Few fashion businesses can survive in the current market without a strong digital proposition.
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Competition in the market has increased exponentially as multichannel retailers fight to keep up with their pureplay counterparts. Even Primark, which has so far stuck firmly to its non-transactional online approach, invests in its content-led digital platform, and uses social channels to generate engagement and brand advocates.
We’ve witnessed what can happen to businesses that fail to evolve their digital offer. Last week, New Look revealed that its own website sales were down 15% year on year for the 39 weeks to 23 December, contributing to an overall drop in sales.
Digital is such an integral part of the customer journey – and one that is evolving at a rapid pace, as new technologies continually come to the market.
The digital start-up community is huge. The challenge for retailers is to decipher which businesses can assist them in their digital growth. The choice can be overwhelming: the key is to ensure what retailers do digitally fits into their overall strategy, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of every innovation.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and visual search are beginning to transform the customer experience, but this must not come at the cost of a seamless multichannel experience. Having a single view of customer and stock can have an extremely positive impact on sales. Those retailers building an agile structure will be set for long-term, sustainable advancements in the digital arena.
In celebration of those already achieving in this sector, this week we announce the Drapers Digital Awards 2018 shortlist. These are the businesses really pushing the digital boundaries, whether by using new technologies in store, launching an engaging digital marketing campaign or creating a seamless multichannel customer experience. They have put digital innovation at the forefront of their strategies while keeping their focus on the customer and product, giving them the competitive edge.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner, which will take place during the Drapers Digital Festival in London on 26 April. To book, go to