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"Omnichannel" is the future of fashion retailing, says Aurora chief

“Omnichannel” will be the future of fashion retailing, according to chief executive of Aurora Fashions Mike Shearwood.

Speaking at the opening day of the Drapers’ Fashion Summit in central London, Shearwood said “omnichannel” retailing, a process by which all channels to market both on and offline are integrated to incorporate new technology and fulfil all channels from one stock pool - would be the key way to engage the next generation of consumers, who have grown up with technology.

Shearwood cited statistics from research by the Javelin Group, that by 2020 the web will play a role - research or transaction, for example - in the customer journey for more than two-thirds (68%) of clothing and footwear sales.

“What we do know is that the consumer of the future is going to be different,” he said. “The new generation which are being termed Generation Y, anyone in the 10-25 year age bracket are a generation that has grown up with technology.

“They fuse their lives in technology and we need to understand and cater for them as they are going to be the customers of tomorrow.”

As a result of this shift, town centres will be re-zoned to provide office and residential space as there will be fewer retail outlets.

“People will move back into the town centres and breathe new life into it,” he added.

Shearwood gave his predictions on what the future will look like for fashion retailers, discussing what Aurora, the parent company of womenswear chains Oasis, Coast and Warehouse, is doing to prepare.

Read more from Shearwood and the summit in this Friday’s issue of Drapers.

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