The Shocking Secret of Fashion Consumers

By Lauriane
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

There’s a secret held by every consumer that is nearly unknown to brands. It’s the shocking truth that almost every fashion house and sport products company ignores. Because of the blindfold that they have chosen to wear, they have lost billions of dollars in potential revenue. Each day, individuals look less and less at what a brand is trying to sell them and, instead, focus on their own curated tastes. Every person has their favorite pair of jeans, their most comfortable pair of shoes, and their go-to t-shirt.
As individuals, we have collectively decided what will be our “look” and what we prefer to wear on a daily basis. This has resulted one simple truth: Consumers do not shop from a single brand.

Consider this; one male consumer might wear the following outfit:
• Chuck Taylor low-tops from Converse
• 501 jeans from Levi’s
• Tee shirt from H&M

Another male consumer may wear a similar outfit to achieve an entirely different look:
• Chuck Taylor low-tops from Converse
• 511 slim fit jeans from Levi’s
• Slim fit dress shirt from Calvin Klein
• Ludlow blazer from J. Crew

But the sad fact is that these brands may never share consumer data, nor may they ever try to cooperate in any way in order to increase their respective sales figures. The consumer has moved to a true omnichannel model where they have created their own personal consumer “brand”, with their unique set of preferences and data, and are expecting traditional corporate brands to meet their needs. Unfortunately, the modern fashion industry simply isn’t set up to meet these expectations.

Product Development

iStock_000049966562_XXXLarge
If these brands are going to change, and start embracing this new consumer model, they need to start at the beginning; with the product development process. Today, fashion companies focus on creating a single product that can reach as many different consumers as possible. In the future, however, customers will be expecting product that they can tailor to their own specific tastes. Therefore, companies who are eager to differentiate themselves are now shifting to tools and processes that allow for easy product customization. This is especially true in the footwear industry where each runner has a specific stride, foot strike, and comfort preference.
Tools are now starting to arrive that will allow footwear to be designed so that it can be easily customized at the point of sale. The next step would be to allow customization, of color and material, that might allow a pair of shoes to better coordinate with the pants from another brand being worn by the consumer. Here again, this may require brands to cooperate in their design approach to the consumer.

Changing Face of Retail

3DEXCITE_DELTASCAN_3

Traditionally, companies have drawn a sharp division between their online stores and their brick and mortar counterparts; each selling product using completely different methods. At brick and mortar retail, the consumer is free to browse a small, fixed collection of products and soak in the brand identity. Online however, the consumer has to give up much of the brand identity, but are given access to a much larger, searchable set of inventory.
Looking forward however, some companies are breaking out of this model and mixing the best of the online experience with the best of brick and mortar. These companies are starting to bring the online experience into stores so that, while consumers may be able to browse key items and colors in store, they have access to the entire online inventory at the same time. They can also use these tools to build outfits, predict fit, and customize products; perhaps even customizing the product directly in the store. Finally, consumer preferences can be captured by these digital devices and fed directly back to the product teams via analytics built into modern PLM systems. But what’s still missing is the ability for the consumer to build a virtual closet of all their favorite products, regardless of brand, and have it travel with them from store to store; whether that store be physical or online.

Consumer Customization

EXP3 Mobile Assortment Exp 000

© Julien Fournié

Product customization is nothing new; especially in footwear. Many of the major footwear brands have offered customization for years: Adidas, Nike , and New Balance all offer online product customization. But this is typically just color and material customization and doesn’t allow for changes to fit or cushioning. Some brands, such as New Balance, are just starting to use modern 3D tools to provide customized outsoles to the elite athletes and, eventually, consumers. Once again, however, this begs the question of customization across brands. Will I be able to print the authentic Vans checkerboard pattern on my Gap t-shirt? Will I be able to customize the color of my 3D printed New Balance outsole to coordinate with my faded Levi’s 501s? Probably not. But the marketplace is changing and what was unthinkable in the past, may just become commonplace in the future.

Want to know more about how to engage consumers in the ultimate personalized product and purchase experience?

Why do Fashion brands and Retailers have to adopt an out of the box PLM solution?

By Celia
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

Fast fashion, right fashion, on-time fashion, think global, act local, these are not just buzz words, they are real challenges big and not so big fashion brands must meet to satisfy consumers. The fashion landscape has changed because consumer buying habits have undergone a tremendous swing from the 1980s when clients used to shop at departments stores all stocked with the same product offering. These temples of fashion, which enjoyed a comfortable 10% share of the retail market at the time, have since lost their shine (attaining only a 2.6% share in 2011) in favor of smaller, more intimate specialty channels that cater to the specific tastes of the local consumer.

So what happened?

Fashion Collection for SMBPeople are tired of the global, impersonal model and want to be taken for who they are — individuals. The popularity of mobile technology and social networks confirm this individualization.  So, if brands want to reach these new consumers, they must speak their language so to speak, get closer to them, and cater to their local cultures, their likes, and their “individual-ness”. In an article published this month on whichPLM the author mentions another trend in which consumers long for a return to the friendly and available local shopkeeper of yesterday. The challenge is therefore twofold: on one hand brands can no longer exploit one channel with a uniform offering and hope to satisfy a global population that has become ever so ”individual” and on the other, they need to take into account a consumer’s desire for a more personal and intimate shopping experience. SH Lee, chairman of Tesco’s Korean Home, declared the “age of imperialism” over and urged retailers to tailor their offer to local cultures. And bingo! Focusing its efforts on the Korean consumer helped propel his company from 12th to 2nd largest retailer in Korea.

Keeping a profitable balance, however, between producing en masse but with a local twist is not easy. Not only do brands have to manage local differences in their product offerings, they have to turn out new collections fast to satisfy consumers’ desire for renewal. Success depends on whether brands and retailers can stay in touch with consumers’ changing needs and interests. PLM technologies can give brands better visibility when managing consumer feedback as well as assortments, designs, suppliers, manufacturing, and merchandising. As a matter of fact, industry experts predict fashion brands will invest billions in technology. IDC foresees that as product assortment refresh cycles quicken, 25% of mid-sized retailers will initiate new PLM or sourcing projects in 2014. And according to Just-style.com, the PLM market, “could grow up to 40% annually by 2014” boosted by medium-sized apparel firms that are planning to implement this technology.

Big vs. not so big

Fashion Collection for SMBAs speed to market and evolution in consumer tastes accelerate, apparel companies will need the power of PLM technology to  survive. But are all PLMs equal? Can large brands and not so large or niche players use the same PLM? When faced with the  question “to PLM or not to PLM”, how does one choose? When it comes to investing in PLM technology, big and not so big  brands pay attention to different things. 5 years ago a Tech-Clarity study had already pointed out that SMBs have their own wish  list for PLM that includes ease of use, rapid implementation, pre-defined templates, built-in best practices and a solution that  evolves as they grow. Yet today, PLM can still scare some SMBs away because they think it is too complex or too expensive to  implement. They do not have the same resources the big players have. But if the PLM in question is powerful yet packaged as an out-of-the-box pre-configured solution, it levels the playing field by reducing investment and cost of ownership for an SMB whose limited cash flow is not uselessly invested in functionalities that are too broad for its needs. Fashion Collection for SMB is for those not-so-big fashion companies that want to have the power of a PLM solution but scaled to their requirements. This out-of-the-box solution is also easy to learn and implement –a critical factor for user adoption.

The numbers speak for themselves

Brands that have adopted the 3DS solutions have produced some pretty impressive results: 200% increase in technical design productivity for a European outdoor brand that is able to review and approve 5 times more samples in the same amount of time or a medium size ready-to-wear apparel company that experienced threefold growth in product breadth and overall product lines. So if you are an SMB looking to grow your business and strengthen your brand, Fashion Collection for SMB is your door to PLM.

Learn more about Fashion Collection for SMB.

Celia NEWHOUSE is a member of the Consumer Goods Industry team.

 

Make room for espacemax 3D conversion rate

By Kate
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+

espacemaxbuildingspace

Just before I opened the door of espacemax’s headquarters, a tall baseball-capped teen ran by me, about turned, and then scooted in behind me as I (now urban smart after living in Paris over a decade) nervously entered the door.

To my relief, it was just a male model fresh from New York City, one hour late to a casting.  A few seconds later the stylist greeted the sweaty pinup, flipped through his book, asked if he knew another model named Angle or Jewel, I forget, then asked for his composite card, spun around and went back to the photo shoot.

The world of fashion whether online or at headquarters is like that.  Fast, efficient, busy.

packingmerchandiseThen there are the boxes.  Boxes glorious boxes.  All that merchandise purchased and ready to be shipped to anticipating arms.  The white gold of online shopping, boxes.

Given Dassault Systèmes’ recently announced partnership with espacemax, French luxury goods and fashion e-shopping business, I wanted to find out what the head honcho thinks about 3D and see what’s in store for the next quarters.

But before I share that interview, here’s a little (tout petit) video I whipped up to get you in the mood.  You may know espacemax for the sleeky, glossy fashionista e-commerce site that it is, but this is espacemax in the physical world:

YouTube Preview ImageBefore I get into my interview with espacemax’s general director, here’s a brief look at the company’s three business activities:

  • Catherine Max: physical world showrooms hosting weekly private sales of high-end luxury goods and fashion.  Think LVMH, etc.  Last year’s collections are sold at steep discounts, 60-90%.  First in France to launch this activity in  . . . 1993.
  • espacemax: an online twin to Catherine Max and more.  You can also buy in-season items at espacemax (not on sale), just as you would buy Kenzo at a department store.
  • Selectiveweb: a new business line for Groupe Catherine Max.  They create and operate e-shopping sites for high-end brand names within their mother brand URLs.

It’s getting late so I won’t provide the entire transcribed interview (please forgive me Pierre-Etienne), but here’s a recap of my exchanges with espacemax Directeur Général Adjoint Pierre-Etienne Boilard:

pierre_etienne

Q1:  Why interactive 3D, and why now?

PEB: I’ll start with two figures.  In the mortar business, conversion rate is 55 %, meaning that 55 % of people who leave a shop leave with a product.  In e-commerce it’s 1.46 %.  This shows that Internet-based businesses aren’t as developed as mortar businesses.  During the last 10 years the battle was traffic.  And I can tell you that the next 10 will be the battle of the conversion rate.

Conversion rate is our main focus, especially since we are working in the luxury and fashion industries, in which the products you buy are not commodities like a TV.  If you buy a TV you just need to know the features and rackofclothesprices and then decide and purchase.  Buying a fashion product is a commitment because it reflects who you are.  We call it inspirational purchase.

Given our business we decided we wanted to improve the quality of the product presentation to help people buy the product.  We have a barometer study conducted by Opinion Way that examines what consumers need to have online in order to feel more confident buying luxury and fashion goods via Internet. Around 80 % of them said they wanted 3D product visualization.

So we started the partnership with Dassault Systèmes and its innovative  and creative Interactive Strategy team at a time when we started to look into how to provide this to our users, and a time when you were looking to push the limits of what you can do in the luxury and fashion goods industries.

Q2:  The 3D campaign is young, but have you noticed any first signs of how it will impact sales and customer engagement?

PEB: Yes we’ve noticed two good signs so far.  The first, our products displayed in 3D sold out very fast!  We’ve had to order another stock for the campaign.  The second, we’ve had lots of calls to our aftersales services asking for us to put more products into 3D.

Q3: You’re activity is based in France and in French, but in particular with the French brands you represent, there’s international appeal.  Do you have any customers living outside of France?  What countries are represented?

PEB: Today our site is in French and people pay in Euros.  While most of our customers are French, members can friend people to the club from Western Europe.  And these people represent 5-10 % of our sales.  This is a good indicator, so we have plans to expand espacemax to different languages and currencies, starting with Europe.  And once that’s complete we’ll add the Americas and Asia-Pacific, including China.  When we go international we’ll for sure include 3DVIA interactive 3D applications.

Q4: What’s next with interactive 3D?

cutiepiePEB: Many things!  First we’d like to industrialize the process already started with Dassault Systèmes.  With the launch application, we created three 3D models.  We’d like to expand that to our entire in-season products line.

The second thing is technical.  We’d like to offer people a complete avatar, not just with the person’s face, but with their full morphology so they can ‘try on’ different clothes and brands to see which are the most flattering for their body types.  This is intended as a customer service of course, but it’s also to decrease our return rate!

The third thing to come is working with Dassault Systèmes to distribute the 3DVIA technology directly to luxury brands as part of our selectiveweb work.

Merci beaucoup Pierre-Etienne!  I know my mother in America will be particularly thrilled to be able to shop for French brands online at espacemax.  We’ve got to find a way to add smell to the immersive 3D experience though; she’s a diptyque fan.

Seriously, your 3D program is great and I was particularly pleased to learn about the Opinion Way study.  I’ll look forward to checking back in later and see if that conversion rate has increased!

And you readers, do you think you’d buy more if you could 3D-try-and-buy first?  Here’s a video about the espacemax 3D application.  Check it out and let me know . . .

YouTube Preview ImageBest,

Kate



Page 1 of 212