2019 saw fashion brands and retailers testing new technologies and developing new business models. 2020 will see them identifying, and scaling, practical use-cases.
Last year’s fashion-tech investments followed shifting trends in customer behaviour. Developments in data and AI led to new programs from the likes of Kering and Yoox Net-a-Porter aimed to better deliver what customers want, including smarter omnichannel shopping journeys, advanced clienteling and data-informed product development and merchandising. An increasing appetite for newness that doesn’t create waste led to a slew of rental and resale models: Urban Outfitters Inc. launched rental service Nuuly; luxury brands like Burberry inked official partnerships with The RealReal and other resale sites. Pushing that trend forward, brands like Louis Vuitton and Farfetch experimented with digital designs through the world of gaming.
This year, brands will continue to eschew big, tech-centric launches in favour of incremental tests, and they will build on what worked best in 2019’s year of experimentation. Based on momentum from many of last year’s emerging themes, here are the technologies and trends expected to make headlines in the year ahead.
Influencer marketing could benefit from a data squeeze.As data literacy matures, so does consumer and governmental awareness of data privacy. California’s new Consumer Privacy Actbuilds on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which gives people more control over the usage of their data, and Apple is making it harder for third parties to gather data. Thus, Forrester predicts that “2020 will be a bad year for third-party data and a good year for marketers who take consumer privacy seriously.”
Brands will have to limit reliance on aggregated third-party data to target customers, Forrester says, which might result in decreasing data-informed personalisation efforts. Instead, brands should seek to build authentic connections through influencer marketing, especially as Instagram builds tools to help brands create targeted influencer campaigns based on ideal audience.
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