Creating true alignment was the theme for this year’s Decoded Fashion London Summit, which took place at The IET on 16/17th May. The event demonstrated the close collaboration between retail and technology, discussing industry innovation and cutting-edge solutions for enabling customer-centric change.
As an official media partner, Retail Connections had a front row seat at this year’s summit. Here are some of our top takeaways:
AI is the next big retail frontier
The industry buzz surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been gathering momentum for some time now, and Decoded Fashion turned over an entire section of the conference to how leading brands and retailers are leveraging AI to enhance their customer relationships.
Olay’s Associate Director Scientific Communications, Dr Frauke Neuser, explained how the skincare brand is using AI within its Skin Advisor tool, automating the work normally carried out by dermatologists to match products to the unique needs of each customer’s skin.
This was followed by the founder of search tech disruptor Twiggle, Amir Konisberg, who explained how AI can enable better natural language processing in search, to return more accurate results based on what shoppers type in.
Content continues to be king
Mr Porter has built its success on content-led sales, and the company’s Brand & Content Director, Jeremy Langmead, was on-hand to discuss the role of storytelling in fashion commerce.
Content is particularly important for pure plays, Langmead noted, as the tone of voice often becomes the “fixtures and fittings” of brand identity for online-only businesses.
As an ex-journalist, rather than bemoaning the rise of branded content, Langmead looked at the exciting possibilities for using paid-for content to create genuine, passionate customer relationships. This sentiment was echoed in another session by Stylus’ Head of Media and Marketing, Christian Ward, who urged marketers to “secure lasting affection rather than momentary attention.”
Naturally, mobile commerce was a big talking point at Decoded Fashion 2017, however ASOS’ Head of Mobile, Andrea Trocino, encouraged retailers to go beyond becoming mobile-first businesses.
Although Andrea acknowledge that ASOS will always receive desktop traffic, he noted the need to understand mobile behaviour intrinsically, and to brand build with mobile consumers by investing in smartphone apps – taking a mobile-only attitude, in essence. The fashion retailer’s approach in this area is clearly working; 70% of ASOS’ traffic comes from mobile, with around 60% of those visits converting to a sale.
Trocino’s messages were reinforced in a separate session with Net-A-Porter’s MD, Matthew Woolsey, who observed that “our closest relationship is with our phone”. The luxury clothing website is planning to invest €500 million between now and 2020 on further enhancing its digital experience, and a major part of this investment will involve a collaboration with IBM Watson.
To find out more about who spoke at this year’s London Summit, visit the Decoded Fashion website.