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The last two years have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives and how businesses interact with their customers. While the pandemic affected every sector and business in different ways, we now see businesses seizing the opportunities emerging in the recovery phase. Businesses around the world are increasingly exploring newer ways and techniques to remain more agile and purpose driven.

While the fashion industry is one such industry to bear the adverse effects of the pandemic, the brands are constantly trying to keep up with their customers who are seeking safe and reliable digital solutions for their shopping needs. A paradigm shift was observed as consumers shifted heavily to online shopping resulting in the acceleration of e-commerce even in remote parts of the country, with customers seeking variety, ease and comfort while shopping.

Fashion brands moving towards digital interventions

Fashion has always been at the forefront of innovation owing to the new trends and innovations emerging in this space. It is considered as an industry that is surely going to see an uptick and is pipped to witness tremendous innovation in coming years as new technology and changing customer trends continue to transform the industry in a big way. fashion industry can return to pre-pandemic growth. When it comes to online shopping, we have seen that today’s consumers want to support brands that resonate with their own values and offer seamless shopping experiences, besides fast delivery and return policies. With more shoppers taking advantage of online shopping, fashion retailers have to follow this suit. Fashion brands are moving towards digital interventions, making use of technology and shifting towards sustainability to make themselves more relevant for conscious and aware customers.

“The future of fashion is going to be online and brands will have to constantly innovate how they create and sell apparel to make it work in today’s digital world.”

Future of fashion is going to be online

Using Style Snap while shopping on Amazon Fashion

The digital world has altered almost every aspect of our lives. The future of fashion is going to be online and brands will have to constantly innovate how they create and sell apparel to make it work in today’s digital world. Earlier, spotting trends and getting access to top-notch fashion products from across the globe used to be a cumbersome process compared to what it is now- accessible at the click of a button! The most successful fashion brands of the future are not only increasing their online presence but also creating an immersive digital shopping experience with technologies like virtual fit or sizing tools, virtual showrooms and stylists. Fashion brands are also amplifying immersive technologies like AR and VR to allow consumers to “try on” items digitally from the comfort of their homes thereby, helping consumers make the right purchasing which also leads to reduced return rates. Major retailers are adopting virtual dressing rooms and bringing the technology mainstream.

Even consumers who make purchases in person are influenced by digital efforts. Over the recent years, influencer marketing has become increasingly popular, with influencers being opinion leaders in the social media environment. Influencers play a major role in the way we consume today, influencing the consumer buying behaviour and their purchasing decisions. Going beyond, several large fashion brands are moving to virtual fashion shows and events and are digitizing their designs into 3D prototypes that are easier to showcase; they can try these ideas virtually and float them with consumers before actually creating the physical pieces.

“One of the biggest contributors to climate change is fashion industry mainly because of its unsustainable and non-eco-friendly production methods. ”

We have also introduced technologies like virtual try-ons, brand-specific size charts, ‘Style snap’, an image-based search tool that allows customers to upload an image and get recommendation of products similar to the ones found in the image. In addition to this, the option of conveniently shopping in preferred languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and now Marathi, has helped further ramp up demand and build trust amongst customers shopping from marketplaces.

Demand for sustainable fashion brands

As consumers are becoming more conscious with the kind of fashion choices they make, fashion brands have also started to focus on implementing improved business practices and to become socially and environmentally responsible. Phrases like eco-friendly, eco-conscious, sustainable, ethical, among many others, that were earlier part of a limited set of conversations, have now achieved momentum. One of the biggest contributors to climate change is fashion industry mainly because of its unsustainable and non-eco-friendly production methods. However, the streams are changing drastically now as brand more sustainable fabrics and transparent manufacturing methods. Fast fashion, known for its ability to produce runway looks instantly and economically, is in decline in favor of slow fashion—pieces that are eco-friendly and designed to be longer lasting. Fast fashion retailers have reportedly seen a dip in customer purchases as consumers have started adapting to brands that stand for environment. This has led to an increase in demand for sustainable fashion brands.

Providing an innovative experience.

As we continue to get through the pandemic phase, it is essential for decision makers and brands alike to look out for hopeful prospects to grow in the digital space. Amazon Fashion too is undertaking new strategies in alignment with the current consumer trends and landscape and with an aim to be the most trusted marketplace in the country, we continue to offer authentic and exciting range of fashion across all price points and for all occasions ranging from everyday essentials to special occasions. As always, we remain committed to ensure the safety of our customers and we believe e-commerce is the best way to deliver a wider selection of products while upholding the tenets of safety and social distancing.

The fashion categories have been growing over the long term, and consumer surveys indicate a likely strong rebound after the pandemic. The future of fashion will focus on customers and providing an innovative experience. The fashion industry is constantly evolving, as changes in the future will create a more sustainable, customer-centric and efficient industry.

(This article first appeared in Mint Lounge on Feb 2, 2022)