BUSINESS OF FASHION: ARE FASHION RETAIL STORES ON THE WAY OUT?
We live in constant reminder of trends and breaking news with blogs, forums, Instagram, and Facebook overcrowding our smart phones and occupying our time. These virtual platforms fuel our daily needs and cravings of wanting to know what vegan meal Karlie Kloss made for lunch, or perhaps, following the new fashion trends from H&M via Twitter. In this tech savvy era, fashion retailers cannot help but wonder if their stores are in jeopardy of being replaced solely by e-commerce stores.
As reported in Business of Fashion, grandson of the founder of Barney’s Gene Pressman famously said, “If you give customers what they want, then you die…The fact is they don’t know what they want.” Pressman means to imply that a successful store would tell customers what they should be wearing (i.e. personal shoppers). This however, doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
With so many sneak previews and collection trailers, customers already know what they want before going into a store. After being able to research and compare prices online, fashion consumers are better equipped to virtually shop around for the best prices and deals. This act, that seems to have become the norm for fashion shoppers across various geographic regions, “undermines the traditional role of stores as arbiters of style who once answered the perennial question: ‘What should I wear?’”
Consumers now base their decisions off of Facebook posts, celebrity Instagram profiles, and trending tweets that leave no room for indecisiveness that was once prevalent in fashion. Consumers know exactly what they want and where they can get it for the best price before they even set foot in a store. Will this trend continue, and should brick-and-mortar fashion retailers be worried?