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A future for fashion retail

Fashion retailers can’t afford to put barriers in the way of customers who want to make purchases. Technology will be crucial to the customer experience they deliver next year.

The past couple of weeks have shown just how tough it is for the clothing sector. Young fashion retailers are suffering from youth unemployment, even online retailer Asos says it’s struggling against high street discounting and no one is enjoying the unseasonably good weather.

And yet every week we are reporting news of fashion retailers continuing to invest in one particular area – multichannel. It may not always be big infrastructure investments, but fashion retailers have finally caught on that technology can help them to make it easier for their customers to shop.

You only need think of how many fashion retailers are equipping store staff with iPads; and this isn’t a trend restricted to cutting-edge retailers either. Bonmarche is the latest, as it wants to offer store customers access to online exclusives and an easy way to overcome the barrier of out of stocks.

And Arcadia and Jaegar are just two of the latest to announce mobile developments – Jaegar’s mobile site has just gone live, and Arcadia has confirmed it is working on mobile sites for its brands.

At the same time retailers are using their technology platforms to overcome the stagnant domestic market and expanding overseas online. With the launch of its Very brand online in the USA, Shop Direct Group has signalled that it expects international sales to have overtaken the UK within a decade.

Technology can’t solve all of fashion retailers’ woes - not until someone invents an innovation that ensures weather in October that makes consumers go out and buy new winter coats – but it can help. And right now, fashion retailers need all the help they can get.

  • Drapers has produced a free report on the use of technology in fashion retail in partnership with Torex and Avery Dennison. Register to download the free report here

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