Consumers, Technology and China Market Reshaping Apparel Industry
Alvanon said today that its president and global fashion business expert Ed Gribbin will participate on a panel at the Apparel Sourcing Summit at MAGIC in Las Vegas on Aug. 15.
The session is titled “Sourcing 2020: Winning Through a Continuously Evolving Sourcing Strategy.” For his part, Gribbin said “managers from every sector and geographic region of the fashion business have a stake in the ways our industry embraces disruption, innovation and change.”
“Ever-increasing customer demands for factors like speed to market and enhanced customer engagement will either propel our businesses to greater prosperity or leave them struggling in the past,” he added.
Here, Gribbin discusses some of the major trends in the market and how a “consumer-centric” environment is impacting business as well as where opportunities exist for retailers and brands.
WWD: What are some of the emerging themes you are seeing in the retail market?
Ed Gribbin: There are a number of themes emerging in retail fashion today and they generally fall into one of three areas: one, the need for more continual and impactful customer engagement; two, the desire to leverage new technologies to enhance both the top and bottom lines, and three, the increasing impact of sustainability and social responsibility issues on business decision-making.
To more intimately and continually attract and engage customers, retailers are focused on getting faster at developing product. Speed to market seems to be the number-one topic across all segments of the apparel/fashion world. While traditional new product development cycles stretch out to 18 months — many retailers have already launched development of their collections for spring 2018 — retailers are finding that customers are gravitating toward stores, sites or apps that are always launching new, fresh, “of the moment” products.
Brands can no longer rely on having two big seasons a year and keeping their customers’ attention. New and frequent capsule collections have been proven to attract and keep consumer attention. Whether it’s the success of fast-fashion brands or the ‘see-now-buy-now’ movement sweeping the luxury segment, traditional retail is threatened and slowly responding.
WWD: How is technology redefining the market?
E.G.: In terms of new technologies, retail analytics tools both in store and online are helping retailer’s select, buy, price and promote the products consumers really want. Using real-time data to know when and by how much to discount a product is bringing significant lift to both sales and profitability. Radio frequency ID tags sewn into garments are enabling much more sophisticated inventory management and omnichannel fulfillment strategies.
And the use of new 3-D “virtual” product development software is enabling retailers to develop product faster, enable greater consumer personalization of products, and even test products with consumers “virtually” before producing anything. Having the right product, in the right amounts, priced correctly, when the consumer is ready to buy will yield higher sell-throughs, fewer markdowns and a significant boost to the bottom line.
Click here to read Ed Gribbin’s entire interview with WWD.