Technology is developing at an unbelievable pace; the ever-evolving Artificial Intelligence (AI) frontier for example promises exciting innovations for our everyday lives as yet scarcely imagined outside of science-fiction films.
Here and now though, the value of the “wearable technology” market is estimated to reach eight billion US Dollars by the end of 2018, so of course, every sector wants a piece of the action and the fashion industry is no exception.
The potential for this market is already increasing rapidly, and for many brands it should be a case of get in on the action, or seriously miss out!
Because we’re curious creatures. We like to know why we do the things we do. For example, what triggers us, what makes us hot under the collar or wear the same hoodie for three days in a row!
With trackable technology we may soon be able to find out the answers to all our consumer questions and more?!
Leading the way
Tommy Hilfiger is certainly keen to try the new wearable technology out, as we can see with the newly launched Tommy Jeans Explore. As a tech-focused sub-division, Hilfiger has used the latest digital trends in technology to fit with their brand and culture, emphasizing their focus on the customer – oh and also tapping into those very influential Instagrammers!
Hilfiger on this occasion has embedded Awear Solutions’ Bluetooth low-energy smart tags into their garments, which can then connect to an app which customers download onto their phones.
Providing the answer to the “what’s in it for me” question; the app acts as a point’s platform, so gone are the days where we need a store card to receive points for everything! Collecting points as you go reaps the same benefits as being in store, except now through your clothes and your phone – receive gift cards, concert tickets, exclusive news and updates from the brand, all for merely choosing to wear their clothes!
Changing the face of fashion
For the technology industry, this might seem old hat as trackable technology has been with us for a while, notably in our mobile phones. However, for the fashion industry, knowing how to make the best use of AI (and not just using it because everyone else is) has always been a mystery.
But not anymore.
Fashion brands are now able to tap into this great resource and learn and understand how consumers use their products once purchased.
We talk about following and mapping out the customer journey, i.e., what happens when the customer leaves the shop, and now with trackable fashion, the information to help support this has never been made more available.
Not all plain stitching
As with all things, not everything is 100% perfect, and fashion brands must consider and weigh up all the options for them. For example, many consumers are now wary over their personal data and how companies can use this.
Who has, and who can access, this potential gold mine of information? And if it’s in my clothes, can I be tracked just like the GPS in my phone? OK, perhaps a little extreme, but with the recent Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandals, not every consumer will be thrilled to learn that buying a hoodie also means providing access to their data and knowing that a company is not only monitoring you, but he knows what you are wearing and when!
Being trackable is promoted as being part of the brand experience. For customers, it’s simply about weighing up what this brand experience is worth to them and for brands like Tommy Hilfiger to find a place in the market that suits their brand and use it as an extension to reach out and connect with their customers.
For brands, trackable fashion offers us an unlimited amount of opportunities. It allows you to truly track the customer journey, to track fashion, from purchase to when we’re finished with our garments. To connect with customers on a much more personal level, really and we mean really targeting your marketing. This is how brands will build upon their brand experiences in the future.
AI will also allow designers to visualise fabric composition through simulations, for example. Or to use virtual worlds and reality (like computer games) to see how people will react to new products coming to market. Again, allowing the fashion world to promote, as well as gain customer insight and feedback instantly, even before the production of new lines as started!
Trackable clothing is exciting, and it’s engaging to see brands embracing such technology and digital advancements. However, with sustainability being the buzzword in the fashion industry, should our focus be shifting onto something newer and shinier? Or should we be looking at AI as a function to provide us with what the future of our fashion materials could look like and do these even have to be materials at all???