The digital revolution has brought many exciting changes to the way that retail works. The convenience of online shopping today is remarkable when compared with recent years. However, the one industry that has remained relatively unchanged, is the fashion industry. 80% of clothing is still purchased in store, as opposed to online. But why is that?
Well, for one thing, you cannot deny the benefits of going in store and being able to try clothes on before you buy them. Yes, most online clothing retailers offer reasonable returns policies for garments that don’t fit. However, who can really be bothered with all of the hassle? Isn’t it easier to simply head to your local clothing outlet, try on a number of garments and then buy whatever fits the best?
Well, some digital distributers are trying to change all of that and to increase the number of people buying clothes online. Amazon is one of them. As you well know, Amazon is dominating the digital retail market and has been for some time. However, the one industry that they’ve been struggling to lead with is fashion retail. So, what are they proposing to do about it?
Ever heard of Stitch Fix?
Stich Fix is a $27 billion personalised clothing start up which has single-handedly revolutionised online clothes shopping. Their customers simply fill out a quick survey where they identify what clothes & styles that they like, and what they don’t. Then, they will provide information about their budget and lifestyle, so that Stitch Fix can find the most appropriate clothing solutions for them. Then, for $20, they get sent a box of clothing and accessories, and they keep what they want and send back what they don’t. It really is as simple as that!
How does Amazon aim to combat that?
That personal stylist method seems pretty difficult to beat, doesn’t it? Well, Amazon have taken that business model and made it that little bit more attractive. Having said that, the idea is still in its infancy and only available to women, so it’s hard to say as to whether or not it’s going to take off in a big way, however there is great potential. Here’s how it works:
Amazon will include a similar survey, identifying which styles work best for you. The difference is, rather than $20 a box, they will charge a flat fee of $4.99 a month. In addition to that, shoppers will be able to see what is in the box before it is sent, thus significantly reducing the amount of returns made. In any case, shoppers will have 7 days to use their resealable box, complete with a prepaid return label should they want to send anything back. Easy!
The personal stylist is the future of online fashion
The fact is, it’s quite difficult to stay on top of fashion trends when the industry is forever on the move. As such, there’s never been a better time for a “personal stylist/shopper” model to appear on the market. Yes, women tend to be much better at following fashion trends, and there’s certainly no denying that gay men are significantly better dressed than straight men as a whole (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “You’re not leaving the house in that!”. So, this stylist curated subscription model will likely be aimed towards straight men. What could be better than being told exactly what to wear, looking great, and saving loads of money while you’re at it? Perfect!
Another target would be children with busy parents! Kids are forever outgrowing their clothes and constantly having to find the time to take them in store (what feels like once a week) for a new outfit, simply isn’t viable. Having a steady supply of children’s clothing that will actually fit your ever-stretching sprout delivered to your door on the other hand, is much more attractive. Kids clothing retailers should take note!