Our Associate Director of Product, Emily Hakner, spoke as part of a panel at IMRG’s Fashion Connect 2021 online event. The agenda featured data-led presentations from IMRG on the latest trends they are tracking plus engaging retailer keynotes from some of the biggest brands.

Here are Emily’s thoughts to some of the questions at the event in more detail:

How are retailers going to approach 2021?

2020 saw a massive shift online and traditional channels reduced. I don’t see this changing in 2021, I think it will only continue to grow. On average, retailers have moved 50% of their budgets to online marketing. While that has been very profitable for them, it has also driven CPC’s through the roof. So, you could argue that they are becoming less efficient.

In my perspective, there are two key things retailers should be focusing on. First is identifying and looking into any new or emerging platforms. A great example of this is TikTok which completely exploded in 2020. There are real gains to be made here, so creating a strategy that works can really pay off. And secondly, retailers should really be considering marketplaces, such as Amazon. Particularly for smaller retailers, if you can get your delivery and logistics in order, marketplaces can be incredibly beneficial.

When physical stores finally open, is the online dream over?

I don’t think so. The Economist shared a report recently where they surveyed different age groups about their shopping habits. They found that 66% of millennials and 55% of baby boomers aren’t going to change the shopping habits they have gained during lockdown. This has opened up a whole new audience exclusively online – especially for essentials.

In terms of fashion, I think going into 2021 we will see people heading back to physical stores. If you think about special occasions, people still want that shopping experience. For example, people wedding dress shopping don’t want to be buying online. They want that luxurious day out. So, although online shopping will continue to grow as an industry, there still is and always will be a place for in-person shopping.

Where should fashion retailers be focusing their attention?

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is moving stock that hasn’t been able to sell. While this is, of course, a logistical nightmare, I think a bigger challenge still is sustainability. 2021 is the year that businesses need to do better. Loyalty and sustainability are big issues facing retailers, especially those in fashion. We’ve already seen paperless returns rolled out across our favourite brands, but it’s not enough.

Customers are more likely to shop with sustainable or carbon neutral brands even if they are a little more expensive and that’s something a lot of those big-name brands need to look out for. Online shopping is only growing, and the sustainable elements need to be ironed out now to guarantee the longevity of a brand.

You can watch the full webinar on IMRG for more insights from Emily and the rest of the panel.

How does your business stack up on the BOSCO™ Index? BOSCO™ uses third party data and machine learning to benchmark your digital marketing performance against your closest competitors.

If you would like to try BOSCO™ for free or to book a personalised demo to find out how our platform can work for you, click here.