Fashion tech got retail, before fashion retailers got tech, so has tech won?
The industry thought no one would buy fashion from Amazon, yet from a standing start they will become the largest seller of clothes in the US this year. And it is not just Amazon, globally, there are other rapidly growing multi billion dollar fashion etailer giants in every region: Asos, Zalando, Myntra, Zozotown, JD.com, Farfecth, YNAP, Alibaba. The traditional retailer has lost track of what it is for, the store was a convenient place for consumers to get information on product, browse and purchase and for suppliers to distribute. Arguably, online and mobile now facilitate all those tasks more efficiently and conveniently. In addition traffic in the high-street has moved to time spent on a phone as the battleground for consumer attention. Clothes shopping has always been more than just a necessity, but also a leisure activity, yet with all this new functional online convenience last year saw the biggest slump in UK clothes and shoe sales in 25 years. So can retailers regain a sense of purpose in this brave new world, despite being overburdened with debt, too much space, legacy systems, org structure and talent, or will it just be the brands and consumer focused tech businesses that will be the ones to capture sales and enthrall going forward.