Fashion Technology

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Notify Nearby
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A new study released by Planet Retail and Wipro affirms that retailers must provide meaningful customer experiences in order to achieve results.

‘The Era of the Individual: Unleashing the Power of ME’ contains some key takeaways – as noted in our CES 2016 report, pressure is mounting on bricks-and-mortar retailers to deliver high-quality customer experiences. So how can stores use tech to revolutionise their businesses, and avoid getting caught in the trap of using tech for tech’s sake?

Approaching Beacon Technology the Right Way

Although it’s been on the scene for a while, the ability of beacon technology to connect with consumers shouldn’t be underestimated. One start-up, Notify Nearby, uses the technology in conjunction with its iOS app to deliver targeted information to customers about the stores that they shop in.

With participants like DKNY, Reiss, Uniqlo, Saks and Nike on board, Notify Nearby is fashion-specific and claims it doesn’t bombard users with ads or promotional content, unlike other apps. A push notification is sent whenever they pass a beacon from one of the participating stores, using targeted information to alert the user of the retailer’s latest updates – be they coupons, flash sales or product launches.

Seamless Online-Offline Transition

With all the industry’s talk of omni-channel retail, one point is abundantly clear: the customer’s transition between a brand’s online and offline worlds should be seamless.

Creating a strong in-store presence has the potential to reduce the numbers of ‘showrooming’ customers (who come in-store solely to browse, before heading home to purchase online). Retailers can tackle this in various ways, such as matching online prices, allowing a speedy click-and-collect service, or incorporating tech in-store with impressive concepts like magic mirrors and interactive fitting rooms.

Making a Strong Workforce Stronger

It’s no secret that taking the time to recruit high-calibre salespeople pays off in the form of happier, more satisfied customers. Self-service checkouts and other ‘people-free’ technology may work well in supermarkets, but in fashion, a more personable approach is what really drives sales.

The answer, then, is to use technology to make fashion retail’s workforce stronger, rather than replace it altogether. The use of tablets (enabling staff to view a customer’s purchase history in order to make tailored product recommendations, for example) and mobile POS systems can be used in stores to wow people on both sides of the cash desk.

Continue the discussion on Revolutionary Tech Vs. Tech for Tech’s Sake at our London Summit on May 17-18. Book your super early-bird ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

A Kickstarter project is seeking funding to create the world’s first 3D fabric printer. Electroloom’s fundraising page states: “Design and create seamless, ready-to-wear garments based on custom 3D geometries. All from your desktop. No sewing required.”

Based in San Francisco, the start-up’s technology will enable consumers to design and manufacture garments from scratch, with only basic computer-aided design skills needed to create patterns for the Electroloom 3D fabric printer.

Electric fields guide a polyester and cotton blend solution over the user’s custom-made mould, where the nano-fibres bind together to create the fabric. Once removed, it behaves exactly like traditionally woven material – flexing, draping and folding as desired. Early demonstrations have so far produced skirts, shift dresses and a men’s tank top.

As more 3D printers enter consumers’ homes, we expect further advances in the field to drastically alter the way we engage with brands, fostering co-creation and disrupting the traditional supply chain.

At this year’s Decoded Fashion London Summit, speakers such as Joel Freeman, co-founder and chief executive of fashion shopping app Grabble, spoke enthusiastically about the future impact of 3D printing on how fashion will soon be bought and produced. Electroloom’s technology could facilitate the downloading and printing of fashion designs at home.

Belgian fashion designer Bruno Pieters has also detailed plans to provide downloadable garments for his 100% transparent fashion company Honest By. “I’m more and more intrigued by 3D printing,” he said in an interview on the brand’s website, highlighting the ethical and sustainable practices afforded by the technology. “We’re going to have our design online; you will be able to download it, and if you have a 3D printer at home you will be able to print it out, or you can go to a 3D printer shop near you. So all the issues of child labour, animal abuse – they all disappear with 3D printing.”

However, at the moment, the process relies on synthetic or blended synthetic and natural fibres, raising issues regarding garment end-of-life solutions. Currently, mixed fibres are notoriously difficult to recycle and polyester, while recyclable, is non-biodegradable.

Guest post by Lisa Payne

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In the race to synthesise fashion retail and technology, the consumer can get forgotten in the fray. Retailers’ investment in technology can often feel gimmicky, whether you’re browsing the racks or clicking through a targeted advertisement. In one of Molly Young’s Critical Shopper columns for the New York Times, she visits Rebecca Minkoff’s SoHo store, with its vending machine wall interface – describing the chaos that could ensue when ordering a coffee. Brands should push the boundaries when it comes to implementing technologies, but they need to address consumer needs in a useful way. In this respect, Minkoff’s adjustable dressing room lights are what will bring shoppers back.

At our London Summit, you will find a panel on this very topic – how to achieve tech in retail that goes beyond the gimmicky, and actually addresses the consumer’s needs. In today’s fast-paced retail world, being able to pick the right technology for your brand is key to delivering amazing, and long-lasting, ROI. This can mean taking a gamble on technologies that are somewhat under the radar – after all, who would have predicted the rise of in person Click & Collect as a result of online shopping? It’s just one trend that asserts the importance of Bricks & Mortar that works in tandem with digital spaces. Our panel will address all this, as well as highlight a newer technologies that is likely to make waves in an increasing number of retail stores soon: beacons technology.

On hand to discuss these emerging technologies in the retail space will be four experts who have taken interesting approaches to how they’ve incorporated technology into their omnichannel strategy. From the traditional high street-turned-digital players, we will hear from River Island’s Doug Gardner and John Lewis’s John Vary. Harvey Nichols’ multi-Channel Director Sandrine Deveaux will also be revealing how she applied her tech background to turn a London-based department store steeped in tradition into a leading online fashion destination.

Catch the panel discussion on 20 May to discover how our experts believe fashion can get a grip on technology while keeping the consumer a priority – no gimmicks allowed.
Book your ticket for the London Summit here

Reported by Claire Healy


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3. Kenzo Hosts A Digital Pop-Up In Paris To Benefit Marine Life

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