Fashion for the Future | How Will Technology Impact Your Clothing Business in the Future?
Our world is changing everyday and offering experiences that will forever change how we live life today and in the future.
With this new reality in mind, the way we see fashion will also change and evolve. Including incorporating new production technologies and offering more immersive shopping experiences.
The future of fabrics will involve a look into more sustainable and recyclable materials. Research is being done to provide customers with a way to obtain the fashion they desire without creating a larger negative impact on the environment.
From clothing created strictly from recycled materials to 3D printing options, the world of possibilities is endless and can even be a little scary when you look at the whole picture.
RECYCLED & UPCYCLED >
In an effort to do less damage to the environment for years to come, small sustainable companies are researching ways to use recycled plastic materials like polyester and plastic bottles to create something new out of something old.
Though there's a healthy level of debate as to whether this method is really helping with waste problems due to further processing required, the method never the less offers conscious buyers the opportunity to do something good for the earth, even if it's only in concept.
Another method used by green retailers is upcycling, using pre-loved garments and alternate sources, like seat covers, to create a new garment or product. This method involves disassembling clothing, fabric liners and even airbags to use as the fabric for things like laptop covers, bags and apparel.
3D PRINTING >
3D printing (aspects of it) was originally created as far back as 1980 and for a long time was inaccessible to every day homes, due their enormous price ranging from $100k to $300k. As 3D printing became more mainstream, the price followed suit.
Today, a small to mid-size machine can start as low as $199, making the unit accessible to anyone interested in becoming a hobbyist or starting a small business.
This type of technology may revolutionize eCommerce by giving the consumer the option of creating their own garment at home (like the replicator in Star Trek).
Instead of seeing something you like online and purchasing it in hopes that it will fit correctly, this technology will allow you to input specific measurements, for a custom fitted piece.
Once an abstract concept, this technology has become a very real commercial possibility. With social distancing and a complete change of the retail climate, 3D printing may very well play a pivotal role in fashion's future.
NEW WAYS TO SHOP
A new way of life has come a lot sooner due to COVID-19. Retailers have always looked for ways to offer new technologies to customers, but now that the whole world is under quarantine, these technologies have to be developed a lot sooner.
VIRTUAL SHOPPING >
Virtual shopping is an online consumer shopping activity in a virtual world, where a shoppers' avatar can see and interact with other avatar shoppers and salespersons while they are shopping in the digital replica of a real world brick-and-mortar store.
[Source: IGI Global]
Virtual shopping is not a new concept, but it was a feature that was geared more towards residential transactions in recent years. After COVID-19, social distancing is the new way of life, making this once supplementary feature, a possible new way of doing business.
An avatar is a digital version of the actual human user. Shopping avatars use your weight, height and face (optional) to create a digital version of your actual body.
Once again, not a new concept, the first avatar was introduced in the early 1990's by "ImagiNation Network" (the exact year is not known), with the first virtual version being created in 1994 by "Virtual Places". The idea of creating an avatar may have seemed silly to some in the past, but now could be a sought after way for customers to "try things on" before completing their purchase.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR FASHION STORE?
We don't know the future, but we still have a chance to compete by staying aware of the wave of new features and technologies that are in the works for being offered in the eCommerce fashion world.
THE UPSIDE >
As a small business owner, a major opportunity has been created to see an influx of exposure to your business. Whether you're selling your own products on your website or if you're selling via an app, this market climate is primed for making massive headway into continued growth. If you've already done the ground work, you have an edge over someone just getting started.
This a time where smaller businesses can actually gain the upper hand (even if only for a short time) over larger retailers by appearing to be more approachable. Whether running your own store or selling on an app like Poshmark, smaller retailers have the rare opportunity to appeal to customers by providing a more personal experience, which is something that is lacking with major retailers even when immersive experiences are available.
THE DOWNSIDE >
Unfortunately, this new exposure has also created many new competitors at an astounding rate.
Many people of are out of work, or have reduced work hours and are looking for ways to generate legitimate income.
If you're not working on, or at least thinking of new ways to create a more interactive experiences, this exposure and income opportunity can be snatched up by the boost of newcomers that have come to realize that the future of income will require an online presence.
The way to stay ahead is to have an idea of what's coming. Our world has been forever impacted for many years to come (possibly forever) and like with any other massive change, we have to learn how to adjust to stay afloat and move ahead.
This is an opportune time to learn new skills and find better ways to serve your customers. It's a time to incorporate ideas that will help you stand apart from the onslaught of competition on the way to the eCommerce world, by creating exclusive shopping experiences.
It's a time for personal growth, which will have a positive impact on your business growth. Stay positive and ask for help when needed. This can be a scary time, but it can be a successful time as well.