When you look at the fashion and tech industries, both continue to be a breeding ground for innovation. In both worlds, change is constant, and today it’s hard to ignore how technology is transforming the apparel retail space. Shoppers have shifted from browsing racks in clothing stores to browsing AI-powered recommendation engines in e-commerce sites to find their next outfit, forcing traditional apparel retailers to rethink their business strategies and adapt next-level technologies to create differentiated shopping experiences in-store.
Are brick and mortars failing because they can’t compete against online merchants, or is it that they can’t adapt to the needs of evolved shoppers? The long, loud boom of e-commerce continues to rattle brick and mortar sales, but it’s not likely to ultimately kill retail.
Consumers are still predominantly shopping in stores, where, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts, 90 percent of U.S. retail sales take place. The real threat is that online merchants want to win over the physical shopping masses, too. That’s why Amazon purchased Whole Foods supermarkets, installs gadget kiosks in malls and is building a chain of bookstores and university outposts and experimenting with convenience stores. Debunking the myths of the retail apocalypse can help explain just where the state of retail lies today.
Amazon’s Alexa was the breakout hit that took consumers and analysts by surprise in 2016, with over 20 million devices sold in the U.S. alone. Both Apple and Google have invested significant research and development into voice assistant technology embedded in the mobile operating system. Language is the fastest and most natural way for humans to provide input, and natural language processing has become sophisticated enough to understand most of what we say.
In fact, some product strategists are suggesting new products be designed with voice in mind first, a repackaging of the “mobile first” revolution. As a startup founder, CTO and a lead mentor at New York City’s largest accelerator program, I spend much of my time educating myself on transformative technologies. Voice has one of the greatest potentials for massive disruption and opportunity.
So, why aren’t we talking to more apps?
As the publisher of the largest local business newswire, I know there is a great and growing demand from organizations, businesses and community leaders seeking to push their messages out to a largest possible audience. Why not? 78% of CMOs think that custom content is the future of marketing.