Fashion is emotion, fashion is style, fashion is inspiration. But fashion shopping is becoming more and more mobile; this has grand implications for our creative material and design thinking.

The fashion industry is one of the most innovative when it comes to creative design. The newest trends are beautifully displayed, the investments in photo shoots and image material is immense compared to many other industries.

But, this drive for perfection and design is hindering many smaller to mid-sized fashion retailers to re-invent themselves.

Retailers are afraid to make the investment in new forms of Advertizing and online sales channels, due to the immense cost of content production. And rightfully so; the cost of image material, content production and great design can easily be higher than the available budgets that are necessary to promote the products themselves.

In a world of performance advertizing, this phenomenon is something that needs to change right now. But that is easier said than done.

Fashion retailer have been working this way for decades and it is their way of expressing themselves – inspiring their customers.

Here come the mobile shoppers – an opportunity?

Fashion is bought, everywhere. The share of online fashion purchases has gone up significantly over the last couple of years.

At the fashion tech in Berlin, MyTheresa CEO Michael Kliger said: “we believe that digital sales in high fashion will grow to 20-25% of the total fashion retail market.” He continued: “we have only just started and even mature markets in Central Europe have shown steady (up to double digit) growth numbers in high fashion.”

But it is not so much the fact that more is bought online that interested me, but how things are bought online.

There is an increasingly accelerated trend towards mobile purchases in high fashion retail.

The share of desktop purchases, has fallen from 62% in 2016 to 48% in 2018; that trend will most probably continue.

Of course, we need to take into consideration, that MyTheresa is an international company; these figures reflect their markets and with a strong focus on sales in Asia Pacific – where shopping is done significantly more on mobile devices – it makes sense that MyTheresa’s sales have shifted.

However, we cannot neglect the fact that digital sales offer market opportunities, beyond our national borders. MyTheresa’s numbers reflect just that and show us the incredible potential of international markets.

What does this mean for our design thinking

A shift to mobile implies creating new ways of content. When we develop an online shop for someone and speak about the cost of content, we stress time and time again, that the cost can be drastically reduced when it comes to image material.

The screen size on a mobile device is a different type of canvas we need to learn to work with.

The rules of the industry still apply; be creative, be innovative, be loud and out there. But think about the amount of space you have to express yourself.

The biggest saver: keep the cost of “plain and simple” product images low.

Focus on inspirational content that can be recycled – and look at how you hold your phone. If you brief your team and designers to put their phones on their desks next to them when they create content, make them think about what they create, then you are doing a lot right.

I know and hope that the fashion retail industry will continue to dazzle us with creative and innovative concepts. I think we just need to re-focus on the customer once more and understand the global trends in which we are moving as an industry.

You don’t need to try and keep up with MyTheresa if you want to be successful, but use their intel to your advantage; focus on your customer needs and wants in a sensible way.

Have a great weekend,
Remco