic ways tech can help you court millennial shoppers and stay relevant in a competitive retail future:

  • Providing personalized and/or custom sizing options.

  • Allowing for virtual or augmented reality show rooms for customers to digitally test or “try on” products remotely.

  • Going from concept to design to available product in less time than ever before.

  • Cutting down on waste and inventory woes by creating garments via an on-demand system.

  • Developing innovative delivery capabilities to appeal to the desire for instant gratification.

  • Mining customer data to predict future buying patterns and motivations.

By making sure you have tech-savvy talent and forward-thinking minds working on your team, your business can adapt and flourish in the marketplace of the future.


Photo: Harper's Bazaar