Customer demands are at the heart of how brands make the decisions that drive the company forward. The consumer expects so much more from fashion brands – speed, quality, and even ethics. Fashion companies that do not keep up with the transformation of the modern consumer will likely be left behind.
Digital transformation is impacting industries across the board and fashion is no exception. The question is: how would a digital transformation allow for the fashion brands to keep up with the ever changing needs of consumers?
While technology cannot read minds (yet), it can certainly make extremely accurate assumptions and predictions about consumer behavior, all thanks to big data. Data derived from various channels provides brands with insights into the expectations of the customer. Interpreting this data drives concrete decision-making based on factual numbers, not assumptions. Personalization is key to the customer experience, and data allows brands to deliver hyper-personalized experiences by aligning the customers’ expectations with your digital transformation efforts.
The fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0 is here, and the fashion industry is just starting to reap the benefits of smart manufacturing. That will happen when you partner with a smart factory! Industry 4.0 brings the physical and digital innovations of previous revolutions together to create an environment that fosters productivity and efficiency. The smart factory is equipped with technology to make every aspect of production smarter. From automated sewing bots to RFID chips that can track the time it takes to make certain garments, smart factories allow brands to have data across every step in the process. The digitization of processes results in efficiency, which in turn puts your brand ahead of the curve.
A huge part of bringing designs from a concept to the consumer fast is quick prototyping. 3D printing technology and augmented reality allow designers to quickly create prototypes in a few days. This completely shrinks the supply chain by weeks which strengthens the overall project turnaround time. Not only does this save you time, but it saves you money by allowing brands to keep up with current trends without having to predict them months ahead of a time.
While wearables like the Apple Watch are the new standard, fabric technology is the way of the future. Through the advancements in technology, apparel is now taking on a whole new level of functionality and usage. For example, an Austrian architecture company invented the ‘Jammer Coat’. It contains metalized fabrics that repel radio waves. So while you may not be physically invisible, but it does make you untraceable to internet devices. The purpose of this technology is to keep your credit card information safe!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Dutch textile developer invented what’s essentially the polar opposite of the ‘Jammer Coat’. It’s a hyper-connected suit which turns you into a hotspot! Additionally a London based designer, Dahea Sun created a line of dresses from cabbage dyes, which act as a pH indicator when it comes in contact with the rain. It’s connected to a smartphone app and makes for a fashionable buy for environmentalists concerned about pollution!
Automation is not always about having machines replace humans, but allowing technology to make workers more efficient. The fact is that automation is the answer for any business that is looking to scale. As early as 2016, the International Labor Organization stated that a handful of Asian nations could lose over 80% of their garment, textile, and apparel manufacturing jobs as automation spreads. This means that manufacturing locally would actually give you the upper hand!
Local manufacturing would allow you to have a faster lead-time, as well. As consumers are looking for their products to be in-hand nearly instantly, a local supply chain allows brands to stay nimble. Suuchi Inc. combines our local supply chain with our next-gen platform, the Suuchi Grid, to create a faster turnaround time for the highest quality garments.
In order for brands to stay afloat in today’s market, a digital transformation is what is needed to keep up with consumer demands. In order to create the best product at a price point and speed that their audience is willing to accept, fashion brands must embrace the new era of digital transformation.