After a year of pandemic, social distancing measures have required many fashion retailers to adapt to new changes. The fashion industry after COVID-19 needs to pay attention to new emerging trends more than ever, and these are some of the changes that should be noted, compared to the pre-covid era:
What has changed?
The big shift to online shopping
Social distancing rules and lockdown restrictions have resulted in more online shopping. Online sales in the US have increased by nearly 50% at the peak of the pandemic, which could be explained by the fact that customers stay home most of the time. Shopping via an e-commerce site has become a new routine, where choosing and purchasing products can happen just by scrolling and a few clicks.
Researchers even predicted that by 2023, nearly 91% of the US population will have been involved in online shopping activities. Without a doubt, E-commerce has become the new common tool for fashion industry after COVID-19.
More automation needed in the management system
Online shopping behaviors does not mean that in-store shopping becomes less important and consumers will no longer go to offline stores. This requires fashion retailers to strike a balance between online-offline platforms, and use a consistent management system.
In fact, curbside pickup (buy online, pick up at store) is also becoming more popular after 1 year of pandemic, with an increase by 208% between April 1 and April 20 in 2020. The growth in hybrid ways of shopping requires fashion retailers to make use of digitalization.
Some benefits of digitalization have become more visible, namely self-checkout, inventory management, kiosk ordering, etc. This is because employees have to maintain restricted human exposure, and the help of automation is key to maintain a safe and efficient working environment.
More ethical marketing
COVID-19 has negatively affected human connections, which leads fashion retailers to market their products in a more ethical way than before. While the pre-covid period saw a straight-to-the-point way of marketing, fashion marketers now focus more on building a relationship with their customers, by using emotions and empathy in their communication strategies.
Decreased quality of life has resulted in stricter purchasing decisions. For this reason, more thought-provoking ways of advertising can help to reconnect and persuade difficult customers. They could cover ethical topics such as sustainability, human rights or recovery after the pandemic. An effective way to spread these messages is via multiple platforms, namely website, social media or digital newsletter.
The future of retail businesses
Social distancing rules have clearly transformed the fashion industry after COVID-19 in an irreversible way. The ‘new normal’ life has led to new shopping behaviors and stricter customers, which requires businesses to timely adapt to the latest trends.
E-commerce has become the ‘new normal’ for retailers when people are avoiding crowds as much as possible. For these reasons, the future of the fashion industry will be very likely to see a surge in online shopping and a consistent, automatic management system.