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2 Ways Fashion Brands Can Optimize In-Store Shopping And Manufacturing Planning

As the future of fashion weaves more closely into the digital realm, fashion brands strive to stay competitive in these times of rapid change. Almost everyone in fashion agrees that in order to thrive even in times of disruption, brands need to focus more on e-commerce. According to the McKinsey 2021 State of Fashion report, 70% of fashion executives forecast more than 20% growth in their e-commerce channels. Indeed, the world’s leading fashion experts call e-commerce “by far the greatest opportunity” for brands. And with brands trying to make their mark in the digital realm, physical retail is suffering. Compared to 2019 levels, offline store sales in Europe are expected to fall 8-13%, and offline sales in the US are expected to decline 22-27%.

However, although fashion brands are experiencing levels of depreciation in offline sales, brands still recognize the importance of their business footprint. Physical retail remains important to a brand’s growth strategy, says Laura Pomerantz, Forbes associate and commercial real estate strategy expert. “Investors are demanding that retailers re-evaluate their real estate to maximize their space,” explains Pomerantz. But to maximize their selling space, how should fashion brands take advantage of manufacturing, especially in an age when online sales are replacing in-store shopping?

Focus on an omnichannel customer journey

Traditionally, the success of a retail store has depended on the amount of product sold within the four walls of its retail space. But with the expansion of the Internet in the 1990s, brands quickly realized that they needed to create multiple access channels through which customers could purchase products, including online stores. Through the multi-channel shopping experience, brands have empowered consumers to engage in the channel they prefer.

And once customers selected their preferred channel, brands optimized the shopping experience within that particular channel to increase engagement. Although customers had access to multiple purchasing channels at this stage, those channels were not necessarily integrated. The multi-channel approach treated channels as independent silos, limiting the potential for increased engagement between channels. Thus, brands have turned towards the omnichannel approach, which has allowed them to integrate the multi-channel approach and offer consumers more personalized products, offers and messages.

To optimize a retail space, fashion brands need to dramatically strengthen omnichannel in-store integration, as consumers need a compelling reason to shop offline. They are used to buying a wide range of products online and consumers will not visit physical retail stores unless fashion brands give them a good reason. McKinsey calls omnichannel in-store integration the “tabletop issues” in the industry’s next phase of growth. In a survey of apparel managers in the United States, 76% said they plan to improve omnichannel integration in stores. To dramatically accelerate this integration, fashion brands should consider the following:

1.Reconsider the role of the store. – Since consumers need a compelling reason to come to the store, fashion brands need to consider the role of the store beyond a simple transactional site. Instead, stores should improve the way consumers experience in-store products. This product discovery process could incorporate greater access to exclusive merchandise (eg, through “in-store only” product acquisitions). Exclusivity for consumers could also mean reduced retail space, which can effectively provide a more exclusive shopping experience.

2.Maximize in-store pickup. – Consumers increasingly demand contactless fulfillment options, and stores can play a central role in the fulfillment process. Inclusion of options such as curbside pickup or in-store pickup from an online order can improve omnichannel integration and provide a more personalized shopping experience for customers, as sellers can interact with customers during pickup.

3.Personalize in-store touchpoints for consumers. – Store associates need access to customer data such as loyalty and buying behavior to capture customers’ attention before their store visits. Important customer data acquired before their in-store visit can aid in a more personalized product discovery process that begins online but ends in-store, creating a more integrated shopping experience.

As fashion brands take these practical steps towards omnichannel in-store integration,

they will need to continually rethink their store’s footprint to accommodate today’s sophisticated and increasingly complex consumer. If fashion brands cope well with their consumers, they can persuade customers online to buy more and make additional purchases in-store first.

Production plan with your manufacturer to get the most out of your retail space

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How should fashion brands design their supply chain processes to support omnichannel optimization?

Furthermore, how can brands integrate digital innovation into the supply chain design process and accelerate these decisions?

When working with the predictive methods that help make these faster decisions, fashion brands should consider shortening the planning cycle and partnering with smaller manufacturers. In doing so, fashion brands can make themselves nimble enough to respond to rapid changes in the industry and better inform about which sales channels to focus on.

Not to mention that smaller manufacturers are often more open to a fashion brand’s changes in production planning, especially because smaller manufacturers focus more on quality standards than volume quotas. Additionally, small manufacturers maintain a relatively insular network of highly vetted suppliers and other manufacturing specialists. By partnering with smaller manufacturers, fashion brands gain access to these island networks and its more collaborative culture, as smaller manufacturers maintain a network based on both vested and personal interests. Therefore, these small manufacturers can play a vital role in the manufacturing success of a fashion brand as they provide brands with more personalized solutions, show a greater willingness to go the extra mile, and even troubleshoot with brands from mode to find potential manufacturing solutions.

To effectively plan production with manufacturers, especially in the rapidly changing environment of the fashion industry, fashion brands need to make effective use of important customer information. Considering that the core of the omnichannel approach puts the customer first over the product, fashion brands must ultimately remember to put the needs of their customers first. Fashion brands must maintain an exceptionally detailed understanding of the needs of their customers, both now and in the future. This detailed understanding plays a critical role in achieving omnichannel excellence, as customer insight will help fashion brands decide which channels to serve, which products to serve, and where to offer them. According to a McKinsey report on the future of retail operations, this important customer information “should be combined with insights into customer behavior from customer interviews, observations and the latest research from market experts, as well as analyzes of competitor e-commerce offerings. . “By harnessing this multidisciplinary analytical approach, fashion brands can gain a clear understanding of customer expectations, anticipate their changes and react accordingly, all without encountering tighter online privacy regulations.

This article was not edited by Fibre2Fashion staff and is republished with permission from

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