Farfetch.com – one of the Multi-channel retail leaders in the world has invited key fashion and technology players to London’s Design Museum for their conference FarfetchOS on Wednesday. Farfetch has invited industry leaders to discuss the future of retail and where is it going and to define the model of the Store of the Future.
Led by moderator David Rowan of the Wired magazine, panellists including entrepreneur and music producer will.i.am, digital entrepreneur and investor Miroslava Duma, All Saints CEO William Kim and Head of Fashion at Google Maria McClay have tried to answer that question.
Personal tip: You might want to follow all of these people on Social Media as they are the innovators of the industry (even Will.i.am).
Back to the panel, we picked the most interesting takeaways from the discussion that will help you shape your own vision of the fashion retail of the near future.
Mobile is everything
All panellists agreed that the biggest recent change in shopping is mobile and it will continue to shape the fashion retail.
According to McClay who shifted from Gucci to Google, people used to bring fashion magazines to the stores and look for the exact product, today they bring their smartphones. While tomorrow, the stores has to offer the seamless digital experience
Will.i.am went as far as imagining the store of the future as a smartphone: “The store has to be as smart as your iPhone.”
Technology will win over fashion
“I believe that the future of the industry is in nanotechnology, biotech, wearable technology and these will be garments that are actually solving the issues of the people and the world”, argues Miroslava Duma, the founder of digital media giant Buro247 and a recent investor in the sustainable wearable technology.
From materials made from orange peels to artificial diamonds – technology will enable real change and will help reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry (some day).
“The question is: what companies are fashion? Are tech companies fashion or fashion companies are fashion? I think that tech companies are fashion”, debates Will.i.am and argues that old-school fashion brands are prone to extinction due to the speed of technology.
Consumers shift towards experiences vs ownership
One more unfortunate shift (if your business plan involves selling clothes to people) that all panellists agreed on is accessibility vs ownership. All Saints CEO William Kim raised noted that Millenials and especially Generation Z (the younger gang) are all about reselling (think Vetements second-hand market). They are not interested in owning fashion anymore.
“In the future consumers will want access to the experience, we don’t necessarily want to own things anymore”, agreed Duma pointing out recent technology based startups as Kindle, Amazon, Farfetch, Uber, Airbnb, who provide access to homes, stores or books.
The bottom line is, no matter how creativity-driven your business is, it is almost impossible to ignore the shifts of the industry and to rethink your sales strategies. Or at least start thinking about the day when your job will be replaced by a robot or artificial intelligence.
Oh, but wait. There is a human element to all of this as well. When asked if creative studios will be replaced by AI, the panellists agreed: The creative jobs will not be replaced by the machines.