Retailers must continue to develop their multichannel offer but product is still king, said a panel of retailers and technology providers at the Drapers Fashion Forum in London.
Richard Shetliffe, UK and Ireland country manager for Brazilian flip-flop brand Havaianas, said that although the brand is looking at improving its back of house operations to speed up customer deliveries, product remains “absolutely vital”.
“Customers want product yesterday and that can be a shock for people in businesses who aren’t digitally minded. We have to be where the customer is, whether that’s online or in store,” he explained.
Rob Feldmann, CEO of flash Sale site Brand Alley, stressed that the high street will always have a place in UK consumer’s hearts: “Shopping habits have changed massively in the last five years and mobile has been transformational, but the high street will always be the heart and soul of UK retail. There is something about going out and finding a fresh, new product in person. There will always be a place for the high street.”
Robin Coles, product and technology lead at retail software provider HSO, added: “I think in the future omnichannel will just be called the shopping experience. It will be about communities of people shopping in the same way and I also think we will see more ‘theme-shopping’ – customers looking for fashion based not on product or price but by lifestyle and what they’re doing.”
Both Feldmann and Shetliffe said their businesses had yet to feel much impact of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Shetliffe said: “We made it through the financial crisis, which felt a lot more like a battening down of the hatches. However, we do rely on London being a fashion capital.”