The founder and CEO of membership organisation Make it British, Kate Hills, has called out big fashion retailers to become “more transparent” arguing that consumers “care more now than ever before”.
Speaking to InternetRetailing, Hills, who has been running the company which promotes UK-made brands and manufacturers since 2011 says: “Shoppers have seen everything that is going on with poor sourcing from bigger retailers, which are trying to source material for the cheapest price possible.
“That often involves exploitation,” she reveals.
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As a result, Hills has urged bigger fashion and homeware retailers to build a “much closer relationship with their customers”, especially at a time of rapid adoption of new technology advancements, including AI.
“You cannot replace craftsmanship with AI,” Hills warns. “With AI at the forefront of many retailers, many businesses will go the opposite direction and appreciate the craftsmanship from smaller retailers.”
With many of Make it British’s clients being online-only retailers, Hills also predicts the future for physical retail.
“We are seeing many online retailers take advantage of pop-up venues without committing a physical site,” she says.
“It would be good to see more empty stores on the high street being let out to small businesses to share space where they might not have been able to afford to run their physical store.”
This comes as online-only retailer Shein opened its doors to its latest pop-up experience in Birmingham, occupying the former Karen Millen store for two days.
Due to the success of its pop-up stores, the fashion retailer unveiled plans to host around 30 pop-up stores this year, in a continuation of its physical retail strategy.