Reasoned to limited exposure with work-from- home setups, personal space got redefined, and the home lost its privacy. People found ways to rejuvenate within the same space by carving out zones of retreat and discipline. The behaviour that thus emerged has influenced consumer choices, with people crafting and defending a patch between their clans and the world. This had a significant impact on how people think, behave and communicate.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change,” Charles Darwin once said. It is not the legacy but the legitimacy that is expected to score in the refreshed world. The debacle that the pandemic induced has caused a conundrum amongst the consumers. The reset mode and the increased entropy within the consumer ecosystem have toppled the embedded and known routes manifested in people’s choices.
Seasoned industry leaders and marketing experts have been meticulously reviewing the emerging codes and sharing their observations to understand this new and unknown behaviour that had never been experienced or ever documented.
Companies need to experiment and review their strategy at rates faster than ever done before. But, unfortunately, the dynamic external environment had its share of demurrals amongst consumers.
The codes are more pronounced among millennials with factors such as the need for immediacy, personalisation, and on-demand scoring weigh above any factor. One key trend that has emerged amongst brands to respond includes strategies to collaborate and synergise the digital and offline channels. The omnichannel arrangement has garnered steam to help achieve a seamless experience for the impatient consumer. The pent-up demand is expected to drive consumers towards the offline options; however, the constant inventory may lead to dissonance, which such omnichannel arrangements are designed to address.
Pent-up demand is expected to drive consumers towards the offline options; however, the constant inventory may lead to dissonance, which such omnichannel arrangements are designed to address.
Few observations about include:
- Brands that enable a broad spectrum of activities like communication, interaction and transactions to emerge high on being resilient
- Brands need to be enablers
- The focus should now be not to sell but to solve Consumer’s time is divided, and it is crucial to understand
- opportunities to claim relevance. Therefore, a daypart analysis of a consumer’s typical day is quintessential
- Incumbent brands will have to look beyond their legacy, which is quickly losing its momentum disrupted by new and innovative start- ups
A Race to Impress
One of the most adversely impacted segments was the apparel industry, with demand to flaunt almost subdued due to unsystematic restrictions. This industry suffered globally, too, and is eagerly awaiting normalcy to get some respite. With lockdown restrictions gradually lifted, there are recovery indicators with people flocking to stores wherever and whenever possible to achieve that desire for dress to impress. Brands are getting aggressive with innovations such as virtual stores, Apps, and extended or new ranges to lead the game. As a result, the industry has witnessed the emergence of new product categories that straddle between comfort, casual and formal wear.
Technology paves the way for the fashion industry to evolve further into the virtual world.
- With Artificial Intelligence being introduced in the stores of the brands, chatbots and touchscreens are being introduced in the stores in order to interact more with the customers
- Virtual and Augmented Reality is the next big thing in the e-commerce clothing sale industry, with customers getting a better and a clear look at the product, which would improve the attractiveness and would hold the client longer than usual, thus increasing the chances of purchase
- ‘3D models’ are being introduced. The manufacturers would create a 3D model of the design they want to prepare & present, which would further help them in production and reduce waste usually generated during sampling
- One of the significant upcoming technologies is the metaverse – the next big thing in the gaming industry. Leading brands like Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Nike, etc., are already targeting the gaming industry by dressing the characters in the games. This would increase the brand engagement with younger consumers and put styles on display in a never-seen format
- Emerging apparel and home-grown brands, which were established upon the foundation of technology through general social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, etc., on a virtual level received a great response and are all set to lock horns with the key players in the offline market space as well.
The omnichannel arrangement has garnered steam to help achieve a seamless experience for the impatient consumer.
With COVID being forgotten (rather optimistically), the Indian consumer stuck in the home is eager to come out and go to offices, schools, weddings, and other functions/festivals, and even on vacations. However, market observations have revealed that the consumer will now live with a more rational approach. This genre of the cautious consumer has more evolved expectations from the brands, i.e., from simply being emotional to more practical. With consumers seeking economic immunity, brands will have to work hard to find their relevance via meaningful communication and connection.