- Guest Contributor |
With each passing year the audience is changing – growing up, becoming more picky and meticulous. Marketing tools that were effective in the early 2000s lost their effectiveness a long ago, and the fashion market has to respond to these changes accordingly. Let's look at the trends in promotion, which were established in 2018 and will remain with us in 2019.
A complete personalization: custom solutions from design and tailoring to email marketing
Personalization was declared as the No. 1 fashion trend in “The state of fashion” – the annual report from McKinsey & Company Agency and Business of fashion magazine. Personalized experience has penetrated the fashion industry: almost any fashion company has changed its views on production and promotion. Some offered their customers a more customized design; others featured individual tailoring; while the rest provided personal recommendations and personalized newsletters. For example, Nike and Adidas almost simultaneously launched special projects to customize training shoes. Clients can not only choose the color of the shoes, but can also heavily modify the design of its individual parts, add inscriptions, choose different versions of leather textures and as a result create their own unique pair from traditional training shoes.
Fashion Tech projects have played a significant role in the process of tailoring and design customization. The Japanese project called Zozo has developed a technology that allows one to order tailoring of standard clothing according to individual measurements online. The process is very simple: customers receive a special Zozo suit by mail and make a few shots in it using the company's mobile app. The program automatically reads the data and creates a 3D model of the person. The only thing left to do is to pick a favorite model from Zozo catalog and wait for the delivery. While Zozo produces only a few types of T-shirts, turtlenecks and trousers, the prices are reasonable – one can buy a pair of custom jeans for only $59. Fashion tech startup AveEva offers similar functionality: guys have developed an online designer for sewing skirts, dresses, shirts and crop tops. The customer picks the style, color and material and then takes only three measurements. The output is a unique model that perfectly fits its owner.
Advertising has also become more personalized in 2018. No one will be amazed by personal emails and discounts. Nowadays special offers are created for each individual user. Artificial intelligence came to the aid of marketers in 2018. Technologies analyze large amounts of data: gender, age, behavior, geolocation. More personalized newsletters bring impressive results. For example, the Cosabella brand used the artificial intelligence called Emarsys to create email newsletters throughout the year. The program analyzed users’ behavior on the store website, automatically created special offers and regulated the distribution time for each person. So for less active clients there were reports of a 20 percent discount during happy hours, while for more active customers there was information about new arrivals. As a result, click-through rate from email increased by 60 percent and more than 50,000 users subscribed to the brand's newsletter.
Of course it is too early to say that the topic of personalization in fashion is exhausted. In 2019, the process will clearly deepen, and artificial intelligence technologies will occupy a large place in the industry.
Increased demand for technology: big data and artificial intelligence are changing the marketing
In recent years, artificial intelligence technologies have become mainstream. According to experts, 75 percent of fashion companies are ready to use or have already successfully used it in production and marketing. In 2018, artificial intelligence in fashion was used primarily for sales forecasting, merchandising and advertising. Major market players such as Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Zalando have implemented AI technologies in their platforms to simplify the search for goods on the website and improve personal recommendations and suggestions on related products. Meantime H&M improves merchandising: the AI analyzes purchases at any given retail outlet, prepares a report and then provides recommendations on how to improve sales for each store on certain days of the week, months and seasons.
Yoox.com has probably gone farther than everyone else in the industry – the company entrusted the holy of holies to the artificial intelligence with the design of a new collection. The technology has analyzed trends, brand’s most popular products, reviews, as well as publications from social networks and media, and offered its own versions of clothes, shoes and bags. The whole collection was sold out in a few months. And without predictions from artificial intelligence, we can safely say that 2019 will beсome even more technological and interesting.
Retail transformations: e-commerce merges with media while media blends into e- commerce
Today bright and inviting announcements cause rejection and denial among the customers. Attract and retain the audience today is only possible with the help of interesting content that sells. Traditionally, such content was by the media companies in their own platforms. In recent years, a new trend has emerged – companies have started to develop their own media platforms. In a short time they grew from small blogs into full-fledged media with a large audience of readers and varying content. As an example, one can recall the Asos blog: thousands of users read it daily and articles for the blog are written by popular in the US and Europe influencers. From the product reviews and topical articles companies moved on to creating videos and YouTube channels. An interesting option was proposed by Prada back in 2015: photographer Autumn de Wilde shot for the brand a mini-series about the romantic postman. It featured a cast such as Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts and Sasha Frolova. The title role was played by Galleria bag.
In 2018, the trend began to develop in the opposite direction. Media companies began to develop e-commerce functionality. For example, on the German portal called In Style, one can buy products that are featured in the articles directly on the website, on the publication page or in the special section «Shop it». In Style catalog features clothes, shoes, cosmetics, accessories and household products. In Russia, similar functionality can be seen on the Cosmopolitan website. This year, the site launched a special section called «Cosmoshop», where you can find and purchase fashion products from the magazine’s articles. Sarafan.AI’s technology also allows one to add e-commerce functionality to any website about fashion and beauty. Artificial intelligence finds identical and similar products from photos in publications and marks them out using a widget. The reader has only to click on the button «Buy this look» to proceed with shopping.
The merging of media and e-commerce already looks very promising: media has thoughtful and engaging content as well as a large constant audience that already trusts the portal. In 2019, we can definitely expect the emergence of new cross-media projects.
Sarafan Technology Inc. is a Marketing Tech company based in the USA and Europe. The company is a developer of interactive Advertising solutions for publishers. All the solutions are based on Artificial Intelligence technology Sarafan.AI that identifies objects in photos and videos published in media websites and searches for identical or similar items in online stores.
Photo: Sarafan team