The events that transformed the world in 2020 are now changing the relationship between retailers and their customers. As a result of health and safety concerns and technological innovations, customers’ relationships to both physical retail environments and e-commerce are being redefined. Retailers such as Primark who have failed to adjust with modern advances leave themselves victim to massive financial losses due to the new ways that customers are shopping.
This contrasts with online-only fashion retailers such as ASOS and Boohoo, whose sales rose around 40% in the last few months of 2020.
The internet has allowed retailers to connect with potential and existing customers to market their brands in new ways. Many retailers are attempting to integrate elements of their online presence into their physical stores through software that allows users to try on clothes virtually or live links to events in other stores or even other countries.
As digital presence continues to rise, some luxury brands are even shifting the focus of their brick-and-mortar stores and opting for alternative methods such as flagship outlets.These stores act as a showcase to drive online sales rather than competing against them. Burberry for example, launched its flagship store in Regent Street which has since become a popular attraction in London. The store includes the world's tallest retail screen, 550 hidden speakers, screens which turn into mirrors, and a hydraulic stage for performances.
We are gradually beginning to see more retailers applying digital methods to their stores to improve their customer shopping experience and enhance their brand image, but it’s not just in-store technology that is being used to capture the attention of shoppers. Retailers are also starting to take the extra step to create a truly distinctive online setting, setting the bar high for competitors.
Online shopping has become a more private experience but one of the main challenges is that it is not possible for a customer to try on an outfit before deciding to proceed with the purchase. In order to address this issue, some retailers are opting for one of the biggest and most recent innovations in online shopping: virtual try-on.
With fashion retailers seeking to build consumer-centric experiences which make their outfits available anywhere, anytime, brand experiences must address the central problems that the last year has highlighted. New technologies are being baked into the customer journey at an accelerated rate, designed to ease friction on the path to purchase. Fashion brands are beginning to adopt online try-on technology like Zyler into their customer experience, allowing shoppers to see themselves in outfits in an instant. This Makes their products more widely accessible, reducing the need for physical try-on and resulting in fewer returns.
Since the pandemic began, over 60% of global consumers have changed their shopping behaviours to work around their new lifestyles (according to McKinsey & Co). If it is not convenient for a customer to shop in their favourite stores, they will go to a more accommodating retailer. Now more than ever, it is important to adopt new technologies such as Zyler in order to keep up with new shopping behaviours and expectations. The good news is that Zyler is currently looking to develop their technology and they are currently offering a free trial to stores who would like to evolve and modernise their customer experiences.