e-Commerce meets Fashion in Ticino: Xia Feng explains the digital transformation in the fashion sector

400MarketPlus is a media partner to the event e-Commerce meets Fashion in the “Ticino Fashion Valley, (Lugano on March 13th ), we met one of the most representative speakers: Xia Feng, Vice President, Digital & Strategy @ VF EMEA.

How is digital changing the world of fashion, does it concern more the sales strategy or also the rest of the process?
Considering digital age, fashion industry is generally undergoing a rapid transformation and almost all aspects of the traditional fashion business models are being disrupted by new technologies. These developments have strong influence on the way we do business at VF. Especially the rise of social media has changed our approach on marketing.

What is one innovation that came up in the last few years that is changing the sector more than others?
The growing increase of e-commerce is forcing us to rethink the role of stores. Large pure players like Amazon, Asos, Zalando and emerging digital verticals are making many fashion brands to re-evaluate their current sales strategies. Additionally, 3D printing and robots are making mass production lose its competitive edge. As a result, the emerging sharing economy allows women to enjoy fashion without the commitment of purchase.
At the same time, all these new technologies and the ones to come provide innovative opportunities – for example, new channels, new global markets, new consumer segments and new categories. Like any other industry being disrupted by technology, fashion must embrace technology for the benefit of our customers. Technology is a means to an end, but not an end itself. We ought to design solutions to solve and fulfill our customer needs. We must not forget: fashion is so much about creativity, individuality, self-expression. It is therefore important that we balance art with science, instinct with data, technology with emotions.

How different is planning a digital strategy for the fashion world as compared to other fields?
At VF, winning in digital means breaking down data silos, developing agile solutions and platforms for our customers as well as attracting great digital talent and leveraging VF’s scale. Ultimately, the creation of products as well as experiences that deeply connect with our consumers describe the winning formula in the digital age.

What new synergies would you like to see happen in the next months/few years?
Well, between the new synergies we would like to see happen in the next future there are proven digital tools, such as CRM. But also emerging, advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, will bring us new, exciting ways to innovate and create desired products for consumers.

I noticed on your website that ethics is a big part of your company. Does that come into play even when you think about digital strategies?
Ethics, but also legal compliance are important elements of our digital strategy. We have high standards on data privacy and we are continuously making significant investments in the system, procedures and technology to ensure our customer data is strictly protected.



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