With consumers moving away from physical shops and toward online purchases, the effect of technology is difficult to deny, particularly as e-commerce grows at a fast rate. Technology is altering how companies in many sectors function, including the fashion industry, using robotics process automation, AI, data analytics, and other technologies. As the fashion environment shifts, stores and business owners must rapidly adapt and embrace this crucial moment or risk falling behind the competition. Here are some examples of how technology is influencing – and changing – the fashion industry.

Social Media

Remember when there was no such thing as social media? Or when you had to leave the house to get new clothes? What about social media influencers? Twenty years ago, this phrase would have sounded like something made up or from the future. Millennials, on the other hand, have no memory of a period before these things were so popular, and as a result, social media has unquestionably altered fashion in a variety of ways.

For this younger generation, they see most of their advertising on social media, and for those who are launching a fashion label and who want their target market to see what they are doing, this is the only place to showcase their garments. It can even be done for free in many cases, depending on how good your organic reach is. Although this is a good thing for business owners, it's not such a great thing for sustainability since a 'wear in once' culture has emerged.

However, social media has the power to change things seemingly overnight, which is why it is possible to turn things around using the same method that has caused the issue in the first place.

Whether you see it as a force for good or not, there is no doubting that social media is a significant influence on the fashion industry and has changed it beyond recognition.

Mobile Commerce

Thanks to smartphones, almost everyone now has internet access – they can go online anywhere and at any time. The digital age has introduced a new, more convenient method of purchasing through mobile devices. With digital wallets such as Android Pay and Apple Pay, as well as social networking and online store apps, mobile has affected our daily lives and begun to reshape the whole fashion sector. According to statistics, two out of every three millennials prefer online purchasing over buying in physical shops, and for good reason.

Mobile commerce allows you to shop on the move in a fast, simple, and straightforward way – all you have to do is click a button. Instagram, for example, offers an intelligent shopping function that automatically sends consumers to a product page when they click on an item, providing a mobile-friendly experience and substantially decreasing search times.

If you are a business owner in the fashion industry, understanding how e-commerce shapes the way people shop and what they buy is crucial; it can help you build your business and grow. This, and many other reasons, is why so many business owners choose to keep learning through DBA courses online, as it means they can keep up with new technology and understand the world of commerce a little more.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The use of robots and other technologies to do human-like tasks is already changing the way fashion companies operate. Automation is undeniably here to stay, with almost half of companies claiming to have a clear AI strategy in place.

Just some of the technologies that are poised to make the fashion industry more technologically advanced include:

• Automated shipping

• Robot sewing machines

• AI-powered data processing

• Automated online retail

Virtual Reality

E-commerce and mobile commerce were the first to change the fashion sector, and now we are seeing a new wave of technological change – virtual reality.

Customers, as previously said, depend on their mobile devices to explore and buy a variety of goods with a single click. However, consumers often get goods that do not look like the ones they saw in the images online, which may lead to complaints and bad reviews.

Businesses can now merge the online and physical worlds of purchasing thanks to the introduction of virtual reality platforms. Customers can now, for example, install try-on avatars or applications to test clothing before buying them. These VR systems undeniably improve the whole buying experience, enabling companies to engage and keep customers. Furthermore, they offer companies critical information that can be used to provide customers with a more personalised experience.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is undoubtedly one of the most exciting technological changes and advances to hit the retail sector. Simply stated, IoT enables us to use the internet to interact with everyday objects. When it comes to fashion, this allows for a significant shift. According to studies, about 70 per cent of retail decision-makers across the globe are already intending to use IoT in order to enhance consumer experiences.

We can anticipate smart clothes, responsive sportswear, and multi-functional designs to help merchants better understand their consumers' requirements and provide a more customised experience with the assistance of IoT.

3D Printing

Many fashion companies have been investigating the potential of utilising 3D printing to revolutionise manufacturing and make their goods more sustainable. Julia Daviy, a fashion designer, debuted one of the first wearable collections entirely composed of 3D printed materials in 2018.

Although 3D printing has not yet changed the fashion industry in a huge way, it is thought by industry experts that it will do so in the near future. If 3D printing becomes economically viable for ordinary homes, individuals will be able to exchange designs and print them for free. 3D printing has a variety of advantages, including a lower carbon footprint, a quicker production process, and less waste.

Overall, digitisation and new tech have transformed the fashion sector. Social networking and online shopping have already become our new normal. Now, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robots are anticipated to further alter the way consumers buy and businesses respond to their demands. If you are a fashion brand owner, it's time to start learning as much as you can about these new ideas.