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Web Summit 2018: 'Soon there will be robots in our stores'

By Esmerij van Loon


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Lisbon - "In ten years time there will be robots in our stores, what they do there exactly, how they are used, I do not know yet, but they will be there, I'm sure." That's what Daniel Grieder, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger, said on Thursday at the internet technology congress Web Summit that took place last week in Lisbon. Grieger, a self-declared innovation junkie, made the statement in a short presentation on how technology and innovation are part of the American lifestyle brand’s successful formula.

About three years ago Tommy Hilfiger implemented a new strategy to make the company future-proof. Three core values have been formulated that are the starting point for every decision: The need to be consumer centric, the understanding that product is king, and the ability to adapt to change. "Some say fashion and fashion retail are doomed,” Grieger said. “But people are still buying and wearing clothes, the only thing that has changed is the consumer. As long as we know what they buy, where they buy and that they buy our brand, we are good. "

Tommy Hilfiger and parent company PVH invest heavily in innovation and aren’t afraid to take risks. The introduction of the ‘see now, buy now Tommynow’ concept two years ago was risky, but proved a success. In 2017, Tommy Hilfiger was able to record double-digit sales growth in all regions: +12 percent in North and South America, +17 percent in Europe and +29 percent in Asia, with total sales of nearly 8 billion dollars.

Now the company is experimenting with 3D design, in which the sampling of collections is completely skipped. New products are designed in 3D and then sold to retailers in the digital showroom. Based on those wholesale sales, the garment goes into production to be delivered directly to the store. "The process from design to shop floor, and consumer, goes so much faster, it is more efficient and more sustainable," says Grieger.

"We love risks," Grieger said in conclusion, "because the biggest risk comes when you don’t take any risks at all".

This article was originally written for FashionUnited.NL by Esmerij van Loon. Translated and edited by Huw Hughes

Photo of Daniel Grieger by David Fitzgerald/Web Summit

daniel grieger
Tommy Hilfiger
Web Summit