Technology’s role in fashion retail is more than gadgets and gizmos. It’s what technology allows you to do – tell better stories, enhance experiences and customize curation.
Last week, Adrenaline’s Rick Barrick, VP of Digital Strategy, participated in a Customer Experience Fashion and Technology Panel held at SCAD in Atlanta. SCAD Luxury and Fashion Management Graduate, Sammantha Johnson, reached out to seasoned professionals to connect and build collaborative conversations with SCAD graduate students on digital disruptions within retail. To round out the panel, Anastasia Simon, Sales Consultant at SoftWear Automation, Inc, added a perspective from the supply chain process; and Catherine Iger, Founder of Fittery, spoke to innovation regarding fashion fit. The panel addressed ways that technology is enhancing the consumer experience today and how emerging technologies will revolutionize multiple touchpoints throughout retail.
While luxe goods, hot designers, glossy mags and style bloggers receive a lot of buzz throughout the industry, technology is also becoming a hot topic-of-conversation through how its driving a whole new way of experiencing fashion. Rick Barrick says, “Technology really has three applications within fashion retail. Deployment of tech allows brands to enhance storytelling, create a more frictionless customer experience and build a level of customization that makes customers feel like their tastes and preferences are being catered to.”
To tell a brand story, tools like digital signage and music strategy help visually and aurally communicate the look and feel of a brand. Fashion brands today are using these sensorial strategies to disrupt, attract and motivate their customers. For example, Ralph Lauren has begun deploying multiple screens featuring their lifestyle footage in heavily trafficked brick-and-mortar settings like malls. The storytelling elements have a sort of east coast, yacht club vibe that provides contextual content that speaks to their audience’s upscale sensibilities.
CREATE A LEVEL OF CUSTOMIZATION
But technology in fashion isn’t just about store fronts. As we heard from Anastasia Simon, the supply chain can have impact on the customer experience as much as a store’s environment. “As tracking technologies inside stores follow a customer’s path or eye-line, brands have a better opportunity to provide shoppers with what they are looking for. But if their supply chain process doesn’t allow for that level of fluidity and flexibility, it’s all but a moot-point.” Fast-fashion brands, like Zara and H&M, are popular among the younger generations because they react quickly to their core customers’ appeal for the trendiest items in an instant.
“If their supply chain process doesn’t allow for that level of fluidity and flexibility, its all but a mood-point.”
CREATE A FRICTIONLESS EXPERIENCE
When Rebecca Minkoff came out with her self-checkout option in her Soho store, it wasn’t just cool and innovative, it actually solved a customer pain point. Another pain point for customers is fit, especially for online retail. Catherine Iger says, “
Such technology acts as a solution for brands rather than a flashy feature on its own.
EXPERIENCE & ACADEMICS CONNECT
Collaborating with SCAD and the other panelists, Adrenaline was excited to be apart of an intriguing discussion on digital disruption within fashion. Conversations included questions about the future of department stores, like Macy’s and their archaic approach to retail. The panelists also explored trends surrounding Gen Z disruptions and brands, like Bonobos and Warby Parker, that are going against the retail grain by growing from digital to physical. It is always inspiring when experience meets academia to find out what’s next. In this panel, SCAD enabled seasoned professionals to connect and collaborate with the next generation fashion and design workforce.