If you love fashion and technology as much as I do, you have probably heard one of the more exciting pieces of industry news this month: Paul Deneve, CEO of fashion brand Saint-Laurent, was hired by Apple as their Vice President of “special projects.” While everyone is trying to figure out what the project is, I am excited about this interesting cooperation between the two industries.
As mobile becomes more important, fashion is going to have difficulty surviving without active integration. According to a recent survey by Compete, approximately three out of four people in a high-income group ($150K+) use smartphones. Among these people, 75% of them believe they do more mobile shopping now than they did 3 months ago. According to the 2012 U.S. Luxury Institute and Plastic Mobile report, 64% of wealthy consumers favor brands that offer mobile applications over those that do not. Furthermore, 71% believed that they are better connected to the brands after downloading their mobile applications.
Why is mobile so important to fashion, especially to luxury brands?
- Time is Money. Timesaving is one of the advantages of mobile shopping, especially for high-income consumers. More than half of high-income consumers shop on their phones while commuting, and nearly 60% of them shop while waiting in lines.
- High consumer demand. According to Compete survey results, more than 82.9% of high-income mobile shoppers spent their time shopping for apparel, shoes and jewelry with mobile applications in the last season, and that number is growing. In contrast, according to Compete PRO, the total unique visitors for Apparel industry category on desktop computers declined over the past six months.
- Shopping without geographic limitation. Unlike popular fashion brands such as Gap or Victoria’s Secret, luxury stores are rare. Many luxury brands only have boutiques in NYC or a few other cities.
- Shopping without pressures. Shopping in a luxury brand store can sometimes be intimidating. The “VIP” services provided by the salespeople in-store may overwhelm customers.
- Price comparison gets easy. Our survey results indicate that comparing prices for a product is one of the most popular shopping activities. Luxury brands change their prices occasionally and prices could differ a lot depending on location. Many mobile applications allow shoppers to compare prices easily even when they are shopping in the store.
- Rewards & exclusive offers. Loyalty card applications are some of the most popular apps among shoppers. One thing unique about luxury brands is the superior service they provide to their consumers. Mobile makes these services even more functional and personalized.
- More than just a shopping app. To luxury brands, mobile is more than just an application. A mobile-friendly site, text messages, and social media applications like Twitter and Foursquare could all be used as part of mobile marketing.
- Build your brand identity. Of course not many people would purchase a $2000 bag or a piece of precious jewelry with a simple click on their phone. Only 12.9% of mobile shoppers actually make a purchase on their phone. Mobile applications allow brands to focus on telling a more human story instead of merely facilitating online shopping. Consumers can receive information about the comapny, industry trends, and learn about the brand culture through a branded application.
- Interaction is the key. Different from other retail industries, fashion is about showing and interacting. Mobile can make shopping better and more fun. Imagine how great it would be to have a virtual fitting room on your phone!
- Future technologies lead to new market trends. Technology is changing faster than ever. With the release of Google Glass and Apple’s upcoming iWatch, who knows what will come next? iWear, iShoes or iNecklaces? What do you think the future holds for mobile and retail?
He is the summer Marketing Intern at Compete. She is currently a rising senior of Mount Holyoke College, double majoring in Psychology and Statistics. She is passionate about digital marketing and data analysis. Connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn.