ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: What Now…? Technology’s plan to take over fashion retail

The first step was online shopping, and although it first seemed little competition for the trusty catalogue, it wasn’t long before the likes of ASOS became our go-to for a new party dress. The likes of Depop then sprang up on the mobile, followed shortly by increasing amounts of wearable technology (still not sure if I’d describe the Apple Watch as trendy though…). The question is, what next?

If you’re a fan of internet shopping, you’ll be glad to know the experience is only going to get better! With the rise of virtual changing rooms, it’ll soon be possible to (sort-of) try before you buy online. If you want to find cheap alternatives to your favourite Gucci pieces, visual searches are also set to make an entrance. This means you can search for similar looking pieces, with new technology analysing shape, fit and colour.

In store, you’ll be able to use body scanners to get a more accurate representation of which size you are. You’ll also be able to try clothes on virtually without even undressing, or personalising clothes by selecting colour ways or similar. Even from the outside, our high street stores will look different – interactive displays may feature in place of window mannequins, allowing retailers to display so much more of their content at once. App developments also include features that allow you to track where certain items are in store, meaning finding your perfect dress in store is as easy as online.

Finally, how we manage our clothes is all set to change. In an attempt to make fashion more sustainable, renting clothes is becoming a more popular choice for many. This allows customers to borrow garments when needed, which can be browsed for on online catalogues. Digital stylists will also become an essential tool. The daily struggle of working out what to wear could be removed permanently – with a combination of knowledge of weather forecasts, daily activities and clothing available, the digital stylist tool could be planning your outfits for you before you even roll out of bed.

There’s no limit to where technology can take us, corny as it sounds. Whilst the idea of virtual changing rooms and shopping assistants may seem a long way away, the exponential advances made in the industry mean it could all be closer than we think. Now, more than ever, those who want to keep up with fashion probably need to keep up with technology too…

Lydia Varney

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