Metavers, connected stores, traceability: how technologies will transform fashion

(ETX Daily Up) – The pandemic has accelerated the digital shift in the fashion industry, with the development of e-commerce, virtual fittings, and even social shopping, but also the emergence of the metaverse. And that’s just the beginning. A new report reveals that fashion players will double their investments in technologies by 2030 to optimize the customer experience and respond to climate challenges, with a focus on personalization, connected stores, new digital worlds, and durability.

2020 has been a pivotal year in terms of digital engagement. The pandemic has had an impact on the time spent in front of screens, which has risen sharply, especially among the youngest, transforming the purchasing and interaction habits of consumers, who are more focused on social networks, gaming, and new virtual worlds. Something that fashion players, from fast fashion to luxury, have fully understood, multiplying projects and initiatives focused on technological innovation. Online shopping, live shopping, NFT, digital fashion, and other virtual fittings have punctuated the purchasing journey of customers of many brands and fashion houses for two years, who have even experimented – no doubt a little too far in advance – the first one Metavers Fashion Weeklast March.

If these transformations already seem important, they could only be the beginning of a revolution in fashion, as revealed by a report initiated by McKinsey and The Business of Fashion. Fashion companies are expected to invest considerable, if not record, sums in technology in the near future, rising from around 1.6 – 1.8% of their revenues in 2021 to 3.0 – 3.5% in 2030, nearly doubling in less than a decade. Figures that reflect the importance for brands to rely on technological innovations, artificial intelligence in mind, to help “support sustainability, and create an exceptional customer experience”, underlines the report.

Digitization, personalization, and sustainability

In their reportState of Fashion Technology‘, McKinsey and The Business of Fashion unveiled the levers on which the fashion industry has every interest in acting to “optimize its technological resources”. The metaverse, through NFTs and digital fashion, tops the list, but the analysis emphasizes an important point: “The marketing value of digital fashion and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is now clear, but the fashion brands will have to balance concrete opportunities and hype to generate sustainable revenue streams.”

While brands are multiplying experiences in these universes to seduce the youngest, it appears, in fact, in the light of several surveys, that the latter are not so fond of them. The goal for brands will be to target initiatives that will make all the difference. “Fashion companies focused on innovation and marketing in metaverses could generate more than 5% of their revenue from virtual activities in the next two to five years. The task for policy makers, however, will be to focus on specific opportunities.

But this could (also) go through an ever more personalized experience, thanks to artificial intelligence in particular, intended to improve the relationship of brands with their customers, and to build their loyalty. Something that would begin via online shopping, but which would continue, according to the report, in stores. The objective is to offer ever more connected physical places. “Fashion players can tackle consumer pain points by using in-store mobile apps to improve the experience,” say the experts. The overall idea is to reduce the gap between physical and virtual shops, and to make them complementary.

Technologies will also have to be put more at the service of a more sustainable and transparent fashion, in response to pressing consumer demand. “Traceability systems powered by software and big data will help fashion brands go deep into their supply chains to understand the full lifecycle of their products.”

Whether dedicated to creativity, craftsmanship, sustainability, or the shopping experience, technologies will be an integral part of consumers’ fashion shopping journey in the not-too-distant future. It now remains to be seen how brands will exploit them… in practice.

Christine Pellissier

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Metavers, connected stores, traceability: how technologies will transform fashion

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