According to Statista, the UK fashion industry is expected to reach £60.1 billion by the end of the year. However, 2022 hasn’t been easy for the sector. The rising pressure of inflation, supply chain issues, and sustainability commitments continue to pose unique challenges for fashion brands around the world. Here are the top four business trends to look out for in the fashion sector in the coming months.
Invest in customer-based market research technology
Conducting market research is a critical part of any business, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of using outdated techniques and end up capturing inutile, and ultimately useless, data. On the other hand, investing in state of art research techniques might come with a high up-front cost, but they are often well worth the investment. For example, MatchesFashion founder Tom Chapman invested heavily in customer research techniques in the early days of the luxury brand, and eventually achieved one of the highest retention rates in fashion retail.
The fashion industry is highly sensational, the factors affecting customers’ purchase decision goes a lot beyond just textile, style, and price. As the cost of living continues to increase, customer retention is more important than ever. Investing in the best technology to monitor customer buying habits and consumer behaviour is one of the best ways to future-proof your business.
Look into experiential marketing
There may be over 85% of shoppers considering shopping online, but only around 20% of all retail in the UK was done online in June 2022, meaning it is still worth it to seek potential improvement in the stores.
Experiential marketing improves the in-store customer experience by allowing brands to engage with consumers directly through participatory experiences. Whether it is a fun pop-up store or heart-warming in-store customer service, experiential marketing makes customers feel more deeply connected to the brands and businesses on a personal level. What differentiates in-store shopping from online shopping is the whole shopping experience – not just the product being purchased.
There have been many discussions around how traditional business marketing and advertising models are failing to stimulate consumption and attract new customers, why not try experiential marketing?
Jump on the clothing rental train
Meeting Sustainable Development Goals is at the top of the agenda across all sectors, and the fashion industry has been busy seeking alternative ways to reduce its carbon emissions. Rental fashion is one of the major sustainability-focused fashion industry trends in recent years. Even back when global lockdowns were in full swing, fashion rental platforms saw a dramatic increase in the number of people renting clothes and accessories. The founder of the rental platform By Rotation’s, Eshita Kabra-Davies, said that the number of the platform’s users had doubled since the lockdown in the UK, with the most popular brands for rental including The Vampire’s Wife, Jacquemus, and Rixo. This trend is only going to grow as life continues to get back to normal and dress-up opportunities arise again. We can already see the boom of the rental platforms on the market with some high-profile companies such as MyWardrobeHQ making headlines thanks to celebrities renting their personal garments on their platforms. It is not too late to jump on the clothing rental business train, and it is still very much a ‘blue ocean’ area in the fashion sector.
Push for supply chain reform
The current supply chain model of the fashion industry is flawed. From the sourcing of raw materials all the way to delivery to consumers, there are issues that need to be addressed to achieve a more sustainable, safer, and less resource-intensive industry. Excessive water usage, oil extraction, problematic labour practices, and the exhaustion of crops are often used to get garments to the shelf. We only need to look as far as tragedies like the Bangladesh Rana Plaza factory collapse to remind people of the importance of a transparent and ethical supply chain over cheap consumer goods. The current supply chain is also lacking in resilience, with issues such as geopolitical tensions and increasing costs affecting the fashion sector negatively even before the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As the current supply chain model crumbling down, how to build transparency, resilience, and value in fashion’s supply chain becomes effectively the question of the year for the whole of the fashion industry. And many predict that the next big change in the sector might just be a complete revolution in the fashion supply chain.