In occasion of this year's coincidence of Fashion Revolution Week and Girls in ICT Day (April 22), we have interviewed some of our members working in fashion and asked about their view on the digitalization of their business. More specifically, we talked about the role of e-commerce in today's fashion world. Here, Anne de Jongh, Founder and CEO of Decodata, shares her perspective.
1) How big of a role does technology – and more specifically e-commerce – play in your business?
“Big… Huge… Enormous! E-commerce is one of Decodata’s key lifelines. Without e-commerce, tech and data our solution would not be a solution. Decodata takes away a costly, timely and rather painful process from furniture retailers. By structuring data, digitasing and automation we save them at least 50% of time and costs spent on processing furniture productspecifications.”
2) What do you think about the evolution of e-commerce, especially since the pandemic started?
“What we’ve seen so far in the Home & Living branche, the furniture landscape, is that because of Covid-19 e-commerce has become fital. Without being visible online with your offering, it is extremly hard to sell your products. At first, with the shops being forced to completly close, there was no physical way to reach customers. With the possibility of shopping by appointment, there are new opportunitues, but they are very limited and scarce. Therefore, offering a broad and trustworthy collection of products is essential for the survival of your business.”
3) What difficulties did you encounter while using e-commerce in your business and what advantages did it bring you?
“The Home & Living branche is known to be focussed on the physical aspect of selling. Due to Covid retailers were forced to look at online options and were forced to adapt or stay behind. Because 90% of sales in the Home & Living branche used to be in physical shops, this adoption of digitalisation has been bumpy. It’s our mission to help these retailers and brands, by getting rid of the manual work of copy-pasting product specifications in order to process the online offering.”
4) In your opinion, what are the necessary elements for any e-commerce to be successful?
“Relevance, in terms of digitalisation and automation, perseverance and confidence in your own product.”
5) What do you think of the future of e-commerce?
“Online will grow even further, and will be here to stay. Of course, the physical shops will open up sometime in the future, but the shift has been made already. The importance of digitalisation and visibility online can’t be overlooked anymore. Customers want to see what you have to offer, not only products, but also provide in inspirational and orientational stages, before purchasing in your shop. Whether that’s online of physical.”
6) What tips would you give to women entrepreneurs who are trying to include/amplify an e-commerce section in their business?
“Know your market, know the value you add and make a product that will make a difference. Believing in your product and knowing the exact pain it solves, is key. Besides that, surround yourself with inspirational teammembers and stakeholders. Being motivated is maybe just as important as creating a product or solution that makes other people’s life better.”