What could future fashion customer experiences look like? Many of us enjoy a good science fiction movie, but have you ever stopped to wonder just how the future could impact industries like fashion retail? The irony is, of course, we all assumed that with the growth of ecommerce and online retail that the bricks and mortar stores would die out – and while they have certainly taken a hit, most of them survive; some online platforms have even taken their technology to set up physical locations. In short, what everyone predicted didn’t quite go the way we all assumed. Oops.
So what is going to happen? What could future fashion customer experiences look like?
I’m not talking about what kind of clothes we’ll be wearing in 2034, or what types of fabric will dominate the market, but rather, how are current technological developments changing the way in which we might experience future fashion customer service.
AI & Future Fashion Customer Experiences
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been the catchphrase of late. I see it in almost every email, newsletter, or webinar that floats through my feed. It’s been heralded as a golden grail and a curse – I mean, who can forget sci-fi classic Terminator (the good ones, not the bad ones)? I imagine everyone can name at least one movie or pop culture reference wherein something goes wrong with the technology and behold humanity is made to suffer for its hubris. Let’s put all that on hold for the time being, let’s assume that, for the time being we are safe and haven’t created any Cylons or Skynets or whatevers.
So, AI. How is it going to impact future fashion customer experiences? Well, for starters, it already is. Many of us shop online – admit it, we do! – and every time we shop online the platforms we use have algorithms that measure and track our purchases and wishlists. Next time we visit the sales platform we might well be offered ‘recommended for you’ choices or the like. This is the first step in basic AI – the use of algorithms to establish patterns. Sure, it may not be thinking for itself, but this is the first step towards that. As technology and algorithms develop, they get more and more complex, and they will get to a point where the code realizes that you’re not just into high-heels but you seem to have a thing for blue suede shoes during a specific time of year. Pattern analysis is fairly easy, adding in more complex code to analyze psychology and personalities is all it’ll take to make sure you’re seeing what you’re most likely to purchase.
Future fashion customer experiences are going to be driven by the changes in technology – whether it’s eCommerce experiences or physical ones.
Just imagine walking into your favourite store. The in-store AI picks you out from its facial recognition from your last visit and instantly notifies one of the available staff members who knows what your tastes are without you having to explain it to them because your last bunch of purchases – along with AI recommendations – have popped up on screen in their super-duper-AI-euipped glasses or something. They’ll greet you by name, ask you about your kids and how you went with that last outfit you bought. It’ll be a lovely, personal conversation, after which you both get to the point – what’s on the agenda today? Just looking or after something specific? The staff member will also be able to tell from your history how much attention you like to get – are you one of those customers who wants to be hand-held? Do you want recommendations and suggestions or are you happier being left to your own devices? Regardless of the situation, the AI will keep a watchful eye on you while you shop and if, at any point, it looks like you might need some assistance, the system will ping a staff member so you’ll be seen to quickly and without having to look for help!
Artificial intelligences aren’t going to be the only thing in our future, of course, but they’re certainly most likely to play a large role. Customer service experiences are already changing because of ‘non-sci-fi’ technology like chatbots and basic algorithms, these things are everywhere! All it’s going to take for a small revolution in fashion customer experiences is a little step in the right direction.