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Fashion Industry – On the Cusp of a SaaS Revolution in Data, AI and Virtual Reality

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented / Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and advanced Data Analytics have been listed as the most prominent technology advancements to impact businesses this decade. Of these, AI is the one being most talked about currently. Virtual reality via the Metaverse made a big splash in 2022 with Facebook’s Meta announcement, while Data Analytics, Big Data and Machine Learning (ML) have been on the minds of many industry professionals for a couple of years now.

(Image Source : 3D Look)


As we see the adoption of these technologies in many forms both creative and commercial, their cumulative impact on the fashion industry as a whole is tremendous. However, given the fragmented nature of the industry, only a handful of large brands and retail chains have been able to take advantage of these developments, due to the level of investment involved.


However, as the pace of development accelerates, smaller brands are seeing an increasing affordability and therefore adoption as many of these applications have moved from being enterprise


level investments to a more price-conscious shared resource model. The latter is commonly known as SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service) depending on the type of technology products being used.


WHY SAAS?


Software as a Service (SaaS) came about when technology companies realized that the cost of buying software was a significant decision and could take months for companies to roll out. At the same time, growth of the internet allowed remote users to access software from a central location on the cloud far easier than before. Together, these developments allowed a technology company to offer different levels of its product to different users, with ease of access at any point from anywhere. The additional advantage was that any upgrades of the product were instantly accessible to all users. Being a shared resource, the cost of the product could be brought down significantly in order to make it accessible to even smaller firms.


COST AND CONVENIENCE


The SaaS model allows companies to pay for technology on a subscription or pay-as-you-use model. In addition, companies can upgrade the features and benefits they access as the company’s needs grow, without having to move from one software to another. This flexibility has made SaaS products the best option for many small firms.

Many of you would have used a number of SaaS products. The simplest examples include Google corporate email service (where you log in to Google to access your work email) and website platforms like Wix (which offers a monthly or yearly subscription to create your website with design elements). E-commerce tools like WooCommerce (for WordPress), platforms like Shopify and Etsy are also familiar to fashion brands selling online.


Additional SaaS tools and products that brands use include:


CRM – Hubspot is the best example of a SaaS CRM product


Manufacturing – Lectra and AIMS360 offer web-based software that is a monthly/yearly subscription


With fashion industry increasingly using more technology tools in business to reduce wastage, and unsold inventory, better target consumers with their marketing and improve the online and offline retail experience, the advent of SaaS into these areas has been a foregone conclusion.


The adoption of Fashiontech SaaS to these areas includes

  • Merchandising tools like INCREFF to help understand customer preferences using data

  • Smart Cataloguing tools like MySize to better define customer size requirements

  • Mendix PLM for Fashion design uses Data analytics to predict styling trends

  • 3D ecommerce tools that use augmented reality, such as Cappasity to create virtual or augmented renderings

  • Fashion chatbots like Hubtype to help customers choose suitable designs and gather data for brands

Can you think of more applications in SaaS for Fashiontech? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.


Fuel4Fashion is a design, branding and technology consultancy for the fashion and apparel industry. We provide consulting and advisory services across design, business and IT processes to early stage and mid-sized apparel manufacturers and brands looking to grow their business with the help of smart sustainable management practices. Visit our website here and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for regular updates.

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