Tech options freeing marketers to focus on brand engagement

A consumer-centric landscape where people shop whenever, wherever and however they want is forcing traditional retailers to evolve. Brands are stepping up efforts to sell directly to the consumer — online and with physical stores.

When it comes to deploying technology, the footwear industry is, in many ways, far ahead of the fashion apparel and accessories segments — from 3-D printing to advanced automation in the supply chain.

But on the retail end of the business, the challenges include millennial shoppers, who change brand loyalty in a flash, a desire for a seamless shopping experience (online and in stores) and an overall lack of product knowledge and service in department, mass and specialty stores.

The good news is that the industry is seeing a commercialization of technologies from machine learning and artificial intelligence to virtual and augmented reality that is redefining customer engagement via personalization and a shopping experience that consumers describe as “delightful".

And while companies such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are leading the way by deploying these technologies, the commercialization and availability of these solutions is accessible to smaller niche brands and specialty retailers as well.

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