1) Although the Italian digital sector is lagging behind (if compared with the overall market), fashion e-commerce is increasing (for Italy, clothing only is at 1.4 billion Euro in 2013), with a 350% growth for mobile e-commerce. The opportunities for further expansion of e-commerce in the fashion sector are quite extraordinary. It is currently below tourism in terms of sales, and there is no reason why it should not be in the top of the list (thank you Valeria!).
2) Connective commerce is a reality. A lot of (main) brands are quickly recouping the lost ground. Benetton, for instance, is fully integrating on-line and off-line experiences, and their digital investment is above 50% of advertising spend. We look forward to seeing the next launch of integrated shops in Milan and new connective applications (thank you Gianluca and Francesco!).
3) (F)Blogs remain an issue. There is a general awareness that certain bloggers or fashion influencers may be paid (also through their agents), particularly if any such influencers acquired a celebrity status. In certain jurisdictions, there are specific sanctions for (undisclosed) sponsored blogs. In a number of jurisdictions, the general rules for advertising would apply (and to a certain extent, “presents” may be permitted). Regardless of the actual sanctions, transparency is advised so as not to lose credibility (thank you Ann!).
4) There are no “free rider” jurisdictions on e-commerce or wearable technologies. For instance, with the implementation of the data protection and consumers legislations in China, there will likely be a further increase of online shopping confidence (and scrutiny). Various strategies can be devised when entering “digitally” into an emerging market (thank you Betty!).
5) Despite some common regulations in Europe, e-commerce remains an assorted arena. Looking at the relevant case law, in certain jurisdictions, a specific focus should be addressed also to the after-sales assistance: the more there is a customized after-sale, the lesser the risks (thank you Carol and Ruth!).
Given the (extreme) diversity of the various players and jurisdictions that may be involved, any digital strategy cannot be taken lightly. Online brand and technology protection, communication and reputation management remain of paramount importance when devising a digital strategy.
We cannot summarize here all the topics discussed (sorry to the panellists we have not mentioned). Please let us know if you want a copy of the benchmark we made on e-commerce, (f)blogs and wearable technologies, or if you require more data based on the Milan University research. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you at the next seminar of our Fashion, Design & Retail Group. Ciao!