BrandOn Focus: “The customer journey is increasingly moving towards omnichannel: for an uninterrupted shopping experience, the challenge is integration”
Omnichannel, circular fashion, artificial intelligence: these are the new trends that define the Italian online market in the fashion industry and that emerge from the online focus “Selling fashion on marketplaces”, designed to bring out new online sales opportunities for the reference thanks to the intervention of high-level guests with whom BrandOn shares visions of business scenarios, between brands, marketplaces and institutions, which provided excellent Case Histories.
The appointment is part of the cycle of events dedicated to analyzing the world of marketplaces curated by BrandOn Group, the successful European company that helps brands sell more and better and internationalize online.
According to the latest survey by the eCommerce B2C Observatory Netcomm School of Management of the Milan Polytechnic, in Italy, in 2023, clothing records the greatest growth in ecommerce, together with beauty and information technology, with approximately +10% on 2022. The positive trend therefore continues this year which already in 2022 saw fashion close with a +9%, despite the gap with respect to pre-pandemic levels has not yet been filled (-3.3%), in a context in which however, online purchases continue to grow (+13%) and suggest that in 2023 they will be worth 54 billion euros.
So what are the trends that will dictate the future of the sector? This was discussed at the meeting led by the founder of BrandOn Group, Paola Marzario, attended by Costanza Pasquini, Head of seller management of Yoox, Andrea Dell’Olio, Digital Marketplace Manager of Boggi Milano, Angela Condoleo, E-Commerce Manager of La Martina, Javier Gurney, EMEA Marketplaces Manager of Alpargatas-Havaianas, Federico Vittadello, VP Business Development of Highstreet.io.
Artificial intelligence: a transversal resource
Between 160 and 298 billion euros: this is the estimate of the profits that artificial intelligence could generate within the next five years in the fashion industry according to the McKinsey report “Generative AI: Unlocking the future of fashion”. Not only augmented reality: AI can enhance creativity, from design to virtual models, speeding up processes and allowing for the rapid processing of large amounts of data, with applications also in marketing, customer relations and supply chain management and logistics.
Paola Marzario explains: “Brands in the fashion world were the first to recognize and ride the trend of artificial intelligence, so much so that in April there was the first AI Fashion Week, with the aim of expanding the definition of what which is possible in the industry. AI is one of the most interesting trends of the moment and we already see it in our daily lives, with viral memes like that of Pope Francis wearing a white Moncler down jacket. Not only that, we see another example of application with G-Star, which launched 12 looks totally created with AI, which instead at Levi’s is used for pricing”.
Between shops, augmented reality and the metaverse
From Ipsos data it emerges that, if 81% of people know the metaverse, and if 59% have actually used it, just 35% of those interviewed can name brands in the fashion sector that have used it to carry out initiatives. Purchases in physical spaces show a positive trend, but with ecommerce still maintaining the momentum of recent years, with a 3% growth compared to 2019. And in fact the beginning of 2023 saw a +14% in online sales of the sub-fund compared to the same period of the previous year.
Augmented reality technologies straddle online and offline, which, says Marzario, “we see more and more how it is used for ‘virtual try on’, to imagine clothes or accessories on oneself, to visualize oneself with a pair of a bag. This possibility is already widespread in many marketplaces, especially the luxury ones, and is part of the broader theme of gamification and the metaverse. Another of the most popular applications is that of the smart mirror: much more than simple virtual dressing rooms and increasingly used in fashion but also in the beauty sector, as a visual merchandising or advertising tool”.
Making the economy, innovation and fashion circulate
Consumer sensitivity is increasingly oriented towards sustainability, but with it their awareness also increases and brands must commit to concrete actions to reduce their environmental impact if they do not want to lose their competitive advantage and satisfy demand.
And Italy? According to the ‘Circular Fashion Index 2023’ ranking by the Kearney consultancy firm, Italy is the fourth country in terms of sustainability, with an average score of 2.92 points out of 10, after Germany (3.05), the USA (3.32) and France (3.43) and pushing lower than in 2022, when it held second place. Transparency of reporting, traceability, carbon neutrality, biodegradable products, recycled materials, reduction of packaging, choice of sustainable partners, eco-design, are just some of the solutions that can be implemented to position oneself on the subject.
The founder of BrandOn comments: “Brands are increasingly attentive to the environment. We have Patagonia as the undisputed leader, which has made it the founding value of the company, followed by Levi’s and North Face. Levi’s, in particular, has begun to show in total transparency which are the sources of supply, the suppliers, to highlight its carbon footprint, as well as developing collections in recycled denim”
The horizon of omnichannel
Omnichannel is the key. Better payment systems and home deliveries, better prices and a wide range of products, innovative sites and augmented reality drive consumers towards online stores. A customer journey paradigm that straddles the two worlds is increasingly establishing itself: the challenge is integration.
During the event, Andrea Dell’Olio, Digital Marketplace Manager, presented the Case History of Boggi Milano: “The marketplaces were a new business for us, launched a few years ago with the ambitions of internationalizing and attracting a completely new customer base. The most important thing is to ensure that marketplaces do not compete with proprietary channels, but are integrated into a multi-channel strategy as one of the customer journey touchpoints. Online and offline can complement each other. For example, marketplaces can represent an entry strategy into other markets, to then develop in the country with physical stores. We found that there was no cannibalization of sales between online and offline or even between the marketplace and proprietary ecommerce”.
Angela Condoleo, E Commerce Manager of La Martina added: “The marketplaces today play a fundamental role in the business of companies and brands and their correct management in synergy with the other online channels of the brand is a difficult balance to find but which can bring great benefits. in terms of brand awareness, making the product known to different customers and consumers, and obtaining an improvement in performance and an increase in revenue. In other words, marketplaces are distribution channels that can reach a wider audience. For example in those cases where you try to position yourself with a new type of customer, as we are doing with the female audience”.
Federico Vittadello, VP Business Development of Highstreet.io concluded: “Ours is a role of technology enabler and working with different marketplaces we now know well how they work, what are the flows, what are the characteristics and specificities, and therefore we intend to help brand by bringing our experiences and trying to favor an onboarding process that is as fluid, fast and efficient as possible. In the world of Fashion what we are seeing today is a migration from the ‘concession’ logic to the logic of direct management. Brands are realizing that there are clear opportunities to be able to directly manage their offer both in terms of brand control, price and profit optimization and to be able to open new sales channels on markets where they are not present with a direct offer”.