Fashion Industry today is facing the biggest challenge than ever, to keep up with the pace of consumers. With today’s scenarios of lock-downs, where people cannot travel, they cannot step out for shopping and more importantly people are saving money for essentials it is very challenging for brands and retailers to sustain. We cannot deny the fact that COVID-19 has hit the fashion industry hard.
Product Development in Fashion Industry is a very complex process involving multiple teams, departments, locations, vendors, agents etc. It is important and crucial that everybody is connect and are on the same page with respect to the product development.
Technology can enable the fashion industry to solve the challenges. Below are some of the latest technology trends that companies need to evaluate and adopt. It is time fashion industry make a wise move and take the current situation as an opportunity to truly innovate
- Digital Product Creation by 3D Design Tools
Brands need to react to trends faster and shorten product life-cycles. Heavy reliance on physical assets that are expensive, not easy to share, lengthy sample reviews, duplicated data entry across multiple systems and the limited applications of 2D images for feedback slow down operations and make automation difficult. Replacing physical samples with accurate 3D representations allows brands to reduce development timelines and become more sustainable.
3D design and virtual sampling is the way of the future for companies who aim to shorten product life-cycles and need their teams to collaborate effectively without depending on physical samples and infrastructure.
The fashion industry needs to transition from their existing physical workflow to a fully digital collaborative ecosystem to cut costs, reduce timelines, maintain business-critical operations amid restrictions and open new work streams that leverage digital assets. There are even some ideas where brands put virtual styles out there for consumer feedback before they even produce the physical garment.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. Tactically, AI can be used to automate repetitive processes. More strategically, it can be applied as a predictive analytics weapon, providing meaningful insights to specific pain points and use cases. Below are some of the major use uses of AI
- Supply Chain and Demand Projection, Reducing logistics and Shipping cost by improving the Routes
- Designing Clothes: Data can be fed to AI software to analyze it can help design clothes faster.
- Trend Forecasting: Based on Trends AI will provide the information what is a demand in market. This will help to more sustainable, AI solution will monitor customer activities
- Voice ordering: We all know that Google home is being used on a large scale, with the help of AI customer can easily place an order.
- Online Fashion assistance or Chat bot – users can chat with system and can get auto replies.
- Product testing prior to purchase: AI can be used to try on the product online even before placing the order.
- Photos for new Collection
Demand Forecasting – AI tools provides a consumer-driven local & Global fashion forecast and market fashion retail analytics, using data at internet scale covering brand, retail and runways, relevant for your brand using a proprietary AI-powered demand sensing algorithm, equivalent of millions of consumers’ market research of what they do, not what they say.
- The Transposition of Roles Between Design Tools and PLM
The front end of the product development process is focused on design, and 3D tools can potentially play the role of both design and development with PLM only used at the end of the process as a data repository. Leaping forward, 3D solutions could be the primary interface throughout the design process, feeding PLM behind the scenes.
The product development process is driven by creatives who prefer a design-centric user experience and struggle to adapt PLM systems that traditionally rely on data entry. IT is important for business to use solutions that are constitute technology suites with a more intuitive user interface that is conducive to the creative process.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the biggest opportunities reaching the retail industry is the introduction of IoT. A recent Retail Vision Study report stated that 70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt the Internet of Things to improve customer experiences.
Apparel items will have digital capabilities that open communication between retailer and customer – such as yoga pants with built-in sensors that users into alignment by vibrating they move through the various yoga poses.
SMART Factories – IoT allows the processes in the factory to learn and adapt in real-time and run autonomously with little human interaction. With IoT companies have the ability to quickly adjust products due to specific consumer demands and product Mass Personalized products. Because of the IoT, store managers, designers, and developers communicate in real time, so an order with measurements specific to one consumer can be made and delivered without interrupting the entire supply chain.
Blockchain is a modern mix of existing technologies used to record transactional information.
Blockchain is already changing the fashion industry, providing greater transparency, traceability and audit-ability along the supply chain and can provide the consumer a lens for ethically sourced products.
Blockchain solutions can create a physical-to-digital link between goods and their (digital) identities. A cryptographic seal or serial number acts as the physical identifier, linking back to the product’s “digital twin.” Brands can sell a product linked to a digital identity, fostering trust from the customer’s side, and improving the customer-brand relationship.
Using blockchain, a chip or a tag added to a product can be used to store all the relevant data about that product, including:
- Which farm supplied the cotton?
- Who made the yarn?
- What was used to dye it?
- Who manufactured the product?
- How it was shipped?
- What costs were involved in each step?
All of these ‘blocks’ of data can be stored on that product’s tag, which can then be accessed and verified by any number of computer users participating in the chain.
- Augmented reality, AR and Virtual reality, VR based apps
Mobile and e-commerce technologies brought about the first wave of transformations for the fashion industry. Now, we can look ahead to the next possibilities for retail, more specifically virtual reality technology.
AR and VR technology has given a lot to the Fashion Industry. It has risen as an incredible solution for retailers and customers.
The customer gets the opportunity to make the right choice while purchasing a specific material. It also helps them in trying the garments effectively. Also for retailers, enhancing the customer commitment rate can be an idealistic possibility. The VR Technique helps customers in narrowing down selections which will result in speeding the process of shopping and saving time. It becomes very user-friendly. It will also enhance the user experience through new features.
VR is an interesting feature of digital signage for advertisement and will also help in attracting crowds Ray-Ban virtual mirror.
Over time, these platforms provide added value to brands and retailers and can gain valuable insights through regular customer use, which can be leveraged to provide customers with a more personalized experience thereby increasing the sales.
- Virtual Fitting Solutions
Virtual fitting rooms have been around for some time. Some brands are already using the technology to their advantage. CLO is coming up with benefitbyclo, using the platform the customers can check how an apparel exactly fits them without having to go out to the store.
The platform uses technology to determine how a garment will truly drape, not just that consumers can also create accurate personalized avatars, to buy the right fitted apparel.
This solution can change a lot of time as designers can use the same 3D files from design development and production and leverage them for e-commerce, which can be further tried by consumers. Brands and retailers can lower sunk costs by reducing the amount of damaged garments from retail fitting rooms and also increase profit margins by reducing returns and exchange, while providing a true-to-life shopping experience to their customers.
By taking the time to reset technology strategies and road-maps, fashion business will avoid falling behind the market who recognize the opportunity to leverage technology as a competitive weapon. In addition, they are likely to avoid unnecessary capital and operating expenditures based on outdated strategies and frameworks, giving them an edge in an increasingly competitive landscape.
With this shift on the business model, manufacturers wouldn’t hold out-of-season inventory; retailers would no longer make purchasing decisions six months before they need inventory; brands would increase or decrease supply of their product dynamically based on market demand; and fashion would be far more sustainable. 30 percent of all products manufactured each year are never sold and end up in landfills or are incinerated.
These technologies will enable business to instantly validation of trends, Speed to market, win new product ideas every time, enter new markets & categories with confidence and launch more successful products than ever before.