Roundtable: The Future is in Your Customers' Hands
Drapers brought together a panel of leading retailers including Net-a-Porter, Dune, Avenue 32 and Jack Wills to discuss the trends that are compelling changes in the fashion market.
It became clear that the fastest-growing channel is mobile. Another significant topic on everyone’s mind was delivery and the multichannel shopping experience with all attendees agreeing that for the consumer, speed is the key selling point.
Mobile now accounts for 65% of the flash sale site SeceretSales’ sales and 81% of its traffic according to co-founder Sach Kukadia, “Everything we do is focused on mobile first. We try to catch consumers on the move. We don’t think about PC or laptop anymore.”
Creating a Joined-Up Experience
How to give the consumer a consistent, joined-up experience whichever channel they use to shop was another area for discussion. However, multiple methods for ordering, paying, receiving delivery and returning goods mean there’s a lot of ground for fashion retailers to cover.
“A customer can come in and browse, decide they want click-and-collect or to have something delivered in 90 minutes, but the systems and business cultures haven’t necessarily aligned to that way of thinking. The customer is completely in control. Retailers need to be able to respond to what the customer wants to buy and how they want to buy it and work back from there,” said Robin Coles, Product and Technology Lead at HSO.
Cybercrime: Retail's New Battlefront
As always, cybercrime and data security played a significant part in discussions as retailers work to ensure customer information is protected.
IMRG and Capgemini reported that consumers spent £133bn online with UK retailers in 2016 – up 16% on the year before and heavily driven by the increase in sales through smartphones.
In the same period, the value of fraud committed in the UK rose by 55% year-on-year to £1bn. Interestingly, 22% of online shoppers admit they don’t check the authenticity of an online retailer before buying.
The Future of Payments
The payments market is continuing to evolve as consumers look for fast and convenient ways to pay. Tap-and-go payments are now replacing cash and cheques as retail shoppers use debit or credit cards or their smartphones.
Colin Payne at Capgemini predicts, “Cash won’t leave the system for some time because there are people who can’t access the new technology, but for many of us this massive change in the way we pay allows us to engage in the experience in a different way. In 10 years’ time, everything will be biometric and wearable.”
The Importance of Stock Accuracy
In a competitive market, fashion retailers need to make their inventory work harder to avoid discounts.
“From the customer’s perspective, they want to be able to buy wherever and retailers have to keep stock the same way, so all stock is available for sale wherever the customer is trying to buy. It should be seen as one channel with lots of different service points, whether it’s for a customer who wants something in 90 minutes or one who wants to collect from store,” said Robin Coles, Product and Technology Lead at HSO.
In summary, fashion retailers realise they must invest in technology to facilitate multi-channel sales and make mobile payments by the consumer easier.
Click here to read the full Multichannel Trends Report 2017