In 2017, personalisation will be key: from the online shopping experience to smart fitting rooms and data-driven marketing. Why? It’s simple: 62% of customers buy more stuff when receiving a personalised service, according to DigitasLBi’s Connected Commerce survey.
Here are our predictions for what going is to be big this year.
1. Mobile will be the main source of eCommerce
For the first time, the number of web searches on mobile has overtaken desktop and laptop. In October 2016, Statcounter revealed mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of total page loads. And according to Twenga Solutions, clothing is the number one purchase category on mobile.
With 30% of eCommerce traffic now coming from mobile devices (70% smartphones; 30% tablets), this is only set to rise in 2017.
Being ‘mobile first’ is key. UX and UI must be top notch: consumers are demanding a seamless shopping experience. Generally, browsing and research happens on mobiles; buying is done on desktops and laptops. We’ll see e-tailers making greater efforts to personalise the customer journey: from ads to stock and size visibility. And, to encourage mobile conversion, simple, one-touch checkouts built for mobile shoppers will become the norm.
2. In-store technology will take off
In-store technology has been talked about for aeons, but it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen what’s possible.
“Magic mirrors” offer a 360-degree view of your outfit and let you ‘try on’ clothes without even having to get undressed. Ralph Lauren’s smart fitting rooms have boosted customer engagement by 90%: you can alter the lighting, order garments in different sizes or colours, or get tips to accessorise and build your outfit. And Rigby & Peller offers body scanning to create a 3D model of your bust so you can finally find the perfect bra.
This year, we predict we’ll be seeing a wider uptake of existing technologies adopted across the fashion board. It’s about bringing the benefits of digital technology into the store to maximise customer engagement and sales.
3. Data-driven fashion will evolve
Until now, it’s been about content. The new buzzword on the block is data. And when it comes to eCommerce, it’s more than just a trend: a 20% increase in ROI is achievable through smarter use of consumer data.
How does it work? Inbound data from size and fit technologies gives retailers a real-time view of their customers – age, shape, size, height, fit preference, etc. The marketing department can devise more effective, targeted campaigns. The designers can create clothes that the customer wants to wear. The result? There are fewer returns, the customer becomes an advocate for the company, and the retailer is more successful in the industry.
This year, we predict a sharp uptake in size and fit technology website integration, with subsequent inbound consumer data being used to shape the future of the fashion business.
4. Smart textiles will become the new wearables
We’ve seen a sharp rise in wearables hitting the fashion world, but we predict 2017 will see a huge rise in garment integration.
Last year, Levi’s introduced its Commuter x Jacquard by Google trucker jacket, allowing the wearer to change music tracks, answer the phone or follow directions all by ‘swiping’ their sleeve. We’ve also seen Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech shirt use silver fibres to send real-time workout data direct to your phone or Apple watch.
And Sydney-based company Wearable Experiments has been weaving GPS into fashion jackets, and creating footy jerseys using haptic technology and real-time sports data to let the fans feel what the players are feeling on the pitch, during a live game.
5. Next-generation biotech and sustainability will become the new norm
We predict sustainable and next gen fashion will start to go mainstream this year.
H&M has pledged to become 100% circular by only using sustainable or recycled materials in its clothing. Mud Jeans has pioneered a range of ‘lease-able’ organic jeans to encourage recycling and upcycling. And, by 2020, Levi’s aims to use up to 96% less water in the manufacture of over three quarters of its product line.
Bolt Threads is replicating insect and spider silk protein on a sustainable, industrial scale by fermenting water, yeast and sugar to make a new, wearable, weave-able silk. Bionic Yarn is using ocean plastic to make denim. Synthetic leather is being grown in labs. Dyes are being created that don’t require water or chemicals. And this is just the tip of it.
The question now being asked is, “Will the next Alexander McQueen be a biologist?”
6. We'll all be 3D printing our clothes at home
Ok, so this might not happen in 2017. But Google’s Ray Kurzweil thinks we’ll be doing it within a decade.
Yes, it’s still in its infancy: the company supposed to be making consumer 3D printers (Makerbot) ceased producing them last April, the machines haven’t quite mastered the softness, drape and feel of some textiles, and the pieces currently available out there don’t come cheap, but watch this space.
We’ve already seen several early adopters. A 3D printed dress was worn during the 2016 Paralympics opening ceremony. Lady Gaga’s sported several over the past few years. And Kate Hudson looked gorgeous in one at the 2016 Met Gala.
If Kurzweil’s right, the proliferation of 3D printers will give rise to more materials and designs for less money. We’ll have the option of a mix of free, open-source designs or pay-for designer pieces. And we’ll also be able to print to our exact measurements: the ultimate in personalised fashion.
As shoppers’ perceptions of customer experience, personalisation and loyalty continue to evolve, stay ahead of the trend with Fits Me's free whitepaper.