International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal

ISSN: 1757-1938 SJR : 0.847 SNIP : 1.89948

Disruptive effect of Internet in clothing/fashion industry

Gulnara Baikushikova, PHD, Acting associate professor, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University Department of International Relations

By Medukhanova Lyazipa (Candidate of Economic Sciences, Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations)

Rakhmetzhan Anrgul (Full time teaching position at the Department of International Relations)

1.0 Introduction

The paper explores the effects of the internet on the space, consumption practices and business model of the fashion industry. A closer look at the fashion industry reveals the need for the use of modern technology in order to improve.  The internet assists in the reduction of costs associated with the employment of sales persons. In addition, internet has caused significant disruptive effects in this industry including the chance to communicate the existence of a new brand in the market to a wide range of potential consumers. The internet has allowed businesses process information faster. It has developed an enterprise function that is known as e-commerce. In the fashion industry, the internet has facilitated the reduction in operational costs (Bowen, & Ozuem, 2015). Being in the forefront in terms of culture and modern trends, the fashion/ clothing industry in London, it is appreciated by most consumers because they receive the best products.  The industry has had a lot of influence in other industries like music. Today, there have been many disruptions in most industries by technology. It is prudent for any fashion company, whether established or new to appreciate the opportunities offered by technology. If this is ensured, then success is guaranteed. It is important for any fashion firm to realize that the right and proper technology can make a lot of difference between a brand that survives and another that thrives. 

2.0 Effects of the Internet

Today, internet use is paramount in any business. The effects of its usage in the clothing/fashion industry are vast. 

            Fig: Disruptive innovation by Clayton M. Christensen 

People believe that the technological innovations means the changes happening only in electronics, gadgets and other devices. Today’s technologies has huge impact on every aspects of society. Since, one of the important aspect is fashion industry. The internet has direct impact on fashion industry which is turned out as one of the rapidly growing business across the globe. From product selection, design, fabric selection, shipping to online ordering and delivery it has outpaced the traditional way of retail and clothing from manufacturing to shopping & retail outlets. As a report published by Direct Marketing Association in 2015, clothing and fashion items are      the most purchased products in the world currently after software’s, books and electronics with a market share of 13%(Index, 2015). The influence of internet and innovation has increased the sales up to two times comparing to the traditional method. Fashion industry includes a wide range of products like clothing, fashion bags, accessories, shoes, boots, designers, manufacturers, stylists, merchandisers, marketers  who are related to fashion that are hugely influenced with the development and modernization helped by technology and internet.

There are so many new technologies coming up everyday redefining the whole industry. According to Clayton Sustaining innovation and disruptive innovationare two fundamental ideas. Sustaining technologies in the company helps in continuous increase in the performance of established product. They rely on the improvements for good performance of established technology (Christensen, 2015).Still we can see some sustaining innovations in this digitalized world in fashion industry like fabric generator, production, stitching machines, packaging, display units and even manpower. These are the basic sustaining innovation components which cannot be disturbed. The disruptive technologies is meant to displace running existing technology. This technology captures the eyes of the market bringing the twist on sustaining technology where customers can adapt to new technological performances. Implementation of digital print, fabric coordinator, handmade designs replaced by computerized designs, traditional inks and print to vinyl and spray print. From manual production to automatic production and fast quantity production internet has played a great role and shaped our view on fashion that we all knew today.

2.1 Fashion brands retail disruption

In retail, there are cases of mobile commerce, group buying and other notions influencing the customer’s buying behavior. It is vital for fashion retailers to realize where the disruptions have occurred and learn the effective ways of taking advantage. Present technology, for instance, the emergence of the internet is increasing the awareness of what is in the market. The improvement in research through the Internet enables information search in any place at any time. Therefore, the search has been disrupted such that most retailers in the fashion markets do not access enough space or presence in the websites visited by consumers. 

For this reason, the retailers are required always to be alert to know clients seeking information. This way, they can get the chance to provide them the needed content before they access it first. There are many trends occurring in the fashion industry today. Online retail sites are necessary for the disclosure of brands. Consumers can make a comparison with those of other competitors. There is the need for the retailers to be always present in the channels where customers are found (Mckelvey, & Munslow, 2009). The reason for this is consumers today, are found in an integrated online world.  It is important that their online habits, tastes, and purchasing habits are studied and understood correctly. Success in the fashion industry requires aggressiveness and dedication to customer needs. As a result, retailers should continuously learn and be able to identify market gaps. Changes in the internet technology are unpredictable. Therefore, the retailers in this industry should always be prepared and flexible.

2.2 Promotions through Social Media

The emergence of Facebook, MySpace, WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media platforms have given fashion brands the chance to be accessed easily by clients (Christensen, 1997). These platforms offer stories in a more efficient and desired manner. Social media is becoming one of the popular marketing tools in most businesses. If a company creates a proper website, the clients may like the content and start ordering the goods. Uniqueness is a feature that is significant in the production process in every fashion company. That is why; the presence of internet has allowed these companies compare their brands with those of their rivals and come up with better ones. Reports reveal that most people spent even more time on the internet annually. The continuous awareness of the social media and its benefits in the London fashion markets has caused the ready emergence of new brands. In most researches on the effects of internet in the clothing industry, it was found that about 90% of fashion marketers believe that internet is paramount in the business. Reports like these show the important role social media plays in enhancing the value of products and the power vested in these companies (Downes, 2009). For instance, the fashion brands starting from CHANEL have reaped more returns from the use of the social media.  The channels that are now available thanks to internet are the Instagram or Twitter. The latter facilitated the conveyance of visual stories, therefore, facilitating effective communication of the fashion brands. 

An example of a fashion industry that has experienced rebirth after years of stiff competition is the Singapore fashion industry. The fashion brands of Singapore were thought to be unattractive by the government. However, it later changed its mind after reviews and assessments of the environment. There were cases of discrimination against the brands from this country. In the international market, famous brands like m) phosis did not find space even in the larger malls. The emergence of online retailing in the industry is something to note. Retailers like Zalora and Actually are promoting Singapore brands through the internet. New and young labels are being supported, and designers urged to produce products desired by consumers. Through the emergence of the internet, the fashion companies in the country have benefited from more sales and customer satisfaction (Farivar, 2011).

2.3 Advancement (emergence) of social media

Social media illustrates the stages of the emergence of new technology and innovation happening in retail industry. The industry emphasizes on the view that technology undergoes non-stop advancement. In addition, the growth is followed by the reduction in the traditional trend and high expectation of social media to different group of customers. The emergence of the internet or social media has offered crowdsourcing, Facebook pages, twitter account, Instagram to reach customers. The development of Facebook’s IPO indicated a transformation of excitement for the social media (Steinbock, & Noam, 2003). 

In the process of growth for the social media marketing, marketers are urged to appreciate the fact the recent Facebook issues, for instance, Zynga, is not the beginning of the end of the value of this media. However, the challenges are just the start of a vital step in the maturity of the industry. The struggles experienced by Facebook indicate the shift in the social media industry from the known hype to the long and sustained growth. Expectations from the use of media are evident now with its application in most businesses including the fashion industry. In addition, the period in which productivity and enlightenment are to be experienced at this moment of vast usage. The ultimate result will determine the value of the products or brands in the future. The usage of social media has now expanded and most people identified with it. There are different platforms, but this does not change the pattern of usage in terms of growth. Individuals from all ages, demographics are engaging in these platforms in order to be aware of what is going on in different industries of countries. The fashion industry has benefited from these platforms because of huge customer traffic on the various websites (Sterlacci, &, 2009). The enlightenment period in the case of fashion industry will emerge when there is development of technology. Furthermore, insights from clients will contribute to the enlightenment. The ideas will emerge from the behaviors and usage of online and purchasing actions of consumers. 

3.0 Disruptive Innovation (Crowdsourcing)

             Due to the introduction of the internet, new brands and industry standards have emerged. The fashion industry has seen the need to crowdsourcing. Most industries dealing with a clothing line, are seeking the best crowd sourcing websites so as to achieve any inspiration for their brands. The industry has been forced to use crowdsourcing to create real fashion items. An example of a company that has used this strategy is the Betabrand. It introduced a crowd funding platform. This is where users were required to crowd source any concepts of clothing to create real products. The company has since been able to fund about 100 garments. 

Compared to the traditional fashion industry, today, there are improvements especially with the emergence of crowdsourcing, web revolution, rise of Asian countries to drive success in fashion industry (Retail week, 2012). Crowdsourcing has not only facilitated marketing, but also enhanced distribution and sales of products. Recent developments in technology have facilitated the creation of such websites and online portals, shopping carts to generate and involve every retailers together. These have had unexpected effects in the fashion industry that have changed the way in which operations are undertaken and consumer handling. The internet has made an easier follow-up of inventory through the crowdsourcing. For instance, a producer can make any transaction through the apps and design the products accordingly with the help of internet community (Granger, 2012). The disruptive effects of the Internet do not only touch on the company, but also its consumers. The reason for this is clients want to be attached with crowdsourcing which will create more opportunities for the fashion products. For this reason, the innovative fashion firms have realized the power that could be derived by this technology. They have developed strategies to attract their customers and offer them the chance to interact with their brands with simple apps. For most fashion firms, the future has knocked on their doors. The developments are influencing the industry in a rapid manner and moving it forward. 

4.0 Case study on Israel’s Fashion Industry

Several reports show that Israel has a population that consists of creative people. This is not only in other sectors but most importantly in the fashion industry. Online is becoming the leading e-commerce platform in the country with most customers preferring it to traditional ways of marketing. The citizens of Israel are real entrepreneurs and involve fun in the process. In the country, internet is disrupting the fashion industry on different levels (Kidd, & Stanford-Smith 2000, p.245). For instance, the personal styling online interfaces experiences, fashion e-commerce, crowdsourcing and virtual fitting rooms. 

5.0 Conclusion

There has always been stiff competition in the fashion industry. However, the emergence of technology and other innovations have created a more digital view to the competition. E-commerce disrupted the traditional ways of fashion retailing. The introduction of online marketing has facilitated enough online traffic to provide consumers for the brands. Retailers are making more use of fashion blogs to create more awareness of their products or brands. The popularity of a brand enables more sales volume and consumer preference (Ziv, 2013). Fashion bloggers today, can reach a broad client base and even get the attention of individuals who were not even aware of the product. 

Retailers in the fashion industry play an important role in the distribution of products. However, they need to know that technology offers more opportunities that should be explored. As a result, they can maintain new and loyal customers by enhancing their relationships. The use of internet in this industry has facilitated product development through the exchange of ideas and coming up with designs not similar to those of other competitors. The internet is vital for the marketing of business products to many people in different places. Since fashion industry requires aggressive marketing, there is the need for a platform that will make it easier. Today, if there is a fashion firm not using the internet cannot succeed. The markets are competitive, and brands keep changing every season. Innovation is important for the industry because customer’s tastes also change.


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