The fashion and retail industry have had it rough over the last year. Not only has overseas production stopped, causing a shortage of stock and delayed product launches, people’s spending and shopping habits have changed. With lockdowns and physical distancing, businesses had to let go of retail staff and could no longer afford the exceedingly high rent of their physical stores, causing many businesses to downsize, some even bankrupt.
What we’ve learnt over this time, is that many big brands have been forced to cut physical stores and start to invest more into digital marketing and mail-order strategies. We know people want convenience, they don’t want to have to travel to buy or go out of their way to get what they need. Considering the impact COVID has had on post, many online purchases still deliver reasonably fast. With brands able to track and reach their audiences online, will there be a need for physical stores?
We believe the future of retail will be a combination of online and offline. It’s comfortable and easy to order online but people are still hungry for real interactions. Getting a package in the mail isn’t as exciting as it used to be, the novelty of ordering online has worn off as that huge pile of need-to-return items is getting bigger. What happened to the days when you walk out of a shop, knowing that what you’ve purchased actually fits well. We believe the future of a physical store is not only for selling products (we know this because customers can do their shopping 24/7 from home) but will become more of a place for people to experience, interact and communicate.
Future stores will act as a showroom, even to become a space for businesses to create content for their social media. We’ve already seen brands incorporate live streams, and create video content in the physical space. This is a way to create personal engagement and drive traffic to the brand’s online store.
Our business goal for Fashion Boundary is to have one physical store as a showroom in one major city within Australia and overseas. This way, people can come to experience the product in person and choose to purchase online or in-store. We want to be able to interact with our customers directly and be able to keep up with their needs and wants. We’ve just opened our pop-up store in Emporium Melbourne to really get a feel of the customer base and a taste of what a permanent physical store may look like in this current climate.
We are currently undergoing a transformation from a retailer that stocks unique brands from around the world to a brand that has their own products to meet more customers’ needs. We’re looking to collaborate with reliable manufacturers from different countries including China, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and the UK for different product lines under Fashion Boundary. Our aim is to have small collections and collaborate with talented designers and independent brands to produce products our customer base will really know and love.
It’s hard to know what the future of fashion will look like but we do know there are still people supporting local businesses and getting a kick out of discovering new, unique brands. We’d like to think that small businesses can live online and off as people embrace being together again.