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For today’s consumer, personalization has become expected. The smarter, more researched shopper takes time to not only find products that meet specific needs but personal values as well, carefully curating from influences that they align with.

“Consumers have become very Marie Kondo in their approach to buying — they are far more careful and curated in their approach to trends and their influences are primarily from social media versus cues from traditional fashion institutions like magazines and editors,” said Ashwini Asokan, founder and chief executive officer of Vue.ai.

“There are two buying trends that stand out for me,” Asokan said. “The first is the emphasis on values like sustainability and ethical manufacturing and the second is the emphasis on the individual, their styles and their preferences, to the point where personalization is an expectation among 63 percent of consumers, irrespective of whether they’re shopping online or browsing the store.”

According to Asokan, these consumer behavior trends are prevalent even in Netflix’s reality series, “Next in Fashion.”

“The biggest revelation was just about how global the consumer is today, in both identity and outlook,” Asokan said. “The diversity of the show’s contestants proved that today’s consumers live in a hyper-globalized world and are inspired by people and trends from across the world.”

And further, Asokan notes that today’s consumers place importance on how clothes and accessories will be showcased on social media. Those who watched saw Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, talk about specific designs getting “thousands of likes” on Instagram as a selling point for consumers when making a purchase.

“There was also a moment in the show where Minju Kim [a contestant on the show] says that she wants sexy to be ‘her sexy,’ which is also a sentiment that is shared by today’s customers,” Asokan said. “They want brands and retailers to be representative of them, their values and even their body types.”

With so many channels to engage with consumers, retailers struggle to capture consumer intent, not having a single view into the psyche of even an individual shopper. To better capture a consumer’s intent, Asokan tells WWD retailers need to engage with customer profiles which shows a 360-degree view into each person.

“We’re not just talking segments of people, we’re talking each and every individual. Retailers need to equip themselves with tools that will help them join all the data dots, across channels, to build a holistic view of the customer,” Aoskan said. “They need to look beyond what consumers are buying and focus on the why.” Loyalty, she said, can be earned when a brand gives the shopper good curation, customer experience and personalization, noting that most retargeting and ad money spent in acquisition becomes futile.

“Retailers don’t have good clean data on both their inventory and their customers,” Asokan said. “This is why so many we speak to today are investing in AI tools — it’s to create that data, use it in a meaningful way to create a shopper who’s loyal to and invested with the brand, and not just a one-time buyer driven by discounts.”

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