The Dawning of Generation Z: Fashion Digital London


Fashion Digital was founded in New York City by Sandy Hussain in a bid to bridge the gap between the fashion industry and technology. Since their first conference back in 2012, the e-commerce industry has moved at a phenomenal pace; with technology becoming increasingly smarter, customers savvier, brands more inventive and Millennials always either ‘busy or bored’. Having attended Fashion Digital NYC we couldn’t resist crossing the pond for Fashion Digital London, which took place at the Tower Hotel next to the Big Smoke’s iconic Tower Bridge (especially as we were one of the speakers for the day!).

London Tower Bridge Fashion Digital

The day was full of inspirational learnings so let us run you through the best…

‘Customer service is the unsung hero of marketing’

Rule number 1? You have to design a seamless customer experience that’s ready for the future: interestingly, the number one essential for online shoppers is that retailers have a good returns policy, with 73% of people stating that is their top priority. The speakers, which included Grabble’s Dan Murray and augmented reality agency Holition’s Jonathan Chippendale, touched upon the importance of personalised customer service. Brands need to be rooted in people and have a personal experience for each and every consumer across all platforms.


Millennials: ‘either busy or bored’

Millennials has to have been one 2015’s hottest buzzwords. Defined as 18-34 year olds these consumers have disposable income and expect a lot when it comes to shopping and consuming content online. Chaired by the brilliant Hannah Almassi of WhoWhatWear UK the panel included blogger Fleur de Force, Rodial’s Maria Hatzistefanis, creative strategist Nik Thakkar and Stylight’s very own Managing Director, Max Müller; the conversation touched on this need to be authentic and intimate with your customers as Millennials today value personal connections and selflessness above all.

Fashion Digital London Max Mueller Stylight

That’s the reason for Snapchat (which now has 100 million daily active users) and Periscope’s success. Millennials are always either ‘busy or bored’ meaning your content should always fulfill the criteria of either being useful or entertaining. A thought that brought the panelists to speak of the dawning of the Generation Z who will be even more demanding as they’ve grown up with this technology and thus will have strong opinions and a sense of entitlement when it comes to consuming content online.


‘The Internet is a great leveller’

Fadi Shuman, Co-Founder and CCO of creative digital agency Born, opened his speech with the statement: ‘The Internet is a great leveller’ meaning online everyone is the same; you don’t need expensive stores, models or retail spaces – you can do anything with technology. And given the fact that now over 50% of brand interactions happen online, it’s all to play for! There’s also an ever growing importance for brands to have integrity and a sense of corporate social responsibility for customers to relate to them on a personal level; and the 4-year-old eCommerce startup Everlane is a great example of this transparency. Last but not least, he commented on the rise of menswear eCommerce or the ‘Manaissance’ as Shuman dubbed it. Menswear is now the fastest growing online market, with curated offerings doing particularly well amongst the ‘lazy’ male shopper.


‘Customers are either like a first date or a long term relationship’

How to optimise email and mobile to be your number one sales channels? Cally Russell of Mallzee, Ger Ashby of Dotmailer and David Giusti of Lyst all agreed that email is a means to pitch the story of your brand. Email is like a shop window into your brand so relevance is key especially as on average you only have about 8 seconds to capture the reader. How to do it? Brands should start small and producing quick emails that will capture attention and focus on the differences between genders: females are more engaged with email in general and men need something more specifically tailored to them.


‘39% of luxury sector purchases in 2015 were impulse buys…’

Stated luxury retailer Net-a-Porter on the topic of luxury consumer search behaviour. Their  case study showed phenomenal insight and data on the matter and proved how the luxury consumer wants to curate their wardrobe much like how an art collector would. As proof, Fiona Gandy of Net-a-Porter debunked some popular theories about the online habits of luxury shoppers… First of all, luxury customers don’t like sales: wrong! Surprisingly luxury customers are 4.7x more likely to search for Black Friday deals than the average shoppers. Secondly, people don’t make luxury purchases on mobile: again, wrong! The most expensive item ever sold on Net-a-Porter was $30k and this was done via mobile. Last but not least? Luxury customers are well considered and take a long time to convert: wrong! You would never believe it, but 39% of luxury sector purchases in 2015 were actually impulse buys.

Fashion Digital London can only be described as a truly inspiring day that was both informative and thought provoking. We can’t wait to see what the future of fashion online has in store!
|By Sian O’Flaherty|




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