The global fashion industry is no stranger to the unpredictability of our time. With a looming recession and inflation-driven expense hikes, companies have no choice but to resort to tight cost control measures. Whilst it might seem counterintuitive to invest in specialised industry tools during such a volatile moment in history, there has never been a better time to improve operational efficiency. Despite the bleak economic outlook, brands can still benefit from increased returns through the implementation of relevant technologies and by using the data they produce to inform decision-making.
But what type of technology is relevant for the current state of the industry? With so much talk of the metaverse and Web 3 it can be difficult to ascertain the best strategy for the allocation of resources. Time and budgets only stretch so far, so to aid in the establishment of future strategies, we put together three key pieces of advice according to industry experts to help ensure longevity on this fluctuating market.
Implement the right digital solutions
According to a recent report by McKinsey, e-commerce currently represents about 15% of retail and wholesale sales in the EU, a share that is expected to double, reaching 30% by 2030. However, it is no longer enough to have a website or an app; brands of today need an integrated approach to selling that connects all parts of its business.
Specialised digital solutions including wholesale platforms and enterprise resource software (ERP) such as LE NEW BLACK and Zedonk can help businesses to make better-informed decisions and streamline back office processes. They can help improve day-to-day tasks such as collection planning, cost calculation, pricing, and wholesale relationship and sales management, saving time for teams involved in the production and sales process.
But the benefits of implementing a solid digital strategy are not limited to the internal processes of a company. They can have knock-on effects for a brand, including enhancing its legitimacy in the eyes of its clients who, thanks to the rapid digitalisation of the industry during lockdowns, have come to expect access to digital sales tools and who are becoming increasingly adept and independent in the utilisation of them.
“Hundreds of brands are using these tools to sell and distribute to thousands of clients. These platforms are well recognised and trusted worldwide. The interface and logistics and production documentation are familiar to the majority of retailers. Your brand is immediately seen in a better light for aligning with what have now become industry standards. You can gain immediate access to years of experience and customer feedback.” says Marco De Vecchio, Director of Operations at ZEDONK.
Digital solutions can also make the difference when maintaining relationships with existing retailers, allowing brands to sell from wherever they are in the world, even when their buyers are unable to travel. Whether it be the tightening of budgets due to rising inflation or digital marketing costs, digital can facilitate client exchanges, cultivating strong relationships and therefore ongoing business.
Save time for your team with automation
However, it’s not enough to simply implement several tools without a strategy that integrates the data between systems. Make your workflow more intelligent by automating data transfer processes between your ERP and your wholesale platform to save time for your team and allowing them to allocate precious time to other more important areas of the business. Transfer everything from product descriptions, photos, customer information, stock levels and order details without any extra effort required, removing the need for double data entry, whilst also increasing operational efficiency.
"Tools, no matter how good they are, isolated from each other, can only provide you with raw data that needs to be reprocessed, and then integrated into another tool... This adds complexity to the processes and disperses efforts." says Mélanie Chetty, Chief Operations Officer at LE NEW BLACK. "The LE NEW BLACK platform, extends the proximity and collaboration between brands and buyers by providing clear information and powerful tools via an intuitive and aesthetic experience. It's even more effective for the parties involved when this information, of product availability, pricing, stock, for example, is updated in real time between systems."
Opt for off-the-shelf integration
Many brands still put off integrating the right tools because of fears about implementation time or costs, however it is not necessary for every brand to build a custom-made solution. For most brands, a ready-to-implement automation can provide the sought after benefits and be implemented without the price tag and the months long development process that comes with implementing a bespoke solution.
“When it comes to integration, brands often imagine that they need dedicated resources to set up the project, which means time and money. This is where fully integrated connectors like LE NEW BLACK and Zedonk make all the difference. They are an effective answer for organisations that want to focus on their core business without wasting months implementing a bespoke automated solution,” writes Chetty, emphasising the benefits of ready-made digital tools.
One thing is certain, integrating the right digital solutions and automating data transfer can help brands increase productivity. Having a comprehensive digital strategy that links e-commerce and back office processes can bring brands the agility they need to deal with any obstacles they may face, increasing their resilience and weathering the storm of today’s precarious market.