In one of many astonishing developments of 2020, industries that have long resisted online retail have finally turned to eCommerce to survive. The fashion industry, for example, has strictly avoided platforms like Amazon in the past, but with independent designers witnessing already tight budgets implode and even government aid falling short of making up the design world’s collective profit losses, Amazon has since secured partnerships with huge names like Vogue and even the Council of Fashion Designers of America, often considered the judge and jury of US fashion.
All at once, Amazon is achieving a goal it has set for itself since 2012. Now, with high fashion in supply, Amazon is not only an online platform selling casual wear for low shipping fees at volume, but also a retailer for one-off purchases of thousand-dollar clothing. Entering a sector where for some customers the thousand-dollar price tag is the draw marks a fundamental shift in the purview of eCommerce. Amazon’s future as a leader in the field will likely hinge on this new push toward international luxury brands, particularly given the initial hurdles that marketing to stylish and affluent clients in other countries entails for first-movers.
Even just at the end of March, traffic to US retailers was down by 97.6% overall and 99.3% for clothing retailers. These abysmal numbers are a direct result of customers remaining at home, but it is also important to note that consumers are now focused on necessities and have stopped shopping even online for many goods. Since March, companies like JCPenney, Gap, and Macy’s have all filed for bankruptcy despite having their own online presences.
Looking to China, which has recovered from the pandemic considerably earlier than the United States, one finds that retail stores haven’t recovered quickly enough, if at all. The consensus within the fashion industry is that it simply cannot return to what it was before the pandemic. How it changes is likely to involve eCommerce, and to some extent depend on it.
The question of whether it is eCommerce that is moving into high fashion or high fashion that is moving into eCommerce remains to be fully answered. Both contingencies present new opportunities and challenges for brands and their global communications, particularly when it comes to facilitating the traditional realm of upscale brand marketing within the increasingly sophisticated world of online retail marketing. With demand comes the need to market clothing in other countries more quickly and appealingly than ever before. Where pre-pandemic luxury clothing retail tended to garner expensive, meticulously created advertising campaigns, today’s leaders in high fashion will need to devise plans for achieving the same presence for their brands while meeting the demands for speed, efficiency, and scale that eCommerce presents.
In combination, cutting-edge, technology-driven translation services and emerging advertising technologies are well positioned to deliver targeted digital content to support a new era in fashion retail. With robust translation technologies and our global network of professional linguists to support online marketing efforts in more than 250 languages, CSOFT International’s localization services can help brands message with the speed and efficiency needed to keep pace with global demand while ensuring the quality and consistency of multilingual advertising campaigns.