NYT Dec 02, 2014)
When brands like Gucci, Louis Vitton, Dior and Prada are struggling to survive in a market where the luxury fashion market is actually growing, everybody should take notice.
That crowd is only going to get larger and more heterogeneous — both geographically and demographically, analysts say. By the end of this decade, the global luxury consumer base will probably reach 400 million people, according to Bain, and climb to 500 million by 2030. Most of that growth will be fueled by steady economic growth in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, as well as the proliferation of digital and mobile technologies that enable consumers and brands to connect with one another in new and different ways.
A digital revolution, most large fashion brands seems to have a “status quo” attitude to, have occurred. Flag stores and private showrooms is getting outdated. They are time consuming and often too much of a bother for the busy new high tech generation of rich people.
A fantasy budget for marketing is no longer enough to keep a market position. Digital presence and availability is the new mantra. The only question is; who will trigger the wave of change?
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In this article about Ralph Lauren you can read how the brand is falling in value and keep losing customers. Their relatively new CEO Stefan Larsson quits with following statement from Ralph Lauren himself:
“ We have found that we have different views on how to evolve the creative and consumer-facing parts of the business”.
“Larsson’s departure will come as a surprise to many, at a time when the company is attempting to inject more excitement around its clothing and products, known for their preppy styles, to attract younger consumers and move away from its reliance on wholesale and heavy discounting”.
The thing is, almost no young people today even know who Ralph Lauren is. Why is that?
I believe it has a lot to do with the transition into the digital age. People are doing everything online, both browsing and shopping fashion. There was a time when people was reading fashion magazines on paper or watched movies on TV, everything heavily saturated with branding commercials. Now, paper magazines as well as the value of TV commercials have dropped like rocks as people are changing to online articles and streaming Select Movies and TV programs.
Old-School brands are falling into oblivion as they cannot use location or pure marketing muscles to keep their brand valuable for the young consumer. If you Google Ralph Lauren, you will find lots of 70% discounts and not much else of interest.
Ten years from now, the value of a brand name will be synonym with the quality and absolute adaptation to all the possibilities of the digital media. It will not be enough to take traditional photos to create a digital version of a paper catalogue, as most do today. As a consumer you will expect a brick and mortar experience, with Artificial Intelligence helping to find your ultimate choices in a thousandth of a second from tens of thousands of fashion brands from all over the planet. A system that adapt to you and instantly show the best possible combinations for your look, taste and wallet. Today’s hunt and gather solutions will be consider as obsolete as it is when it comes to your everyday food consumption.
The future belongs to those able to see and to adapt.
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For the most part it’s about keeping pace with today’s consumer, a consumer
with an attention span of maybe two or three months rather than years, as
in the past.
There are literally billions of online digital devices out there
Even if the consumer is planning on going to a bricks-and-mortar
store, they almost always browse online first,” says Alf Dagsvold, founder of
the Norwegian company ItsMeSee, an interactive 3-D browsing platform for
consumer fashion. “To survive, the wholesaler and retailer have to take this
into consideration. It is not enough to have an online presence. It has to be
much more consumer-centric and use the digital possibilities with all their
It seems a digital footprint is the only way to accurately ensure longevity
for your brand. “Ten years ago, advertising had much stronger channels
to the consumer than today,” continues Dagsvold. “Advertisements in
magazines, on TV, and the Internet were largely unavoidable for the
consumer. It is not so anymore as you can record programs and let the TV
filter off all commercials before seeing them, and there is also streaming
with no commercials at all. Pop-ups and ads can easily be blocked in
browsers. Reach and impressions used to define how well an advertisement
was going and how many eyeballs it got. Over the last few years this has
changed drastically. Now it is about how much the consumer engages with
the product that defines the success of marketing. Product presentation, in
useful, engaging tools, where the consumer has all the control, is the only
way to be around the next 10 years.”
To this end, Dagsvold and his team put consumers in the central, primary
position, allowing them to virtually try on any combination of apparel for look
and fit. The combination of technology used makes the system smooth and
user-friendly. “The digital representation with exact individual body shape
and measurements creates a highly personal experience,” says Dagsvold. “This
gives consumers an opportunity to freely create their own looks but also the
option of receiving automatic styling suggestions from an evolving, adaptive
Brands working within the system have a prototype showroom that allows
them to see how consumers are engaging with their wares. Once that’s
determined, they can move the product to the Web store. “What we offer
is the opportunity to test products before starting large, costly production.
Plus, they then have a captured audience waiting,” says Dagsvold. “Regardless
of how good products are, getting to market is often extremely challenging
for someone just starting up. There are buyers, wholesale agents, and store
owners who are basically gatekeepers to existing infrastructure. Unless the
emerging designer is already quite wealthy, it can take years and years to reach
a broad audience. A personal Web store is often not a very good option as it
is very difficult, time-consuming, and costly to generate traffic. We want to
offer talent a real opportunity to prosper, without large upfront investment.”
It all comes back to Matthew Klein’s cloud-based PLM: “A digital footprint,”
he says, “if you’re not doing it, guaranteed your competition is.”
We are seeking fashion brands for our Pilot project. Please contact email@example.com for more information, or write a comment below.