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Why shoppers are the new executives for fashion retailers

Why shoppers are the new executives for fashion retailers

Fashion retailers are slowly accepting the idea that they are no longer in control of the fashion cycle.

With trends now being dictated by the short attention spans of social media, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week has teamed up with IBM to help traditional retailers take back control.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week’s Lucan Creamer said data analytics would help retailers track customer sentiment, foot traffic, and what’s popular in real-time. “The bigger picture is to help lead retailers in developing experience-focused retail.” Mr Creamer said. “As we know from industry benchmarking, the bricks-and-mortar stores’ advantage over online retail is that they can leverage the physical assets through events.”

IBM first floated the idea in June, teaming with Vivid Sydney to collect visitor data, which can be used for planning next year’s event.

IBM partner Brock Douglas said consumers were becoming more open to the idea of having their data collected.

“Australians have doubled in their willingness to share their location in the past two years.”

He said shoppers had, in effect, joined the executive suite, and were driving fashion strategy and the ­product selection.

The new, reactive world could pay off in the long run, Mr Douglas said.

Unorthodox tactics


“Historically, the retailer will be buying fashion today for next winter. They were projecting and predicting ahead and telling us what its going to be,” he said.

“As a retailer, I can change my supply chain. The best of breed have a three-week supply chain, but a season only works for 12 weeks.

“If I predict the wrong fashion, I’m out of business for the season,” he said.

He said similar to the idea that when it rained, a retailer would put umbrellas to the front of the store, what X was trending on social media could be translated to some clever merchandising.

Mr Creamer said interest from ­consumers in fashion weeks remained strong.

But the event was turning to some unorthodox tactics, such as ­offering once VIP-only catwalk-side seats for sale to punters, and free yoga sessions to draw in crowds.

Gimmicks are working

If the fortunes of once-revered shopping strips such as Chapel Street and Sydney’s Oxford Street are anything to go by, the gimmicks are working.

Launches such as Emporium Melbourne, also a MSFW partner, were also helping to draw punters away from the shopping centres and back into the city.

Online consumer psychologist at the University of Melbourne, Dr Brent Coker, said “in-bound marketing”, where a consumer connected with the brand and not the other way around, drove the success of the most powerful omni-channel retailers.

“By interacting with a brand on social media, there’s more of a personal relationship. If if you’re walking past a shop on the high street, you’re not interacting with that brand, you’re just seeing what it has on offer,” he said.


*Original Article: