With London Fashion Week in full swing, Sarah Flannery, Head of Display and Paid Social at Forward3D, explores how digital shopping is transforming the world of fashion shows and retailing
For years now, we’ve been able to order food, electronics, you name it, straight to our door with delivery times as fast as just one hour.
Technology has had a huge impact on how the way consumers engage with retail and Fashion Week is no different. From virtual fitting rooms allowing us to try products in the comfort of our home, to shoppable runways that allow us to buy new designs online as soon as the models step off the catwalk, and social media channels enabling a closer relationship between designer, brand and consumer.
Thanks to advancements in both technology and social media, we can get the same instant gratification and warm feeling from the world of fashion, where fashion retailers are making it even quicker to purchase and receive items through same day shipping.
Using these channels, followers of fashion with a thirst for information and gossip are able to discover and critique latest styles while getting a never before seen peek into the world of fashion via branded behind-the-scenes Instagram stories, Snapchat and on YouTube. Brands have the opportunity to use this tech to their advantage, merging the physical and virtual highstreet into one offering.
The shoppable runway
The way people can purchase fashion during fashion week has changed too, Burberry and Ralph Lauren were the first to make their collections available immediately, dismissing the usual practice of making fans wait for around four months until new styles appeared in the shops.
They were followed by Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘See Now, Buy Now’ collaboration with social media influencer Gigi Hadid and retailer H&M. This was such a massive hit that the designer had no hesitation about bringing the idea to London Fashion Week.
This new relationship between the industry and its customers, plus the ability to shop on demand, means fashion brands are being urged to invest more of their marketing spend into fashion technology to drive sales and conversations.
Speed is key
Today’s consumer is used to ordering a taxi in minutes, getting food delivered to their home within the hour and receiving Amazon orders the next day. They do not want to wait weeks or months to buy the clothes they have seen via social media and are keen to wear. If brands ignore this demand for instant sales, they risk becoming tired.
With the expectation of instant delivery, brands need to ensure they have the technology and infrastructure to support this offering. Some are leaning on businesses that have that ability to turn around orders at speed, including Amazon, who have the resource in place to support this.
We should expect to see technology drive further advancements in the way that fashion brands interact with their consumers.
High street to catwalk
Fashion Weeks are no longer just trade shows and how these events are run and perceived has been fundamentally changed by social channels which are bringing an intimacy and affinity that today’s modern consumer expects of all their brands. With consumers now expecting access to products almost immediately, and expecting new innovation, designers need to ensure that they can quickly make their products available to take advantage of this ‘see-now, buy-now’ behaviour.
We will start to see more technology pushed from the high street onto the catwalk including VR/AR and increased integration of social channels, which will continue to transform how we engage with retail. The increasing amount of data that retailers hold will allow them to further tailor the experience for consumers, potentially targeting the appropriate experience and channel to individual preferences.
Despite these changes, brands will need to ensure that they are still able to communicate with their audience on an intimate level, as consumers are now beginning to expect this personal interaction.
If brands don’t begin to adopt these behaviours then they may risk losing competitive advantage, not only on the catwalk, but also on the high street. The first luxury brand to use technology to consistently give its customers what they want, when they want it, straight from the catwalk, will rule.
IMAGE Eva Rinaldi at