What is Fashion Tech?
The "Fashion Tech" industry has been littered with deceptive headlines, endless projects that come and go, and over-confident entrepreneurs from other industries who have little idea about the challenges they're about to face. It's no surprise why a strong distrust for the merit of the work in this industry and even the subject matter has become so difficult to parse. How do we untangle the confusion that has been caused by a slurry of innovations in this space?
Fashion Tech has priorities in e-commerce
Recognizing patterns and understanding pain points starts to illuminate where the majority is moving right now. One thing is clear about brand investments in Fashion Tech, the focus is on e-commerce. Why? Brick and mortar is changing and a decrease in sales is a brand's biggest pain point.
Brick and mortar is evolving at every level. It is no longer the delightful consumer experience it once was, but it's also not the primary consumer experience. Brick and mortar is being used as a more utilitarian part of the process. More and more, consumers are relying on brick and mortar as a showroom rather than a point of sale. They might go into a store to gain confidence in the quality of a given brand, learn their size, try some things on, then order products online at a later date. Retail locations are becoming distribution points. Maybe you've experienced this already. In a recent online order I made from J.Crew, my shipment came from 3 separate retail locations in 3 separate packages.
Creating more engaging experiences
Brands across categories are investing in and acquiring new, more engaging e-commerce experiences.
Because brands must have priorities and e-commerce investments are easily measurable, this is where innovation often begins for the fashion industry.
Fashion is still about the delight, the uniqueness, and the creation of things that are special. The context and the medium is changing and the opportunity here is to embody these defining characteristics in the online experience. The days of database-style browsing have to come to an end for the fashion industry. We have to challenge ourselves with the basic question; why am I buying toothpaste in the same digital format that I'm shopping for a $5,000 dress?