News /OMR Fashion Panel with Oliver Cloppenburg
Oliver Cloppenburg (superReal), Armand Farsi (Arvato) and Florian Heinemann (AboutYou) were interviewed by Boris Lokschin (Spryker) on the subject of how the fashion industry can successfully grow online.
3:00 min: What are the three biggest changes you have observed over the past ten years? How has fashion changed online?
- Armand Farsi: Ten years is an extremely long time. So much has changed, but to sum up: there has been a massive acceleration of the dynamics of competition, especially for fashion players. New players are appearing on the market and creating a completely new situation. These include Primark and Inditex, who are creating real problems for established, small and medium sized brands. Then there are of course all the platforms. We think these have arrived at a tipping point where you can no longer do without them, such as Amazon, Zalando and the rest. This is leading to professionalisation on the brand side – of their teams and their skills. They are recruiting massively from consultancies, from Rockets, from Zalando and so on.Oliver Cloppenburg: The industry has come of age. We have come very far – especially in fashion. The fashion industry’s level of maturity is remarkable. But this doesn’t apply to every company. We’re working on lots of things that are still somewhat behind. First and foremost, data analysis. How do I address customers? In my view, that’s only just beginning. Not everyone has mastered this, even in the fashion industry. These are some of the big themes. There are things, different issues that still need to be raised such as content commerce and cross-channel commerce. These are the things we’ve seen. They are professionalising themselves, and people are discovering what works and what doesn’t. All in all we have grown up a lot. BI is a big subject, data analysis. That’s the next big thing which I can see.Florian Heinemann: I think there’s a good illustration of this level of maturity in the share of fashion retail online – when you consider how suitable fashion and shoes are for selling online. I think it’s around 25 or 28 percent in the shoe industry. If you compare that with tyres or products that can be distinctly described, they only have 12 percent. You can see by that the level of professionalisation, how well people are doing it. The online share of shoes and fashion, where people ten years ago were wondering whether it would work, is now very high. That also shows how good the customer experience is. I think the most interesting part is who is able to keep up with these fast fashion cycles and to abandon the seasonal mindset – pre-orders and post-orders at regular intervals, and ongoing orders. This is something where you have to ask yourself, what is in fact the role of manufacturers and small retailers in a world based more on platforms? I think that will be the next big topic. And how do you actually establish a fashion label now? Does it have to be vertically integrated? Is its existence justified if it’s being sold via Zalando, Amazon, Otto? Should it be offline or multichannel or Pure Play?Oliver Cloppenburg: For the past 15 years we’ve been improving things, looking at figures, testing anything and everything – but we’ve forgotten about the brand. We all have wonderful online stores but nobody’s talking about the brand. We have to take care that we don’t end up doing the donkey work for marketplaces – putting the brand on our platforms while people buy it off Amazon. That’s the big problem. As brands it costs us a lot of money if the sales channel moves away towards marketplaces.