Interviews by Retail Gazette with retail leaders of some of the retail industry’s leading brands, provides thought leadership insight to the future of fashion retail as they see it.
Mehul Tank, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Hobbs on the current state of fashion retail said,
“I think retailers that measure performance by traditional metrics such as footfall and sales generated at location will continue to be challenged.
Instead, they need to develop a clear understanding of their customer and view stores and online as a seamless service. Retailers that view online as an after-thought will start to become extinct.
Similarly, we need to reconsider the role of the store and reconsider the metrics by which we measure performance. Brands that value their customers, design product around their needs and allow them to shop in a channel agnostic way.”
On the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate Mr Tank said,
“The impact of FX on costs and the resulting inflationary pressures will impact consumer wallets and consumers’ confidence. Under these pressures, I expect to see consumers shift away from fashion or one-season items towards classic and investment pieces. Additionally, the competitive landscape is crowded and we will see some brands disappear. All of these elements create opportunity for Hobbs.”
Jennifer Georgeson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), So Just Shop on the biggest risk to the retail sector given the current climate said,
“Lack of consumer confidence and inflation. So far, this year’s sales are better than this time last year. I caveat this with the fact we are a small and growing business, but I have just had to put up my prices for some beaded belts, hand-stitched in Kenya, by 25 per cent — because their pricing is linked to the US dollar and, given we are primarily a marketplace, we cannot absorb this price rise.”
Mark Reardon, Founder, Made in Global on the current state on online retail said,
“We are e-commerce driven and there are several compelling reasons for this. For example, FashTech is incredibly dynamic – with opportunities to marry deep insight and cognitive analytics.”
The fact remains that for retailers to survive and thrive, customer needs must be given centre stage. As consumers continually engage retailer through multiple devices and physical outlets, retailers are compelled to ensure and optimised yet consistent consumer experience at every touch point. This means that the customer experience must be relevant and personal.