In the latest posts I’ve told you about startup’s world, showing a panoramic view of its statistics, its areas of work, some brand names, and so on.
Collecting some data on startup, e-commerce and fashion industry, it’s clear that they are tightly linked with each other; it evident that innovation has to be provided by multi-skilled professionals, yet again.
When people want to approach fashion business, whether as freelance professional or as designer label’s employee, it’s quite essential be prepared to manage on-line trade, as well as integrate off-line and on-line channels.
For these reasons a huge amount of startups have embedded some best practices in their businesses, learnt from similar previous successful companies.
Being e-commerce one of interest areas on which start-up accelerators/incubators have committed a great deal of effort to, it wouldn’t be surprising that the majority of new businesses have to actually plan an on-line distribution channel from the very beginning, not to mention the complexity of the web marketing plan.
In view of the fact that fashion business represents one of the key sectors of the Italian market, whether in domestic market or in global market, a large number of firms have been launching into this trend.
One example I have already cited in a previous post is Yoox, founded near Bologna, an e-commerce platform specialized on high fashion, where people can buy overstocked or unsold items from previous seasons at discounted outlet prices; Yoox, confident of its sales volume around 1.7 billion, has turned to a “Unicorn” in a few years; resuming the main theme, its core businesses are couture fashion e-commerce and consulting services for high fashion’s web development.
On this track, I’ve also already mentioned the startup M-collective, a distribution platform addressed to stylists, designers and small fashion companies, differently from Yoox; it has currently gathered 400 brands, providing them an online display through its e-commerce site, but offering a physical showcase in its first store in Milan, contrary to Yoox.
Italist has choosen a mixed orientation on fashion, instead; it is an e-commerce, which include products of couture fashion firms such as Gucci, Prada and Bottega Veneta, in addition to emergent designers like Giovanni Cappannolo and MSGM, discovered looking around shops throughout Italy.
Overall, three main trends in fashion industry must be watched closely: the mix of mobile commerce, Social Media and augmented reality, the increasing luxury fashion business and services B2B targeted at fashion companies.
Luxury market costumers, valued in 150 billions (but 300 billions, if jewelry and beauty included), represent the highest value clients for brands and couture fashion retailers; those “top earners” (who earned above 120 thousand dollars) prefer on-line payments, although only 5% of transactions occur on-line.
But for retailers, the money is in the mobile web, not the app, temporarily: only few leaders with the biggest reach, like Amazon, have been able to get enough regular usage on their mobile apps in order to outpace their traffic and purchases on the mobile web.
(MOFLUID has done an interesting analysis on Mobile commerce trends)
However, luxury brands have been notorious for their reluctance to progress online, some fashion brands are slow to keep up and they would benefit from progressing faster in the mobile department.
Social networks and apps are not to be neglected in the rise of e-commerce, as shoppers tend to seek out user-generated online content before making a purchase. Instagram, fashion and lifestyle blogs, and even new emerging apps are used along the customer journey before completing a purchase. Among many others, one example is the app ASAP54, that rolled out an Instagram integration feature, meaning that users can shop from Instagram by using their own Instagram library, or pictures they have liked on the photo-sharing app.
With consumers spending more and more time online, there is need to create a fluid shopping experience to successfully leverage e-commerce.
At a basic level, there is a major expectation for an easy journey, from an app or website to having the product in hand. All brands need reconsidering customer engagement processes essentially, creating a customer experience to be distinctive and engaging.
Take note of the importance of both UX and CX experience: the UX (user experience) is limited only to interactions with product entities (the brand’s website delivers one experience and the app another), instead the CX (customer experience) covers the customer’s interactions with every facet of the brand, which naturally includes the digital product, in addition to other services such as customer service.
In tune with this mood, many start-up have created new B2B apps and services to help fashion companies with progress.
ELSE Corp is an italian startup, whose core business includes virtual reality and augmented reality. The platform E.L.S.E., Exclusive Luxury Shopping Experience is aimed at providing an extraordinary Customer & Shopping Experience in 3D, creating Virtual Boutique 3D (a digital representation of the brand’s retail space), 3D Product Configurator, 3D foot scanner hardware (to gather the customer’s measurements), and so on. Have a look at its websites, where some videos show how it works.
FABS, Fashion App Buyer Society, is an italian sturt-up, which has realized an app targeted at professional fashion buyers of all sorts; it allows fashion buyers to store pictures of desired goods (alongside crucial data including colorway, material, city, showroom, brand, season etc.) in a photo library, while simultaneously keeping track of quantities, budget and orders. In addition, FABS users are able to exchange content amongst themselves in real time, facilitating communication within department store teams.
In my opinion, buyers and shoppers relationship has necessarily been evolving, combining physical with virtual experience, joining personalization with socialization, merging into a new purchasing model, and far more exciting bringing even distant markets’ brands closer and made available to all.