Continuing on their mission to introduce the latest cutting-edge technology and industry game-changers, TechSeri.es hosted their first Fashion Panel, “Fashion Disrupted: How Tech is Changing the Way Consumers Shop.” The two-hour long networking and panel event, moderated and led by industry veterans, discussed the developments of e-commerce in line with mobile and tablet technologies, the intersection of online and offline in fashion retail, and resulting changes in consumer shopping behavior.
While bite-sized highlights can be found in 140-character portions on Twitter by searching #FashionPanel, what we really wanted to know was: what did our panelists, moderator, and sponsor actually think?
How has tech changed the way you shop?
“I’m very busy – I’ve lived in cities like New York, Tokyo – so I really don’t have the time to go shopping. Technology has just really made it easier to shop. Just stumbling into people that are interesting and finding out what they’re wearing and what they like, that becomes an inspiration for what I buy.” – Rie Yano, Co-Founder at Material Wrld
“I’m a lot more likely to shop offline now. What I didn’t realize before was that the reasons I was turning to online was because there wasn’t an easy way to find what I wanted. You can go online and easily search and get all these options and you’re done. But now, having new platforms on mobile that really connect you to the offline world, that’s more likely to get me out and shopping.” – Sarah Paiji, Co-Founder and CEO at Snapette
“I do most of my shopping online. I’m a typical guy – I think the shopping experience in general sorta stinks! I make 90% of my purchases online; that was something that wasn’t available 15, 20 years ago.” – Bryan Wolff, Chief Financial Officer at Bonobos
“I’m more impulsive because I’m always worried that if anyone in the world can buy what I’m looking at, then it’s going to disappear immediately. So I always pull the trigger really fast.” – Claire Mazur, Co-Founder at Of a Kind
“I’ve been pretty cutting-edge: I’m one of these guys who goes out and discovers websites. I love the Internet; I go out and look there first. Stores, for better or for worse, have become a staging area for where I shop. I hope that what happens next is to find a way to marry the display value of the store with the shopping value of the web.” – Michael Prenez-Isbell, Manager of Emerging Technologies at Condé Nast
“Before I joined Gilt, I wasn’t actually even a huge online shopper – I was very much in the store. A girlfriend of my introduced me to Gilt and I was addicted to it within a week. But mobile has completely transformed the industry. The variety of product you can buy on mobile is endless; it’s transformative for business. Most of our consumers are at work and on-the-go, so mobile is crucial to where they are.” – Jyothi Rao, EVP of Fashion at Gilt Groupe
“I’ve become a much more active browser and become more aware of brands because of technology. I spend a lot of time on social media and because of that, I’m really aware of brands that are active on digital and I build an affinity for them. I’ve become a more informed and engaged fashion shopper than I was before.” – Mike Hofman, Executive Digital Director at Glamour
What is the next biggest opportunity in the fashion tech space, or retail space?
“Some kind of innovation in international shipping. As early stage companies, everyone struggles and is limited to their location because of the complexity of dealing with international shipping and customs. If there’s something that could really revolutionize the shipping process – and there’s many more opportunities for brands and individuals to become the store front – it’s a really huge opportunity that really hasn’t been tapped into.” – Rie, Material Wrld
“It’ll relate to offline – how people are behaving in stores. Offline to date has been a black box for retailers. There’s no effective way to track how many people are coming in and how many are converting, what they are interested in.” – Sarah, Snapette
“The mobile phone is the biggest change in retail in years – it’ll fundamentally shift how all retailers work and operate and connect with consumers. There will be applications around the mobile phone which make for a better shopping experience with online, offline, and in-stores – there is fertile ground for new technology to leverage the opportunity of being in the consumer’s pocket.” – Bryan, Bonobos
“Fit is something that’s gotta be solved. More and more people are going to buying online and there’s gotta be a way of knowing if something’s going to fit or how it’s going to look on you.” – Claire, Of a Kind
“No doubt it’s in retail, and innovations that have been happening have been amazing. Innovations like people shopping in other people’s closets, the combination of media and retail – we just invested $20 million in Rent The Runway, for example. We think it’s headed in that direction.” – Michael, Condé Nast
“What’s going to be the next big wave is around taking the pain points of online shopping and solving for that. Fit technology will be coming out to the market and be used on a lot of sites. We have to gain control on return rates. And another thing is around convenience – you’re going to see mobile wallets, one-click checkouts, and all of those things that really make the whole process a lot faster. On platforms, it’s going to be about speed. How quickly do your images render and how quickly does your content load onto your devices – it’s all going to be critical.” – Jyothi, Gilt Groupe
“Editorial sites are layering in e-commerce, and e-commerce sites are layering in editorial. All that gets to really in-depth branding and storytelling. The consumer is really fascinated by inspiration. People are less focused on deals, speed to market, and convenience; although those qualities will always be important, there is a new level of sophistication in fashion buyers online where they are focused on inspiration.” – Mike, Glamour //
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.