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Slow fashion April 09, 2020

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Slow fashion April 09, 2020

How the COVID is shifting consumer behavior and will this be a long-term phenomenon?

Until very recently, online orders have largely remained on the sidelines of the fashion business because of the enduring belief in the necessity of touch & feel, as well as the importance of first-hand examinations of the fabric, fit and cut. However with the coronavirus pandemic a new scenario may have arisen in the ways consumers buy fashion. Is this time to rethink the fashion industry? And more importantly, are customers ready?

After these days of introspection, I have noticed that there are two main themes in the fashion industry that are poised to shape the future of fashion.
 
* People have more free time and are spending much more time on social media which some are using to explore new brands and take more time to actually see and understand what is behind them. And this is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their community by creating engaging and original content. 

Within all the pessimism and uncertainty, it is our responsibility as members of our community and entrepreneurs to not give up and keep working hard to provide all the help we can offer and inspiring others with our work and creativity.
 
* People that would have normally gone to a physical store have seen themselves obliged to stay at home and experience a new way of learning, searching and shopping. Many of them will not have had the best experience as shipping services are not working as they usually do, but clients are more understanding and less demanding than they usually are. In Spain there is still a long road ahead until online shopping becomes "normalized" however international customers are already more open to online shopping (especially in the UK where I spent almost 6 years), but now more people are willing to try since they don´t have other choices.
 
So are we headed to a more online-focused fashion industry? A number of e-commerce oriented businesses have embraced the opportunity to promote and reinforce their online sales while others continue to believe that the future is omnichannel (online and offline).

In my view both arguments have their merits. The omnichannel approach revolves around your customer and creates a single customer experience across your brand and channels. It also has the benefit of offline sales which have the intrinsic value of providing a face to face interaction with the client. This unifying outlook gives you a deeper knowledge of the client’s approach to the product and real-time feedback of what they think about it as well as the chance of developing a real connection with them while winning their trust and potentially their loyalty.
 
On the other hand, an “online-only” model enjoys a more cost-effective way of winning more visibility, market share and brand awareness. The hard thing is doing it right and even more within such a competitive landscape where gaining visibility and visits becomes the central concern of the small e-commerce platforms.

Either ways, the current situation has proved that online needs to be part of the equation. 

Online makes everything smother and faster and new users and brands are now entering into this fascinating world. Because even in moments of uncertainty, people go online. I always like to see what the winners in each field are doing, and guess what, Amazon is hiring 100,000 new distribution workers to keep up with the increase in online shopping caused by coronavirus. However, in terms of the fashion industry, even online sales have declined 5 to 20 percent across Europe, 30 to 40 percent in the US and 15-25 percent in China. Which is more or less the numbers estimated for the contraction of the fashion industry sector (27-30 percent in 2020 vs 2019, although the industry could regain positive growth of 2 to 4 percent in 2021) *numbers estimated by McKinsey & Company for Bussines of fashion. 

It is yet to soon to see the full impact of covid-19 but it is clear it is going to cause many short and long term changes in our society’s consumer behavior and one of these changes is an increase in online shoppers and therefore the need of the digitalization of small and medium brands who were previously reluctant to go online. 

So...let´s see you online!

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