Alvanon’s Ed Gribbin Cites Disruption, Risk-taking as Keys to Advancing Fashion Development, Fit and Speed to Market
Alvanon president and global fashion business authority Ed Gribbin expressed concern over the industry’s slow reaction to the technology demands of “today’s empowered consumers” at the company’s Technology Trends Event seminar, held June 8 at NYC’s Hotel Eventi.
The seminar, attended by managers of leading brands, such as Lord & Taylor, J.C. Penney, Calvin Klein and Under Armour, also featured panel guests from retail specialist EDITED, information without programming supplier BeProduct, and data provider Fit Analytics. Together, the panel addressed a variety of hot button fashion business issues ranging from “how to stock winners and price perfectly” to “converting more online shoppers” and “growth strategies for new markets.”
In his keynote speech, Alvanon’s Gribbin stressed the need for breaking away from outdated processes and putting technology to work in ways that enhance product development, improve fit and accelerate speed to market.
“If you think about the product development processes that we employ today, they are very similar to the practices we’ve known for the past 50 or 60 years,” Gribbin said. “We tend to think that fashion is all about change, and yet we are one of the most change-resistant industries in the world.”
“Consumers are far more empowered today than even two years ago,” he noted. “The retailer once owned us, the consumer. If you wanted a piece of apparel, you had to go to a store when that store was open, look at the selection of merchandise that some merchant decided you would want to buy and, if you found something you liked, hopefully they had it in your size.
“Technology has turned that around. Today, the consumer is the center of everything. Many of our business models are broken and some beyond repair.”
Gribbin added that there are “disrupters” today who are finding different and better ways to serve the customer, and that these new ways “have everybody shaking.”
“By June of next year, Amazon will surpass Macy’s as the largest seller of clothing in the U.S.,” he said. “In 2010, they sold virtually zero clothing. So nontraditional retailers are coming in and taking market share. There’s a 57 percent decline in retail traffic over the past five years.”
Read the full article at Apparel.com