“Over the past 18 months, the transformation of UK retail has been a hot topic for us all. There is no doubt the retail landscape looks fundamentally different now as a result of the pandemic; with compulsory closures and reduced footfall, many retailers had no choice but to close their physical doors and instead, pursue a digital first approach. However, the shift to online shopping was already in motion before Covid-19 disrupted our world. The events of the last 18 months simply catalysed the movement and we are not shifting back. Experts predict that by the end of 2021, online shopping will account for almost a quarter of total retail sales in the UK – the highest percentage in Europe.
The frontier of retail has diversified, the market is the most dynamic it has ever been and competition is greater than ever before – from personal styling and rental, to second hand and C2C selling. Many retailers have had to reimagine their approach to sales, innovate their online shopping experience, diversify their offering and place more consideration into the wants and needs of their customers.
We know the pre-pandemic consumer was already craving a more personalised, engaging and interactive experience, and this is true now more than ever. Stitch Fix was conceived as an online service, offering personalisation at scale; however we know our customers are still hungry for new shopping experiences. In February we launched Fix Preview in the UK, allowing customers to preview an extended edit of ten curated items prior to being sent their ‘Fix’ of five pieces.
We are also scaling our Live Styling offering, which allows customers to spend some quality one-on-one time with their Stylist, in real time over Zoom. The valuable ‘face to face’ time helps our Stylists connect more deeply with customers, building community and bringing the human connection to the heart of the digital shopping experience. We are already seeing client satisfaction soar with these highly personalised and interactive initiatives, which emphasises the increasing demand for relationship-based shopping.
In addition to the growing want for human connection, consumers are also aware of their purchase power now more than ever. This increased consciousness accelerated during the pandemic as many small businesses felt the colossal impact of forced closures and reduced footfall. From this, a desire to protect the community and support local flourished. At Stitch Fix, we are committed to creating a more equitable world and acknowledge where we need to grow and improve as a business. Joining initiatives such as BCI Cotton, CanopyStyle and Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) help us to keep on track and we hold ourselves accountable by utilising data as a powerful measurement tool.
We believe retail should create inspiring, simple and convenient shopping experiences, with community and human connection at the forefront. Retailers must also be aware of their social impact responsibilities and sustainability credentials whilst constantly striving to do better. Ten years from now, when we look again at the face of retail, we know that it will again be different – and this is so exciting! The brands that will thrive in years to come will be innovating the market, with an agile workflow and a willingness to flex with the consumer, which after all, is the key to success both now and in the future.” – Simon Leesley, Managing Director of Stitch Fix UK
Read more about Stitch Fix UK here.