Over the course of 2021, the way we shop has changed forever. Although many new shopping trends are a direct result of COVID-19 and brands adapting to life in lockdown, countless changes in the fashion industry were already underway. An overwhelming switch to e-commerce, for example, has only been accelerated by the pandemic. Today, over 25 per cent of the world's population shops online. The numbers of consumers flocking to landing pages instead of the high street is only set to increase.
With this dynamic shift to online shopping and exciting technological innovations becoming available to brands all the time, the world of fashion and e-commerce is evolving and adapting at an impressive rate. Gone are the days of mass shopping in the traditional way. Instead, brands are utilising tech to create personal, immersive, and remote shopping experiences. 80 per cent of online consumers stating that new tech is improving their shopping experience. So, it appears that the fashion world is certainly heading in the right direction!
Let's take a closer look at the trends that are set to transform the way we shop for clothes and accessories over the coming years.
As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology continue to develop, our online shopping experiences are set to improve. Tech that allows the buyer to see what the product will look like—be it clothes, makeup, heeled sandals, or accessories—is sure to help shoppers find the perfect piece for them, while also reducing returns and boosting customer satisfaction.
This development won't only help in the world of virtual shopping; in fact, many brands already utilise VR technology in-store. Uniqlo offers "magic mirrors" and American Apparel has an in-store colour-changing app. The COVID-19 pandemic means we have be more careful about keeping our distance while shopping (if we choose to shop in person at all). This technology offers a great solution that allows shoppers to cut out the fitting room stage and skip straight to the purchase.
The outcome of the US election could impact the world of fashion e-commerce, especially in terms of social media advertising. A Biden administration is tipped to impose greater regulations on big tech companies such as Facebook, which could lead to more expensive advertising costs, but a potential boost for small fashion tech start-ups.
On a positive note, this move is also forecast to improve customer trust and loyalty. That’s why such changes are likely to be a long-term win for selling and buying fashion online.
Greater personalisation is the future of shopping, and technological advances are helping us get there. We've already discussed VR and AR, both of which work to personalise shopping experiences online and offline. But there are many other ways in which the fashion industry is adding a personal touch to our shopping experiences.
74 per cent of customers report that they feel frustrated when an online shopping experience doesn't feel personal. What’s more, an incredible 91 per cent say that they are more likely to shop with a brand that provides personalised recommendations. Judging by the customer demand, we are likely to see brands strive for greater personalisation than ever over the coming years.
Now that much of our shopping experience has moved online, meaning that we can't enjoy the personal experience of asking for help and advice from a shop assistant, we are relying on e-commerce websites to up their game. Chatbots are a great way of providing that personal touch, so expect to see them become more common. We’re also expecting more personalised offers on all your favourite shops’ websites in the coming years.
Finally, we can expect the future of fashion and shopping to continue to strive for greater sustainability. From ethical supply chains to locally sourced materials, fashion is becoming ever-more sustainable. Thanks to the development of more sophisticated synthetic materials such as vegan leather, fashion brands will have an increasing variety of materials to work with. This will enable them to keep working towards the sustainable practices that their customers are asking for.
There's no doubt about it, the future of fashion and shopping are in the hands of the digital world. As shopping practices evolve, fashion brands are listening to their customers and making sure to stay one step ahead. Exciting things are undoubtedly on the horizon in the world of e-commerce over the coming years.