See Now, Buy Now, Pay Later: Innovative Strategies Or Territories Of Unprecedented Risk?

There is constant evolution in the fashion industry today with many new strategies being invented to keep the systems innovative. Many retailers have debated over whether the strategy of see-now-buy-now could be a good thing or have a devastating impact on creativity thereby substantially shrinking brands.

This definitely still remains a work in progress. The shows at New York Fashion Week this season – Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival cum pier inspired show for his Gigi Hadid collaboration, Ralph Lauren’s showcase in a glass box outside his Madison Avenue flagship and Tom Ford’s cocktail dinner show all had adaptations of the see-now-buy-now model.  While it still remains work-in-progress for the high-end designers and luxury brands, do emerging brands have the financial backing for this? Designs straight off the runway creates a lot of excitement and has the potential to sell really quickly but it may not be the case for every brand or product category.

Agreed upon by some of the big names in the industry it primarily remains a publicity vehicle and yet remains to be seen if the outcomes will be positive for brands and its customers. Contrary to this, some believe that it has made fashion more democratic and inclusive by closing in the gap with consumers. A strategy that needs more speculation nevertheless as it is a rather complex subject than what it appears to be. Until brands cannot accommodate the allocated delivery times with retailers for their collections, the internet will remain a consumer’s go-to source for shopping making the see-now-buy-now a futile experiment altogether.

Amidst being directed to this as the future for fashion businesses, the Arcadia group has pioneered yet another strategy that could bring a new direction for fashion brands particularly e-commerce platforms. As reported by WGSN, they have recently partnered with a Swedish payment provider on an e-commerce financing deal, buy-now-pay-later that allows consumers to pay up to 90 days later after the purchase. This interest free revolutionary approach to shopping will not only boost conversion rates but also ensure and maintain loyalty for their brands. It offers a lot of flexibility to consumers empowering them with the option of paying later post a quick check on eligibility for credit ensuring a seamless experience. Additionally, this would reduce the online basked abandonment which amounts to an average of approximately £37,062 per UK retailer per year as stated by WGSN. But would that check be enough to tackle issues related to forgery in online financing and confirm profitability for the brands in the long run?

Even with all these relatively new models and approaches success is not always a given. There needs to be a lot of assessment of market conditions, consumer demand and financial capital prior to adapting a new strategy or changing the business model. Will fashion businesses become more profitable and agile or simply venture out to risk on their budgets by embracing these new models? There are bankable trends for the industry such as the social media engagement and virtual reality but whether everybody can hop onto the immediacy bandwagon in the climate of uncertainty remains under speculation. The outcomes are uncertain and the future lesser known as fewer brands have adopted or initiated change and those that have also have the wealth to sustain if things went wrong.

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