2020 is going to be a year everyone remembers, and not always for the best reasons. In January, things were looking rosy. The economies of the world were booming, and there was tremendous optimism around the globe at what the next decade would bring. Unfortunately, now we know different: economic hardship and disruption are on the horizon.
The retail clothing sector was already undergoing significant changes, even before the current crisis. But the progress that we’ve seen is likely to continue and accelerate as we move forward. In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the trends impacting the clothing retail sector, and how they will change how you do business.
We’ve Seen A Shift Towards Sustainability
Historically, sustainability wasn’t on the radar of most clothing retail outlets. But with a growing consciousness of the effects of human activity on the environment, things are changing. An increasing number of people are becoming more concerned about how their actions affect the plant. And, it’s filtering down to their product choices.
Clothing retailers are facing massive pressure to change the way that they do business. We’re not just talking about moving online, either. Customers are increasingly demanding that they use sustainable materials, such as organic cotton or bamboo. They’re no longer in love with mountains of oil-derived cheap fabrics. They want quality that respects the natural world too.
There’s A Move To Combine Offline And Online Stores
The future of the clothing sector won’t be entirely online. There’s still value in being able to rock up to a store and try on clothes for size before you buy.
Retailers, therefore, are going to extreme lengths to harmonize their online and offline experience. Even today, they’re doing a lot, from standardizing male mannequins across platforms to providing “digital journeys.”
Ultimately, customers want an emotional connection with their shopping. They want to feel as if the online experience has a genuine impact on their in-store experience. If it doesn’t, then you’ll need to up your game.
Clothing Retailers Are Putting Purpose Front And Center
Some economists have argued that we’re moving into a post-scarcity economy – one in which values become more important than stuff.
We’re sort of seeing this effect already with the rise of automotive companies like Tesla. It produces a fraction of the cars that VW does, and yet it is worth just about the same.
Values need to form the core of retail business branding. Customers need to know what the retailer stands for and where its ethics lie. While piling high and selling cheap is a strategy for some firms, the ones with the biggest value-added are those that deliver something purposeful to customers. Going to the store shouldn’t be about getting as many clothes as you can for the lowest price possible. It should be about doing something that affirms the local and global community.
Of course, clothing retailers can choose any value or belief system they like, so long as their customers are onboard. Being value-driven helps to generate massive amounts of loyalty, which is hard to achieve with price or promotions alone.
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