Logistics teams across the industry face a growing challenge of keeping up with the explosion of technology in the world of fashion retailing.
Thirty years ago Bill Gates was seen by many as a dreamer when he forecast that there would be a computer in every home but we now have many commentators including Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, forecasting that the entire global population is going to be online by 2020.
A new generation of shopping ‘screenagers’ are growing up purchasing fashion on multiple devices at multiple times and in multiple venues. Retailers’ “lab teams” are coming up with new and increasingly tailored propositions to increasingly tech savvy customers. Mobile, video and social media interact and we are heading into an era of personalised algorithm based retailing.
No longer are shoppers only able to buy what is ‘in stock’ on their local high street but have a huge number of sellers vying for their business with a deep understanding of their preferences. The consumers’ desire to have their purchases as soon as they go through the checkout has not waned. Rather than being sold on the charm of a sales assistant, shoppers are now persuaded by the technology and logistics behind an online offering, how quickly, flexibly and reliably products get from a click of a mouse to a doorstep or a convenient collection point. In this new world the back office has become front of house, with a retailers’ IT capability and fulfilment routes defining how well their business performs at both the top and bottom line.
Digital has become the essence of the fashion retail industry with incredible year-on-year growth figures for those retailers who get it right. And a seamless supply chain is an essential part of retailers delivering a stand-out online business with exemplary customer service.
Looking ahead, the challenge for today’s retailers is how to stand out from the crowd, how to offer something different and how to do what everyone else is doing but just that little bit better, smarter and simpler.