Fashion brands have been successfully selling their collections to consumers online for many years, but now fashion brands are starting to sell directly to their wholesale customer. While the fashion marketplace is dominant withbusiness to consumer sales, business to business sales is a new arena that is receiving more attention with new online companies offering interesting possibilities.
These online companies essentially offer a service that removes the spreadsheets, printed linesheets, catalogues, purchase order forms and bulky email attachments, and instead connect the wholesale buyer directly to the designers in a convenient online format.
Convenient online format
Companies such as NuOrder, Balluun, BrandRoom and MonkeyNMiddle offer an online wholesale marketplace where brands can upload their stock inventory and create linesheets of collections allowing buyers to place orders from anywhere in the world. Generally these companies will charge a subscription fee to brands and access to buyers and stores is free. Handy off-line iPad apps mean direct sales can take place in showrooms and orders can be saved and accessed at a later time.
NuOrder, a digital B2B marketplace based in New York, allows brands to take their product information and imagery online. Their sales team keeps tabs on inventory, creating custom line sheets, fostering easy sales for buyers. Furthermore, a customised URL means your log-in page displays your brand identity. In-app branding can show campaigns and collections can be merchandised with easy drag & drop features.
Of course the major drawback is that buyers need to touch and feel collections. Ordering from an online image is not the same as seeing the actual garment. This drawback, however, was the same hurdle with the start of online fashion consumer sales, which is now a multi-billion pound industry. Many buyers prefer to work directly with their clients, building relationships and getting into details or special collaborative product would not be possible.
Still, for an average retailer it is proving to be a helpful buying platform, and who knows where the technology will take us in a few seasons from now. NuOrder boasts clients such as Helmut Lang, Tibi, Adidas and Ted Baker, and has sold over 750,000 units in the past year.