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.