As River Island's customer director, where do you see the most important marketing trends in fashion retail?
Social media as discovery of news, products and brands particularly through social aggregators like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Personalisation of content to audience through data driven media. Brands are becoming editorial teams creating branded content to inspire and engage consumers. Brands need to stand for more than just the latest product trends and create emotional, valuable relationships with consumers. Mobile phones are the first point of every shopping journey regardless of where the sale happens.

Digitalisation has empowered customers. How have their demands changed over the last 10 years?
Dramatically! They want everything now! They demand seamless, easy experiences. And they have much lower attention spans but spend much more time engaging with media and brands on their phones as leisure. Today's customers are influenced more by images that they see in all media types.

Which services can fashion retail offer to their customers nowadays to improve loyalty and customer satisfaction?
A consistent multi-channel experience is required. Easy returns and collection of web orders in store. We have to build a meaningful relationship with customers through understanding their content consumption and product purchases to make brand interactions as meaningful as possible.

How does River Island engage customers?
We try through every touch point! Through articulation of brand, product and service messages. And we demonstrate our love and respect of customers style.

Personalisation is the current buzzword. How do you judge this trend, and what personalisation feature did you come across lately that stunned you?
I think relevancy is critical to engage consumers and personalised content enables brands to show to customers they understand their needs. Consumer attention spans are decreasing and we see an increasing amount of cluttered content so brands need to be able to cut through quickly – making brand content as relevant as possible helps to do this. We are about to test a personalised TV ad strategy which is exciting and a new capability.

How can fashion retailers compete with Zalando or Amazon?
By being as distinctive and relevant to their loyal customers as possible. Amazon and Zalando excel at convenience and choice therefore brands have to deliver differentiated services and products to make sure they can offer something different.

Josie Cartridge will talk at the 67th International Retail Summit on 7 and 8 September 2017.