Today’s fashion industry is fast-paced and unforgiving. Delivering on-trend collections on time is just one-of-the-many items on a fashion company’s to-do list. The fashion landscape is undergoing a complete overhaul thanks to four mega-trends: Millennials, Digitalization, the rise of Industry 4.0 and China’s economic growth.
This is a litmus test for companies. The stakes are high. For those who manage to get on board with these changes will emerge as winners of the fashion game. But what do these changes mean for your business? How should your company embrace them?
We believe that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all companies. Because every business is different. And every business has different needs, challenges and objectives. We sat down with our customers to understand how these changes will impact their businesses. Based on our discussions and research, we’ve written three lite papers for three market segments: Retailers, Brands and Manufacturers. We’ve dedicated one lite paper to each market segment where we’ve discussed and dissected all industry challenges in detail, as well as how they can be overcome.
Just to give you an idea of what’s to come, here are some of the challenges we’ve outlined that retailers, brands and manufacturers may face.
Here are some of the common challenges of the RETAIL business:
- Responding to consumer demands is becoming increasingly difficult.
With millennial consumers asking for more personalized products to be delivered to them within short time frames, every retailer needs to produce a greater number of small-volume collections and jump on trends quickly. The average lead time in the industry has gone from 12 weeks to one. And it’s getting harder to respond and adapt to these new demands.
- Maintaining profit margins has been difficult given rising material costs.
Material costs are rising and this has been affecting the company’s bottom line. Sourcing in low labor cost countries is a short-term approach to a long-term issue, but so far, there has been no feasible alternative available.
- Designers are struggling with creativity under pressure.
Deadlines are getting tighter, consumers are demanding more collections with more style variety and personality, and yet the creative team headcount remains the same. There has to be a way to free them from administrative tasks so they can start focusing on their craft.
A fashion BRAND may be experiencing these difficulties right now:
It is getting increasingly hard to offer unique, high-quality collections at competitive prices.
Brands want consumer loyalty. That means they have to need to ensure that the quality of their products is consistent and that their prices remain the same while safeguarding their brand DNA. There are missing gaps in the supply chain that have to be identified and fixed. What has the company been over- and under-spending on? Which areas should they focus on instead?
- Product development teams are struggling to constantly deliver innovative collections, because administrative tasks are (literally) cramping their style.
Today’s consumers want more variety, more collections and more personalization. But product developers and patternmakers also need the time to think and get inspiration between collections. How can they lighten their workload to allow themselves the time to do so?
- The brand is losing money because of inefficient prototyping and product approval processes.
The company has been using manual methods. As a result, paper patterns get lost and non-standardized tech packs lead to misinterpretation. They need to find a way to capitalize on existing data to speed up the validation process and create products of accurate size, material quality and fit.
And last but not least, for MANUFACTURERS:
- There has been an overstock of materials and a regular occurrence of unexpected costs.
Miscommunication is causing tons of problems for everyone. By not being able to communicate with suppliers in real-time, a lot of manufacturers are not getting the right amount of fabric and not producing the right amount of goods. Team members are having problems estimating the exact amount of fabric needed prior to production. This results in product markdowns.
- Sampling is taking up a lot of time.
Time is precious in fashion. It’s important to get the right data in order to make right products of the desired quality and fit. Many team members end up redoing samples because they have been receiving the wrong information. When time is tight and there is demand for more product variety, mistakes are bound to happen. What can be done to avoid them?
- Customers are placing large-volume orders at the last minute all the time, which is affecting your company’s bottom line.
As the fashion industry is so fast-paced, it is inevitable that your customers will mess up occasionally, and place last-minute orders. However, their mess becomes yours, as your company will have no time to shop around for the best suppliers, and lose a big part of your profit in the process.
Want to know how you can overcome these challenges?
Read our lite papers to find out more.