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Visual search to AI: 2019’s biggest multichannel trends

Rebecca Thomson

Long-term success in fashion depends on brands’ ability to adapt to broad, structural changes in the way consumers want to shop.

In 2019, this means continuing to question perceived wisdom on business models, watching consumer behaviour and experimenting with the technology needed to create a brand fit for the future.

In our in-depth , we explore where UK and global fashion retailers are spending and what they are trying out this year.

Visual search, artificial intelligence, a single-customer view and agile cloud-based infrastructures were mentioned as priorities for many, while others are pushing forward with new and innovative store formats that put digital at the heart of their design. These stores are increasingly designed around smartphone apps, which connect online and offline – and each retailer achieves this in a slightly different way.

We also investigate how privacy concerns – whether over data safety, or monetisation – are starting to shape multichannel customer propositions.

What connects all these strands is the fact that retailers are continuing to approach the conundrums they are facing with imagination. But not just this: brands are starting to build in agility, experimentation and a mindset that does not fear failure.

Innovative, challenger brands such as artificial intelligence-driven US retailer Stitch Fix – launching in the UK later this year – are helping to change how we shop, but well-known traditional brands such as Levi’s and River Island are also changing how things are done. .

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