Out with the old and in with the new—trends in fashion don’t only pertain to particular styles. This year has put the spotlight on three major developments in apparel and accessory retail, and we’ve decided to dig deeper to find out if hopping on the bandwagon is a good idea.
1. Diving into digital sales
2015 has shown a massive growth in e-commerce and mobile. Rodrigo Bazan, the CEO of Alexander Wang, said that their strategy to tap into digital “… proved extremely successful and also showed how important it is to lead your retail strategies through immediacy and instant accessibility.”
By Charlie Brewer from Sydney, Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Various other brands are also scrambling to find ways to engage customers, with luxury labels getting more personal than ever through social media. For instance, Atelier Versace and Balmain, among many others, have used Instagram to give their followers exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of their shows. High-end names also tend to tap bloggers for collaborations – like Steve Madden did by partnering up with Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad to release a special line of footwear for women. In addition, more and more apps like Spring, The Hunt, and Like to Know It make it easier to shop for coveted pieces using a smartphone. All in all, it seems like having a clear digital communication and sales strategy is becoming a must for any brand these days.
2. Curated store experiences
With digital shopping on the rise, retail companies are also making sure that their brick-and-mortar stores have what it takes to draw in actual foot traffic and strengthen brand messaging. This is where brand strategists and merchandisers get innovative to create a unique, intimate store feel that would intrigue and interest consumers.
By Chris Waits (Flickr: Chanel Display) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Building a curated store experience can include crafting an engaging narrative with the help of merchandise, presenting customized offerings (i.e. bestsellers kiosk, seasonal items, etc.), adding a café or a coffee shop to the boutique, and providing entertainment within the premises, among other things. New York-based retailer STORY, for example, “takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store. That means every four to eight weeks, STORY completely reinvents itself – from the design to the merchandise – with the goal of bringing to light a new theme, trend or issue.”
More than attracting consumers, the edited store experience is about reinforcing the brand’s identity and vision by putting emphasis on the lifestyle aspect of messaging. And it seems to be working.
3. Investment into travel retail
Despite the fact that overall luxury sector growth is rather slow, some markets do look extremely promising. That’s why high-end labels are focusing on China and India, as well as destinations that attract well-to-do travelers.
Consider this – tourists are said to be responsible for about 55% of luxury sales in Europe, which is home to several of the world’s fashion capitals. This demographic also accounts for much potential growth in Asia and the Middle East, where labels like Dunhill and 3.1 Phillip Lim, among others, are looking to further solidify their presence.
United States is another major area that’s poised to flourish, as luxury goods spending within the country is projected to reach US$4 billion in 2015. This is due to growing demand for mid-market designer and high-end apparel and accessories, in addition to tourist-related sales.
All in all, it seems like brands are choosing to counteract slowdowns in sluggish markets with investments into emerging shopping hotspots – and reaping benefits from it!
Do you see your label or boutique adapting any of these retail strategies? Do let us know!
About The Author: BridgeShowroom
Ken Nachbar is a co-founder and partner in Bridge Showroom. Ken loves working with designers, helping them open new doors, find new customers, and grow their businesses. With bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ken combines 25 years of management skill and experience with his passion for fashion.
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