3 Fashion Services That Are Changing the Ways Customers Shop

With technology and data reshaping retail and Generation Z and millennial consumers taking a greater interest in ethical fashion, a number of new and innovative services are making their way to the forefront of the industry.

Driving today’s online searches, according to Lyst’s Year in Fashion report, are resale and rental services — a fast-growing sector of the industry that continues to capitalize on the ascent of e-commerce and the decline of brick-and-mortar shopping.

The global fashion search platform found in 2019 a 255% gain in traffic to luxury resale products, which have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. In fact, a ThredUp trend report suggested that the resale market — worth $24 billion today — is expected to hit $51 billion by 2023, growing 21 times faster than traditional retail over the past three years.

Rental services are also experiencing an uptick in customers. Now valued at $1 billion, the market is forecast to account for $1.9 billion in sales by the end of 2023, according to Allied Market Research. Further, a study by Mintel found that more than half of millennials had either rented fashion items or considered doing so.

With more and more customers making the case for high-end goods at more wallet-friendly prices, a number of retailers are looking to cater to these shifting demands. In April, Neiman Marcus took a minority stake in online consignment market Fashionphile, becoming the first major luxury player to directly invest in resale. And in mid-August, Macy’s and JCPenney forged partnerships with ThredUp to host the resaler’s products at its stores.

The rental market is also growing: Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, Ann Taylor and Bloomingdale’s have already hopped on the “try before you buy” bandwagon. The retailers offer subscription services to shoppers at flat monthly rates, allowing them to make a set number of selections from hundreds of brands.

Lyst pointed as well to the rise of virtual and augmented reality: In May, Nike launched its Nike Fit mobile scanning app that scans users’ feet and recommends their best size in a range of their own branded footwear. The sportswear giant said that it had spent the past year developing a solution after learning that more than 60% of people wear shoes in the wrong size.

The following month, Gucci rolled out a new iOS app update that provided virtual try-ons using augmented reality, starting with the luxury fashion house’s popular ’70s-inspired Ace sneakers. The feature not only gave shoppers a chance to get a realistic 3D look at a product but also allowed them to share screen grabs by text, email or social media. The tool is particularly valuable for footwear, which, along with apparel, has online return rates that can be double those of other categories due to fit problems.)

Lyst gathered data from about 104 million shoppers across six million products from more than 12,000 online stores. The report also factors in Google search data and social media metrics.

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