Fashion or clothing has long been one of the few categories (including grocery) to have resisted ecommerce to an extent. We all bought books, electronics and so-on from very early on without hesitation but clothing was something we wanted to ‘touch’ before buying. Not any more. Many people are saying Amazon will become America’s largest clothing retailer, an astonishing thing given the number of physical outlets the likes of Walmart, Gap etc have. And it seems everyone agrees that ecommerce and fashion are finally getting together. From the FT:
“The whole thing is blurring,” says John Smith, chief operating officer of Burberry, the luxury retailer. “Electronic commerce sites are going to start having social platforms, and social networks will introduce commerce.”
From the same article, a telling interview with a young consumer:
Lara Persell, a 19-year-old student at Loughborough University, follows Victoria Beckham and British reality television stars on Instagram for fashion inspiration. But she also follows retailers such as Zara. “I like to emulate the luxury fashion brands. Seeing what new styles have come into the high street shops, via Instagram, helps me decide what I may want to buy,” she says.
Publications like magazines have traditionally influenced fashion buyers and now the Internet based social media largely replaces this. But what’s different with social media is that it’s inherently benefits Internet first retailers – those that have the best websites and best technology. As the articles notes, retailers that don’t do ecommerce will suffer and become less connected to consumers. There’s no way around it – retailers must do ecommerce and none more so than fashion where trends change faster than any other category.