The fashion industry is the fourth largest sector of the global economy and must adapt to the changing world. It is currently facing many challenges. There are thousands of retailers and brands that operate in highly competitive environments. They need to improve business processes, increase sales, attract new customers online, and be eco-friendly.
The industry is now looking for solutions and has begun to look towards IoT and AR as emerging technologies. Many shoppers have moved online over the past decade. Online shopping has grown in popularity thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2021, 49% more global consumers shop online than before the pandemic.
E-commerce is an emerging trend in the fashion industry. While online retail can have its problems, it can also be a platform that provides tools to solve some of the most pressing issues in the fashion industry.
E-commerce tools can be used to communicate with customers and persuade them online to buy. E-commerce solutions can also be used to reduce production costs and ensure sustainability in the fashion industry as a response to the economic recession or the environmental crisis.
AR is one the most highly-demanded emerging technologies. It has the potential to help industry players address a variety of issues. This technology will be a major driver for fashion’s future. This technology can make online shopping more efficient. It has five strengths.
#1: AR increases profitability
The digital try-on technology is one of the greatest opportunities for e-commerce. Virtual clothing can be tried on by consumers (e.g. Snap, ZERO10 and Clo-Z), as well as shoes (e.g. Wanna Kiks or Kivisense), accessories (e.g. Perfect, Hapticmedia and QReal), and beauty products (e.g. ModiFace. Virtool. Visage Technologies). It is almost identical to the real world.
This is crucial because people need to know if the product will fit them before they buy it. 55% of respondents to the survey in 2019 stated that being able to try on clothing was a key factor in their decision to shop at brick-and-mortar stores before the pandemic.
Although it is unlikely that consumer preferences have changed, COVID-19 made it possible to shop online. Online shopping is becoming more popular, but consumers still prefer to try on clothes. They purchase clothing online and return the majority of their items after fitting the clothes at home.
People are also being motivated by the global economic recession to purchase more thoughtfully. For many, it is easier to return an item that they don’t like than to return it.
AR try-on allows consumers to use their smartphones cameras to view how the digital model of the item they are interested in will look on them. This experience can look very real, as there are technologies that can track and segment the body and simulate different types and fabrics.
It makes it easier to make more informed and firm decisions. It encourages consumers to buy more when they feel confident in their decisions. The result is that sales increase while returns drop. Retailers are also more resource-intensive because returns can lead to increased costs for logistics and lower profitability of each product.
#2: AR makes shopping more sustainable
Fashion industry today faces one of the greatest challenges: sustainability. Fashion is currently one of the largest polluting industries on Earth. In the USA alone, 11.3 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away each year.
Clothing production is a major contributor to the environment crisis. Brands often produce more clothing than they can sell, particularly when it comes down to mass-market fashion. Clearly, the human population is buying too many clothes.
Many shoppers find it easier just to toss excessive items in a dumpster rather than return them.
AR try-on technology encourages more thoughtful shopping and reduces textile waste by encouraging better buying decisions. It also encourages a reduction in returns and reduces CO2 emissions from logistics.
AR try-on could even reduce the production of physical clothing in the future. AR can be used to not only try on pre-made clothes but also to test out concept pieces that aren’t yet available. A consumer may request to see and try on prototype clothing. This practice may have a positive impact on the fashion industry.
This will ensure that there is no excess production of items not in demand, which could lead to waste.
It’s a way to make the world a better place. It also increases brand loyalty. McKinsey reports that 63% of European consumers regard a brand’s sustainability promotion as an important buying factor.
#3: The key to the Metaverse is AR
When it comes to the future society, the Metaverse is a hot topic. The number of internet searches for “metaverse”, which was 7,200% in 2021, grew by 7,200%. Although mass adoption of the Metaverse may not be possible right now, it is expected to grow in popularity in the future. AR allows brands and retailers to explore the potential within the Metaverse. It opens up the door for the future fashion.
The Metaverse offers two major sales opportunities for brands: selling digital clothing to users’ avatars and setting up stores in the virtual space where they can buy physical clothes. Although the first option might sound a bit crazy, the potential sales opportunities are impressive.
The internet spent $60-70 Billion on virtual goods in 2021. This means that there are many people who already buy digital clothes, accessories and cosmetics. This second option will transform e-commerce shopping into an immersive experience. This will make e-commerce shopping more fun than it is normally.
You can also use the Metaverse to improve your marketing. The Metaverse is a place for brands and retailers to communicate with their customers and show their products. Metaverse will allow sellers to offer more customized offers to customers and create better loyalty programs.
One can wait until the Metaverse has become popular and has a large audience. However, a retailer or brand will need to pursue those who have established their presence earlier. It is common knowledge that it is easier to be an early adopter than to catch up.
#4: AR connects with Gen Z
Gen Z consumers are gaining power and brands and retailers are trying to figure out how to best communicate with them. This generation has grown up using technology and e-commerce must speak the same innovative language. They are also more interested in making financial and environmental wise decisions.
Gen Z shoppers tend to carefully evaluate fashion products before buying. E-commerce must provide the best data possible. AR try-on can persuade them as it helps to form a more informed view. It also opens up new ways to interact with Gen Z online through social media, the Metaverse, and other platforms.
Social media is a popular medium for young people to express themselves and their creativity through apparel. A statement look is often required for a post on social media. It can only be worn once, then it will be returned or forgotten. It is not environmentally friendly.
Gen Z is concerned about the environment and works to reduce pollution. Digital apparel is something Gen Z can appreciate. They will also love physical clothing upon request, as they are guided by the need to save the planet.
#5: AR facilitates discovery of new talent
It’s not easy to start a fashion design business. Fashion designers often need to invest their own money in order to make their first collections and items. They will need to purchase textiles, accessories, and other materials. They need models to present a compelling presentation.
AR makes it easier for emerging artists to show their collections to consumers, journalists, buyers, influencers, and journalists. It is also more sustainable and financially smarter. Augmented reality is also a way for young fashion designers to compete in more accessible and inclusive competitions, without having to worry about money or geography. These contests could even be moved to the Metaverse.
The fashion industry will be more democratic and will allow more creative fashion designers to participate.
Although selling clothes online is cheaper than running a brick and mortar store, aspiring designers must reach their target audience. This is why they need digital tools. Designers who are not yet known to consumers are often viewed with suspicion. It takes a lot of effort to change the minds of consumers.
Predicting the future might seem like an impossible task, since predictions aren’t always accurate. There are always black swans that will appear in the future and make a difference. AR’s ability to improve ecommerce is not a prediction, as it’s already happening.
This technology is being explored by the most forward-thinking retailers and brands. They see the potential for it to solve their problems and open up new possibilities.