How modern-day consumers are setting the pace for the fashion industry

Discover how the rules of the fashion game have changed for merchandisers.


How consumers are setting the pace for the fashion industry in the age of e-commerce

The new consumer is deciding on the biggest trends in fashion and speeding up the pace of production for fashion companies. Thanks to the rise of e-commerce and social media, the rules of the fashion game have changed for merchandisers. The fashion hierarchy has been reversed, and the new consumer is now the one deciding on the biggest trends in fashion and accelerating the pace of production for fashion companies. Merchandisers play a key role in helping their companies keep up: they have to identify trends quickly and collaborate more efficiently with other supply chain actors to speed up the collection-planning and management process.  

Read our latest e-guide to find more about:

  • The new fashion consumer 
  • How the rules of fashion have changed 
  • Why fashion companies should acknowledge the new consumer 
  • Why this new consumer behavior calls for a more flexible and agile supply chain 

Download our e-guide for insight into how merchandisers can change the way they manage collections to meet new consumer needs

Merchandisers follow the trend set by consumers

The rise of social media and digital technology has brought about a new phenomenon: the celebration of the individual.This has democratized fashion and toppled the hierarchy, where youngsters no longer need to be schooled by fashion companies and runway shows. Instead, they are the ones calling the shots, telling the industry what’s trending from one season to the other. With the rise of user-generated content through social media, where peers are constantly inspiring each other with new ideas, trends are changing at lightning speed, and companies have to jump on one trend before these fashion-forward consumers move on to the other. These new consumers are presenting a new set of challenges for the industry and it is up to fashion companies to understand their buying behavior and adapt to them quickly.

Providing the perfect omni-channel retail experience is now a must 

Gone are the days when fashion magazines and companies dictated trends. The consumer is now king – and he or she decides on what’s in and out from one season to the next, thanks to the emergence of social media and digital technology. Today’s consumers are making their purchase decisions based on online reviews, and for fashion companies, providing a great omni-channel retail experience is a good way to generate positive word-of-mouth, earn influencer approval and customer loyalty. They also have to take customer feedback (on store websites, forums and social media) into consideration for their future collections. 

Improving supply chain flexibility to respond faster

This new fashion hierarchy has shaken up the traditional production schema – consumers are now leading the production line. Merchandisers play a pivotal role in helping their companies adapt quickly to this new paradigm. They lead the way by understanding their consumers better through dataand planning relevant collections for them. Coordination is crucial in these stages. Orders have to be re-aligned, and supplier schedules re-adapted to the likings of the new consumer. Merchandising teams need to be more responsive in not only picking up trends to create numerous small-volume series within extremely short time spans; but also make sure that these collections will be buzzworthy enough to be promoted by the consumers and influencers themselves via the very same media platforms. In order to do so, their supply chains need to be more flexible.