Wemanage Journal: dataFORMAT_03 Retail & Commerce Analysis
We have arrived at the third episode of dataFORMAT, the column in which — thanks to the data provided by Fashion in Process Research Lab (FiP) of Politecnico di Milano — we analyze the new trends and possible scenarios that are transforming the world of fashion.
The information contained in this month’s report shows an array of interesting topics, especially regarding the future of online shopping. The data, in fact, show that we are moving towards a hybrid era, in which physical purchases and those made on e-commerce and marketplaces contaminate each other. On one hand, the COVID-19 emergency has accelerated the diffusion process of online shopping:M48% of consumers in surveyed countries worldwide say they get inspiration for purchases when they are online, and 31% say they are researching online more before purchasing to avoid stock, inventory, and shipping challenges.
On the other hand, experience still shows shortcomings that the public would like to overcome: 60% of customers in Europe still want to shop in stores to browse and touch physical products before purchasing. From this point of view, the short-term future seems to take a “phygital” form: a combination of “physical” and “digital”, meaning that the real world could be very close to the virtual one.
Despite their meteoric success, online stores need to offer the customer personalized and proactive service. It is not enough to be present at every possible touchpoints with the customer. It is crucial to integrate online and offline channels, guided by technologies such as AI, VR, AR, and RFID. This concept aims to give fluidity between on and offline consumption experiences, materializing a total integration between the brand’s channels, an approach that goes beyond omnichannel.
The data that describe the behavior of big brands, in fact, already seem to outline this path: fashion companies focused on metaverse innovation and commercialization could generate more than 5% of revenues from virtual activities over the next two to five years. Brands can engage in the metaverse across five dimensions: digital assets; branded virtual clothing and NFTs; digital experiences (events in digital worlds); gaming world; platforms (asset marketplaces and digital-physical gateways) and virtual worlds (games or other immersive social environments).
To achieve these goals, however, the shopping experience must necessarily pass through customers’ awareness, which concerns both the methods of interaction and the virtues that a brand must communicate. According to the data collected, in fact, 71% of consumers expect fashion companies to deliver personalized interactions, and a similar proportion says it is frustrating when this does not happen. But fortunately, thanks to AI and Big Data technologies, businesses have what it takes to make the customer experience personalized across all the touchpoints. Another important question, then, concerns the values that companies must represent: 1 out of 3 persons from Gen Z, in fact, affirmed being overwhelmed by the number of social issues that need to be addressed, and 1 out of 2 are less likely to buy from a brand that chooses to promote the opposite side on social issues that matter to them.
The other interesting trend, which emerged from the data we analyzed this month, concerns a different sector but which has been showing strong growth for some time. Second-hand is becoming a global phenomenon, expected to grow 127% by 2026.
This report was also produced thanks to the joint study carried out with Giada Fiorindi, an illustrator and visual artist with a peculiar combinatory taste that merges the digital worlds with a more physical and organic reality. The artworks she created for this issue of dataFORMAT narrate the trends that are changing the market, where inputs and impressions blend into a continuous mashup.