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Is E-Commerce Your New Stylist?

Avtar
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Inevitably, the fashion industry has endured many disruptions—and a complete revolution. Today’s consumers define convenience by being able to browse a complete range of items via mobile devices, apps, in-store, or desktop computers; access consumer-generated content (CGC); and, finally, choose the best delivery options. Fashion brands and retailers have readjusted their business models considerably, arming themselves with new technology platforms to keep pace with more demanding consumers and stay ahead of aggressive startups competition carving ways for- E-Commerce your new stylist.

E-Commerce platforms recommending The purchase of entire ensembles

Fashion E-Commerce—which Google India estimates will grow to $35 billion by 2020 (or around 35% of total E-Commerce revenue)—is the largest and most profitable E-Commerce category globally. Importantly, the segment offers tremendous scope to experiment with business models.

Show your clothes with your style and see the sales go up high
Show your clothes with your style and see the sales go up high

With business models like Limeroad in the picture, Styledotme and WithMealso belong to a genre of startups that offer personalized styling, a networking platform for people with similar interests in fashion, and lead customers to online retailers that sell fashion products recommended by them.

“Social media is the new fashion guru,” said Saket Dhankar, a former head of fashion at IMG Reliance who, along with other wealthy investors, put money into WithMe this year. “User-generated content like do-it-yourself hacks, mix-and-match and street-style experiments are aiding consumers in the discovery of fashion and trends.”

For instance, this is how a platform like Voonik operates. After downloading the app, a user has to take a short quiz to help the app understand her body type, height, skin tone, and personal style. The app’s algorithms will then begin tracking her online behavior— what products does she spends time on; which product details pages does she linger on, and more.

When sellers on the Voonik platform upload images of their products, the app’s system runs image-recognition algorithms to understand the attributes of the product such as color and design pattern. Finally, the app’s personal-styling engine, which has more than 10,000 ‘rules’, processes every bit of the collected information to recommend specific products to specific users.

Social-fashion startups offer various interesting features to suit individual styling needs. Styledotme’s app allows consumers to instantly poll friends for advice on a certain outfit and sends phone notifications to signal urgency. Roposo and Limeroad, in which Tiger Global is a common investor, follow a community and content-based approach in discovering the best fit for a user.

It's the digital age, everyone is on the internet
It's the digital age, everyone is on the internet

Gurugram-based Roposo, founded in July 2014 by IIT-Delhi alumni Mayank Bhangadia, Avinash Saxena, and Kaushal Shubhank, allows users to post stories— say, ‘three ways I wore my saree’—in the form of pictures, blog posts or videos. The technology revolves around matching the most relevant content with individual tastes to aid decision-making.

Limeroad has a community of at least 50,000 women, several of whom create their own mix-and-match designs based on products in the platform’s inventory. The most creative ones gain a legion of followers, who can purchase the products that went into these designs from any of Limeroad’s 50,000 sellers.

E-Commerce and Fashion Styling

A stylist puts together outfits – keeping in mind fashion rules and the purpose of styling. For fashion magazines, any outfit has to go with the general theme of the magazine and the context of its usage. Styling people depends on a lot of things – the occasion, the cultural/societal context, the brand’s character, and most importantly, the wearer’s personality should all resonate with the outfit.

Even though the fashion industry is filled with people who love working in the styling department and are always on the lookout to hire new fashion stylists who understand the present and foresee the trends a little bit better, but with the growth of fashion E-Commerce, styling that used to be done by humans has now transformed to styling done by advanced technology or bots even! In fact, you may never know there may be a person sitting on the other end, trying to figure out what’s the perfect outfit for you when you are sitting at one end, making yourself a wish list of clothes you need a recommendation on.

Consumers who are more conscious
Consumers who are more conscious, get inspired by the looks and style and then buy them from physical or online stores.

Being styled by a stranger you’ve never met may seem a rather frightening prospect, but online personal styling is becoming increasingly popular. A raft of services has sprung up from established e-tailers and new companies alike, offering time-strapped consumers help to navigate and streamline the often-crippling range of product choices available online.

Let’s take a look at ASOS. Almost 5 years ago, the site launched a service whereby a variety of stylists (both men and women) were made available for online chats to help you find what you’re looking for. You can follow them on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter and they also regularly post videos; in fact, it’s like having a stylist as to the friend you never quite knew you had.

From the IKF Desk

In today’s customer-centric retail world, it is all about the experience. Personal styling has been an experience that not many parts of the society have been privy to. It has always had a luxury tag attached to it. Making this accessible for every shopper in the E-Commerce website brings with it quite a bit of novelty. The flip side of most novel experiences, however, is that once it isn’t as fresh or novel anymore – it tends to get boring – unless really useful and at times, not what you’re looking for, especially when it doesn’t have a human touch. Apart from this, platforms like Limeroad are changing the landscape of Indian fashion digitally by making it easy for the consumer to shop without asking their friends/family about what looks good on them, sometimes making them a little less confident about their body type. With all of this on the plate, we sure know and trust the rising E-Commerce industry to be a game-changer and E-Commerce to be our new stylists.

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