Forget flipping through your Sunday paper to see what department stores are having sales. And no more grabbing Cosmopolitan magazine in the checkout aisle to be your main source of the latest fashion trends. Today’s consumer is smarter. Savvier. And online. All the time. From baby boomers to teenagers, the consumer now expects brands to know what they want before they know they even want it. This means even the previously traditional fashion sector is seeing a shift due to the digital disruption of a few perceptive incumbents. I took a look at three very different sources of fashion to see how they have successfully embraced digital.
In the past you might have thought them as “old school” or “dull”. They seemed to stop moving forward in a world where the term cross-channel became daily vocabulary for many. However, with the recent backing of CEO Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s is now well on its way to reclaiming a top spot in the fashion and retail world. With a massive rollout of various omni-channel initiatives announced in 2015, Kohl’s is living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Echidna, in collaboration with Professional Access, helped transition the retail giant onto Oracle Commerce and since then Kohl’s has reported increase of online sales. A whopping 28% increase during Q2 of 2013 after the initial launch in fact. Over the past two years they have forged ahead by incorporating more digital capabilities such as ship-to-store featuring Apple Pay, a mobile app with Store Mode to allow the company to send personalized deals based on individual customer data, and even an omni-channel shopping bag. Kohl’s has come a long way from its early days as a brick-and-mortar giant. Time will tell if their “better late than never” mindset is enough to ward off the competition.
Sweden-based H&M promotes itself as the shopping destination for fashion and quality at the best price. After an admittedly slow start to its online operations (it only took 13 years from the time they landed on American shores for it to finally launch an eCommerce site here) on top of being plagued by technical issues, they are now on track and enjoying all that a proper omni-channel presence has to offer. The fashion giant has plans to add 10 new online markets in 2016 and reporting sales up by almost a fifth in its latest full year, after twelve months in which it expanded quickly online. H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said the company would continue to invest in “the opportunities coming from the increased digitalization” and it is easy to see why.
On the other side of the coin is luxury brands. eCommerce is the fastest-growing sales channel for luxury, nearly doubling from 2012 to 2015, according to Bain & Company’s Global Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study. These high-end brands are able to use digital to change the way consumers view them, and with commitment to eCommerce and social media they’re connecting with a whole new audience. Michael Kors enlisted Echidna, in partnership with Professional Access, to create a mobile eCommerce solution fit for a king (or queen). They reported retail net sales, which include eCommerce, up 11.1% from the same time last year. The company largely attributes that growth to online sales, though it does not break them out. With a focus on growing its eCommerce business now internationally and stepping up efforts to increase conversions via social media through their #InstaKors campaign on Instagram, Michael Kors is well on its way to taking digital expansion to a whole new level.