Fashion plus tech? Once a strange combination, it’s now becoming increasingly common and also necessary.
Working at KA+A, I’m immersed in the latest tech trends and new startups; as a member of Pattern, I’m constantly exploring and being exposed to what’s happening in fashion locally and globally. So when the two of these industries intersect, I’m in my zone. Each year KA+A makes the sojourn to Austin, Texas for SXSW – a music, film, and interactive conference. Much to my delight, there was an entire section of fashion-techie panels this year.
During one panel titled, The Fashion Fog, the group discussed how commerce and content could coexist online. Leading the conversation was Alisa Gould-Simon, Pose; Allison Kellman, Ideeli; Claire Mazur & Erica Cerulo, Of a Kind; and Lauren Sherman, Lucky Magazine.
Ecommerce and brick & mortar fashion brands alike, are leveraging popular social content platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and even Foursquare to create personality for their brands. (Tip: When it comes to being heard in a saturated social landscape, Lauren Sherman of Lucky Magazine believes in spontaneity; hit people with a tip when they least expect it.)
What you’re also starting to see is the blend of editorial content and commerce. Take Of A Kind for example. They immerse you in the story of the product, designer, and brand, and then provide the chance to buy from their limited quantity offering. Ideeli, a flash sale site, has strengthened their sales by curating collections of products around themes, rather than just brands.
Some of the biggest challenges for these companies is UI/UX design (user interface & user experience). It’s not pleasant for online shoppers to click outside of the editorial environment to buy. That red “buy” button may test better, but how does that fit with the brand experience? Or what about the steps for buying the product itself – how could it be more enjoyable?
And this is where the fashion and tech intersection gets really interesting. Building great experiences online through creative and user-focused design is the domain of tech-led companies, largely because that’s where their products live, wrapped up in services.
So what can fashion ecommerce companies do to create a more seamless experience? Part of the solution is getting to know customers better, and to deliver great product recommendations. And fortunately there’s technology for that. iGoDigital, a company based here in Indianapolis, has been working with big name retailers to guide smarter selling. Have you ever seen the “customers who view this, also view this” as you shopped online? Yup. That’s iGoDigital, who’s custom solutions power these recommendations. As their intelligence engine gets to know customers’ behaviors and habits better, they can help guide them towards products that they want to buy.
Fashion and tech – not so strange anymore, is it?