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Contactless Commerce: How Fashion is Embracing Technology

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Jacob Lane follows up on his previous piece, with further advice for fashion brands to act more sustainably in 2021. Jacob is a fashion writer from London and is passionate about the developments and innovations around sustainability.

Fashion brands are always looking for ways to build a closer connection with their customers, but throughout the pandemic, the challenge was trying to find ways to do this in a safe and distanced way. For retail brands, technology has enabled them to deliver a redefined shopping experience that’s as convenient as possible for customers.

Contactless, digital channels remain the preference for the majority of consumers – here’s how fashion brands are embracing technology to accommodate the needs of their customers and improve their operations in the process.

Rise of contactless payments

The world has taken a step back from cash payments in favour of methods such as contactless card readers, wearable tech, mobile payments and QR codes, depending on the method that best suits their needs. Even jewellery brands are jumping on the trend to offer aesthetic wearables such as elegant watches, fitted with open source technology, that expand the options for customers even further, without them needing to rely solely on smartwatches.

Contactless technology offers a range of exciting opportunities for brands and customers, not only providing flexibility in enabling customers to choose how they want to pay depending on speed and convenience, but also for enhancing business operations by making transactions faster.

[Read Next: How Fashion Brands Can Act More Sustainably Throughout 2021]

Utilising apps for hybrid selling

With mobile users overtaking desktop now, apps are a highly effective marketing tool for fashion brands and can be beneficial for hybrid selling. With apps, retailers have the option of enhancing buying experiences through location-based functionality to create virtual geographical boundaries for pick-up zones, or for push notifications to send updates to customers.

Likewise, apps can be used to provide information to consumers about in-store capacity or enable them to make mobile purchases for later collection. Apps allow retailers to assist with shopping decisions before customers have even arrived at the store which can be a fantastic opportunity for boosting sales and improving the customer journey, resulting in greater brand loyalty in the future.

Omnichannel experiences

The shift to eCommerce and digital channels has been huge for the fashion industry, but one tech-focused feature to come out of this has been a demand for omnichannel shopping. Omnichannel experiences enable customers to purchase online and pick up in-store or kerbside, depending on their preference, which provides a faster experience than waiting for home delivery. Customers want their products faster than ever before and any company that offers a solution to this need will win against competitors.

Digital will remain the priority going forward. So, fashion brands are aware that they need to think long-term when it comes to the capabilities of eCommerce sites, to future-proof their operations and drive sales for customers who want the versatility that omnichannel delivers.

Leveraging data for personalisation

Fashion retailers will increasingly be using data to build personalised offerings to customers, enabling them to create a tailored and more emotional relationship with consumers. Data and artificial intelligence technology will feature more prominently in this sector over the coming years, as brands engage closely with social media to deliver targeted content, personalised offerings and tailored shopping experiences.

Strategy will play an important role in 2021, as fashion brands manage the changes to markets and digital channels. And with tourism stagnating, retail will be more important than ever for customers, providing an opportunity for tactical brands to take advantage of growing markets and new avenues as they arise for the competitive edge.

Final thoughts

Many industries have been set on a different trajectory than what they had initially envisioned for 2021. But it has given decision-makers for fashion firms the opportunity to reevaluate how they move forward. Businesses in the fashion sector can reflect on the evolution of the customer landscape and align their operations with the latest technology trends to come out stronger and more flexible in the next normal.

From how they accept payments, to considering the shopping journey and utilising tech to market more successfully to their target customers, companies in this industry have a wealth of options available to them to help them grow and expand.

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Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.