Monthly Retail Round-Up - April 2019

Some of the best articles from the world of retail and its supporting industries.

Monthly Retail Round-Up - April 2019

Dressipi brings you April’s most exciting retail stories, all with a common thread of sustainability.

1) PrettyLittleThing Takes Steps Towards Sustainability

With sustainability being a hot topic among retailers, Drapers reported that “PrettyLittleThing has partnered with clothing-recycling app Regain in an effort to divert consumers’ unwanted garments from landfill.” Regain encourages customers to donate their unwanted clothes and in return will give discount codes for them to use towards their next PrettyLittleThing purchase.

Reported in Fashion United, “Online fast fashion brands like PrettyLittleThing, Missguided, ASOS and Boohoo are often criticized for being unsustainable. Now it seems like PrettyLittleThing, one of the brands under the Boohoo Group, is looking to diminish its environmental impact - or at least change its reputation.”

Drapers also reported, in another bid to become more sustainable, PrettyLittleThing “has launched a collection made from recycled materials and fabrics.”

Umar Kamani, CEO, PrettyLittleThing said, “This is another step in the right direction towards sustainable fashion. We know this isn’t the answer to everything, and our aim is to continue to learn new ways and adapt new methods in which the business as a whole can become more sustainable and responsible in terms of protecting the planet for the future.”

2) A New Way to Receive Fashion Advice

Reported in the Evening Standard, H&M has “launched a platform (website and Instagram account) called ‘Itsapark’ which facilitates peer-to-peer styling and shopping recommendations” in an attempt “to engage the millennial ecommerce customer”.

People can ask questions such as ‘What should I wear on a first date?’, ‘How do I dress for an important interview?’, and ‘How can I make beige look cool?’. These questions must be posted on the ‘Discussion’ page for Itsapark to assign three ‘creators’ who are rewarded to answer it.

Fashion Network reported, “the answers are provided in Instagram-style image or video form, with a link to all products mentioned - even if they are not from an H&M-owned brand.” Product recommendations for competitors ASOS, Topshop, River Island and New Look are linked, which poses the question - could this be a way for H&M to gain a greater understanding of how their customers shop with competitors?

Itsapark said (reported in the Evening Standard), “Sometimes fashion can be rather confusing and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our mission is to create a meeting place where people can exchange ideas and advice around fashion. We’d love to invite you to join in the discussion and get answers to your most immediate style needs.”

3) ASOS Blacklists Serial Returners

In a recent email, ASOS explained they have updated their returns policy to increase the time customers have to return items from 28 days to 45 days. After 45 days, customers are still able to return items but will receive a gift voucher for the amount they spent instead of a refund.

In addition to this, reported in Drapers, “ASOS is also threatening to investigate and take action if it notices any unusual return patterns.” People who demonstrate such behaviour (labelled as ‘serial returners’) are suspected of buying clothes online, wearing them, and then returning for a full refund. A warning was sent saying these accounts would be suspended or even deactivated.

Reported in Fashion United, ASOS explained that “it needs to ensure its returns are made in a way that is sustainable for it [ASOS] as well as the environment.”

4) Can AI be used to Tailor Shirts?

H&M is constantly innovating and therefore in the news again this April. Reported in Fashion United, the Swedish giant is “harnessing AI to test online tailoring feature.” H&M has partnered with ZyseMe to try and create accessible and affordable tailored clothing, online.

Called Just.Perfect, the project enables men to buy fitted white shirts for just €39,99. Fashion United stated, “Rather than taking extensive time-consuming measurements normally associated with tailoring, customers simply need to enter information – such as height, weight, size and shoe size – into the H&M app. Then, ZyseMe’s software uses algorithms and historical data to turn the customer measurements into information that is sent to H&M suppliers.”

The software customises with different fabrics and buttons and in the future, will expand into other garments and womenswear. Oliver Lange, Head of H&M Lab Germany, said in a statement, reported in Fashion United, “The vision for the future is to offer all customers who value individual measurements their desired H&M products individually tailored, thereby minimizing returns and also reducing the use of resources”.

Reported in PSFK, “H&M Lab Germany, which has focused on sustainable clothing and other areas for innovation, has been working a number of partnerships to help the company align ecological and economic benchmarks. As part of its overarching strategy, this digital customization process enables the retailer to embrace sustainability and heighten its engagement with customers by involving them in the design process.”

We hope you enjoyed the round-up. Please feel free to get in touch with any stories you feel would be of interest.

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