"From Designing to Merchandising: How Technology is Regulating the E-commerce Industry?"
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Technology has touched every part of the world and every industry. It is not a surprise that fashion is not left behind. The finger of Artificial Intelligence or AI as we call it is pervading every aspect of the fashion retail industry; from designing, merchandising, branding and event marketing and sales. The overall supply chain is run by AI today. At every stage, cutting edge technology is being implemented to propel the outcome to be faster and more accurate.
We do not readily associate technology with the fashion industry, but the insidious march has begun. More and more fashion brands are using deep tech to spot trending designs, customer preferences and shopping patterns. Data gathering could include the browsing patterns for sizes, cuts and colours that are popular. AI can be used to analyze what the customer is looking for and help the brand to design clothes that customers want to buy.
Effective inventory management is a pain point for most fashion brands. Manufacturers need to create more of the designs that sell most and retailers need to stock designs that they can sell. Unsold stocks can put a strain on cash reserves and also the environment. Hence, Predicting demand is the most appropriate tool to narrow this gap of unsold inventory. Machine learning algorithms use historical data to reach these decisions. AI can be used for prediction and demand forecasting. The use of algorithms solves the industry-wide pain point. There are tools out there that can reduce forecasting errors and save inventory disasters by more than 50per cent.
Technology has the power to streamline and automate tasks that consume much time. Websites are a means to display your design portfolio and even sell your goods online. E-commerce websites can be a way to improve visibility and create a buzz in the industry. The digital world knows no geographical boundaries, and the possibilities of worldwide recognition, brand recall and sales is enormous. In a completely online scenario, Smart chat bots can help customers find their ideal fit, style or fabric. Customer preferences, size can be retained and used to enhance customer delight. Customer queries can also be handled similarly. It is a great way to add the human touch to the online shopping experience.
Usage of Data
AI can record data that can be used as leads to run marketing campaigns. The data is analyzed, and targeted mailers and notifications can be sent to customers about the availability of a particular style, colour or design they were looking for. The customer loves the personalization of their browsing patterns as it saves them time spent in browsing hundreds of designs that they are not interested in.
Return of Goods
Another pressure on fashion bottom lines is the return of goods. The turnaround time for apparel returns is perhaps the longest in the fashion industry. The trend can change and make the garment redundant in the inventory. The other concern is if the apparel is returned in less than perfect condition, it is rejected as damaged goods. Technology can help retailers personalize the shopping experience. This has been found to be super useful in reducing the quantum of returns. Tech can suggest based on the past buying experience of the customer to help minimize returns and increase customer satisfaction.
Many fashion tech brands are using deep tech to provide the best shopping experience and aim to give themselves a competitive edge in the crowded fashion scene. The future of fashion will undoubtedly be shaped with advancements in machine learning technology. Technology will help leverage inventory efficiency, reduce costs, and at the same time, create a best in the class shopping experience for the consumer.