An Agent’s Toolkit: The Virtual Showroom
26 March 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
It’s pretty safe to assume that your social media feeds are currently full of posts concerning only one thing: our faithful friend COVID-19. For a lot of us, we are entering an extremely uncertain time both professionally and personally, and we should be transparent in acknowledging and accepting that. However, that doesn’t mean our situation should bring bad news for us or our businesses – in fact, we are now approaching an intriguing and interesting time in the quest for harnessing change and making the industry better for all.
In our latest posts, we’re looking at some of the many ways fashion could change for good, and how we can make the best of a bad situation!
One topic that has remained a sticking sore point for much of the European and North American industry is the continuing decline of attendance and lack of enthusiasm for the trade show circuit. As the new season looks to be affected by the global spread of Coronavirus, we can look to the digital innovation of Chinese companies to find a successful way to counteract the problem. In the midst of a strictly enforced lockdown, CEO of showroom and buying agency DFO Meimei Ding looked to utilising livestreaming to replace the digital showroom experience thanks to younger members of her staff. Despite initial hesitance to how international brands would respond, DFO doubled their number of national buyers while reaching 80% of their sales targets – 95% of which were placed online. This not only highlights digital competency in an uncertain time, but also the amount of scope and opportunity agents have at their fingertips.
What are the benefits of going digital?
As we discussed in our previous blog post, agents are a vital part of any brand’s strategy now more than ever – with the ability to adapt into the virtual world just another string to their bow. Up until now, digital showrooms have been banished to the sidelines, but as the need for fashion to re-evaluate its approach as a whole increases, they can now step up to the mark. There is a new level of efficiency with this strategy as single, well-planned sessions can reach hundreds of customers, appealing to the growing need for omnichannel selling. The brands themselves can use livestreams to cover a number of things in one go, including discussing new collections and selling products from current seasons.
As long as there continue to be brands creating great products and designs, the industry can join together to adapt to a different way of working. Independent showrooms can work in conjuction with the trade shows of today, utilising their growing digital toolkit to connect brands and buyers. The pandemic may have been the catalyst for using these digital evolutions, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean this will be abandoned in post-lockdown life, but rather that agents and industry professional alike can successfully run digital elements alongside more traditional, offline models
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