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Fashiontech Berlin: listening is key

By Barbara Russ

Jul 24, 2018


On 4th July 2018, #Fashiontech Berlin took place for the eighth time in the German capital. Since 2015, guests have been meeting at the conference to discuss the latest developments at the interface of fashion and technology. Especially for retailers, the importance of digitisation is not to be underestimated, but it is precisely them who are often the least able to do so. However, they should start thinking and acting in an interdisciplinary way now.

Thus, #Fashiontech Berlin has set itself the goal of "bringing together actors from the relevant areas, not only to share their knowledge as speakers or through masterclasses, but also to jointly develop future-oriented solutions for the digital age, to generate new customer contacts and to connect fashion retailers with fashion consumers", as noted in a statement by the organisers. The conference was initiated by conference organiser Anita Tillmann, founder and CEO of the Premium Group, as well as host Michael Stracke, business development officer and and initiator Ole Tillmann. The motto this season is #Listen!.

Many business leaders came together; among them Karl Wehner (Alibaba Group), Tarek Müller (About you), Michael Kliger (mytheresa.com), Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (Flowerbx), Inga Griese (Icon), Amar Nagaram and Rishi Vasudev of Leyla Piedayesh, Robin Ardeshir of Plug and Play, Florian Heinemann of Project A Ventures, Martin Wild of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group and Lukas Gant of Alphatauri. They all shared their individual experiences with digitisation with the audience.

Social media, virtual reality and artificial intelligence

Thomas Schulz, correspondent for business and technology with German magazine Der Spiegel stressed the importance of artificial intelligence. He is the only German journalist with access to Google and is based in Silicon Valley. He claims artificial intelligence to be the biggest thing happening right now. Bigger even than one could imagine. Already, social media inspires 74 percent of all customers to buy, according to Mathias Danone of Fashwell. And how to shop in virtual reality when you can not use your hands? Maks Giordano of Kreait knows: with a nod of the head.

Tarek Müller: we want to digitise virtual window shopping

Tarek Müller is the co-founder and CEO of About You, Europe's fastest-growing e-commerce company, which is also a fashion and lifestyle magazine. According to Müller, purchasing decisions by professional buyers are still a combination of intuition and data. However, knowing the data is still essential, he emphasizes. When asked if he sees About You as a fashion or tech company, he said: "About You is both - a fashion and a tech company. We certainly have a strong tech and data DNA, but without fashion, logistics and marketing expertise, it does not work either.” He also believes that knowledge at all these levels is critical to survive in today's competitive environment. One can simply not afford to "limp behind in any area, otherwise you will be punished directly by the customer", he said.

Michael Kiger: „Think mobile first. And then mobile only.“

Michael Kiger of Mytheresa also believes that customer service for online retail means thinking as much as possible about everything: "Customers come to us because of the luxury fashion, but if we do not offer a perfect shopping experience and perfect service, they are gone very quickly. For us, from the customer's point of view, everything belongs together. We have to be fast, easy and completely mobile first. It sounds simple, but it requires a great deal of technical innovation in the background." In the future, he sees even greater mobile networking and interaction happening: "In addition, there are new topics such as personalisation or shoppable videos that respond to new customer needs. More than half of the orders on mytheresa.com are already generated via smartphone or tablet. Our customers spend a few minutes on the site, select articles and then purchase. Mobile is unstoppable and purchasing decisions will become even more impulsive in the future. Under certain circumstances, voice interfaces and VR devices will replace today's smartphone. In any case, the luxury customer of the future will be even more global and even more impatient."

This article was originally written by Barbara Russ for FashionUnited.de. Translated and edited by Simone Preuss.

Photos: Fashiontech Berlin. Photo 2: Tarek Müller, Photo 3: Michael Kiger