Transforming the Fashion Industry: Reflections from the 2013 WWD CEO Summit

Last week MarkMonitor was a part of a fascinating summit that gathered leaders of the apparel and retail industry to discuss how the fashion industry is transforming at lightning speed.   As a brand protection company, we were excited to hear stories from major brands on their transformation in the digital age.  A key theme that was echoed time and time again was the importance of omnichannel.   Omnichannel is all about brand, customer service, technology and loyalty.  In no other time have companies been more reliant on so many channels to satisfy demand and care for their customers.   For example, Brendan Hoffman, the CEO of Bon Ton, shared his story on how the Internet has permeated all parts of the apparel business, and completely changed the landscape again” even for long-established department stores with deep roots in traditional brick-and-mortar. He commented that running an omnichannel business of any sort has “completely revolutionized the way we look and run the business.”

Another common ethos from the WWD Summit was the conversation surrounding digital touch points with the consumer.  Email social media online search and mobile are all reshaping the way consumers behave and think about brands.  Terry Lundgren CEO of Macy’s cited “Technology and online shopping have enabled our business and made us a stronger and better retailer“.  With the success of brands in ecommerce also come threats.  Mark Frost General Manager of MarkMonitor addressed the rise and cleverness of online counterfeiters.  He urged the audience to transform their anti-counterfeiting strategy by ‘looking at digital differently.  See what are the missing pieces of the puzzle that online counterfeiters see and you don’t.'”