The New Era of Retail

Emil Petersson is the Founder and Owner of Stories of Apparel Creation. The mission of SOAC is to illuminate fashion from independent fashion brands by conveying their ethos through film, photo and events. In his first guest blogpost on GaddrStories Emil shares his professional take on how fashion retail is adapting to the world of social media and e-commerce.
I simply love shopping. Nothing beats the feeling of touching the fabric, having a chat with a sales assistant and trying on the clothing. There is something about getting in touch with the mood of the boutique and experiencing the atmosphere. But retail as we know it is a dying breed. Overseas brands are closing down shops, going bankrupt and shopping malls have never been more empty. E-commerce is starting to become the monolith that we all knew it was going to be. So how is fashion retail responding to this? The most common thing has been competing with price: never before has fashion been so competitive with just price.

soac 2This hail Mary or death rattle strategy, if you may, can be interpreted as nothing more than desperate attempt of retailers to hold on to their customers. The traditional brick and mortar store has chosen not to leverage the one thing that separates them from the digital world – its physical presence. Instead, the culture of fashion retail today has resulted into monotonous value for the customer´and destructive business models.

Instead, by embracing technology as a part of the store’s experience, the store can be the ultimate outlet for a unique fashion and brand experience. In Business of Fashion, author Doug Stephens draws parallels to the music world, where artists are now making much more money through live performances than record sales. This falls in line with trend institute WGSN’’s prediction that consumer behaviour and preference will go more towards experiences than products. This should prove to provide a new value proposition for the customer that can not be fabricated or transferred, but tied to the store itself.

soac 1We at the fashion retailer Stories of Apparel Creation believe it is time to tap into this phenomenon by creating value in the form of concert-like experiences that celebrates the digital world of today. Designer presentations, music performances, fashion installations, fashion shows and showrooming… the possibilities are endless!

Thisisstory is one of the few that have began to adapt. The store’s focus should be not just to merchandise products and process purchases, e-commerce can do that alone. It is the interplay between digital and physical where it gets interesting! Bonobos is a great example of this. Social media has also given retailers the opportunity to really connect audience, helping them to be a part of their story and progression. Combined with an experiential boutique presence social media can help further engage with their customers, creating high end content and value for their audience. That is why Gaddr is so important for driving attention to various media through a single portal.

The physical space should be an extension of the brand itself: celebrating the ethos, culture and intangible value of what the brand wants to convey. To quote Kevin Ma, Editor-in-chief and Founder of Hypebeast: “”We don’t simply buy products for what they are, we buy things for what they symbolize”. This is the new era of fashion retail where creativity and tech is celebrated and integrated, not worked against. It is up to us to make it happen and work for a thriving and sustainable fashion industry, are you with us?

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