How technology transforms fashion

21 February 2023

SBP's phygital and consumer centred approach.

The role of technology in the fashion sustainability transformation

In recent years the fashion industry has been under scrutiny for its social and environmental impacts. In an effort to clean up its act, innovations around fashion sustainability have germinated in all sectors, most of which can be attributed to technological improvements. From AI, to blockchain, augmented realities, 3D scanning, and phygital experiences, the rise of technology has allowed the digitisation of processes, with increased speed and efficiency.

This has become especially important as the pandemic exposed the shortcomings of the industry. From supply chain inefficiencies, to large volumes of unsold stock, brands had to adapt to tackle different challenges whilst shifting to digital retail. Technology has the ability to democratise fashion at scale, increasing access, promoting sustainability, accelerating innovation and redefining the face of the industry.

Scaling technologies can represent major opportunities to further fashion sustainability narrative. Digitalisation can reduce carbon footprints, wasted stock and increase efficiencies in inventory management. Furthermore blockchain and data insights represent big opportunities for brands to achieve transparency along the apparel supply chain.

At SBP we are committed in helping brands achieve true sustainability and technology is crucial for us to do so. Immersive digital experiences combined with science based data can represent a big opportunity for brands to prove they’re genuinely transparent and constantly improving. At SBP we believe technology can help brands take control of their sustainability data and share it with their customers; allowing them to access the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions from brands they can trust.

The importance of consumer centric communication

Consumers are more vocal than ever when it comes to holding brands accountable and demanding transparency in fashion. They are becoming more savvy in spotting greenwashing and want to shop from brands that align with their values.

Brands that want to stay competitive in this changing landscape need to become consumer centric. This means putting the consumer’s wants and needs above all else, looking at customer experience, satisfaction level and listening to their desires, opinions and adapting their product offering accordingly.

To achieve consumer centricity, brands must capture consumer feedback and implement it in their business, making data driven decisions to improve consumers’ satisfaction. The key is to make consumers feel listened to and nurturing an authentic connection with them based on trust and shared values, in order to build a lasting relationship.

Increasingly consumers want brands to disclose information about the products they’re selling. According to McKinsey, 67% of consumers now pay attention to the environmental impacts of their clothing. They are aware of the impacts the fashion industry is responsible for and want to support brands that are working to reduce theirs. Slogans and commitments are not enough, consumers want to see reliable, credible, science-based data that proves a brand’s commitment to the cause and that concrete steps in the right direction are being taken.

At SPB we marry consumer centricity with technological advancements and sustainability data to support brands in developing authentic relationships with their customers. Technology can help gather and showcase information about brands’ sustainability, helping companies reduce their impacts and consumers feel good about their purchases.

Phygital services for fashion brands

At SBP we mainly measure sustainability performances, turning operational data into sustainability KPIs, but our services also have the ability to bring brands closer to their customers through phygital experiences. Phygital means using technology to bridge the gap between the digital world and the physical dimension, providing a unique and realistic interactive experience for the user.

Once brands measure their performances and assess their impacts all throughout the supply chain, they can identify any hotspots, set improvement targets and design better products. To communicate the findings they can use digital widgets​​ on their website or go further with the Sustainability ID card, a comprehensive exhibit of their sustainability data.

For a truly immersive experience, fashion brands can obtain a QR code that takes users to the Sustainable ID card, a mobile first experience that allows sustainability data to become accessible in seconds, showcasing both product specific information and company wide sustainability metrics. This is an immersive, engaging asset that brands can use to provide evidence of their commitment to sustainability and display the journey of their products for full transparency.

Through the Brand ID card, fashion companies can present a variety of data. Thanks to its easily accessible, interactive design, this tool allows users to scroll through different metrics and learn more about a company’s sustainability in just a few clicks.

The brand ID card opens up with a description of the company purpose and ethos, then the Eco Scoring tool is displayed which shows an overall rating of the brand out of 6 and gives a breakdown of more specific scores for different aspects of sustainability. Based on the data the brand provides, we allocate individual ratings for company sustainability, circularity and innovation, supply chain and traceability and community and transparency.

Furthermore through this ID card, brands that calculate their carbon emissions throughout the value chain with SBP also have the option to showcase their total emissions across all three scopes and additionally offset them and display their carbon neutrality widget. The final badge includes information on how a brand is performing in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For product-specific sustainability performance, fashion brands can use the Product ID card that’s created based on Product Lifecycle Assessments (LCA) that we carry out. This ID card, like the above-mentioned one gives brands the possibility of displaying sustainability data through a QR code that can be attached to the physical garment tag and when scanned, allows access to all the product’s information digitally.

The product impact is calculated using life cycle analysis, this is a methodology we use to assess the environmental impacts generated throughout the life cycle of a product. Different metrics can be shown, from the global warming potential, the water use, to the ecotoxicity of the product. The product journey is also displayed starting from the raw material, then the production sites and where packaging and logistics take place, as well as the name of the suppliers. Through this tool, fashion brands can showcase full transparency within their supply chain.

We believe this experience is a significant added value for brands that are serious about sustainability. It allows consumers to fully understand in a simple, accessible way the impact of the products they’re purchasing, guaranteeing transparency and traceability so they can make thoughtful, informed buying decisions. This can strengthen brand-consumer relationships and increase brand loyalty.

At SBP we are committed to delivering valuable sustainability assessments, supporting fashion brands all the way. With a holistic approach we help measure brands’ sustainability performances, map their supply chain, identify areas that need improvement and set goals. All these findings can then be seamlessly integrated into brands’ websites to make the data we gather accessible to customers allowing them to know exactly what they’re buying.

Technology has a huge potential to democratise information and simplify data. We are committed to helping brands track, improve and communicate their sustainability journey through a phygital experience like no other.

Book a demo of all our solutions here.
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