Indian summers, snow in March and floods in June have resulted in more and more retailers choosing to buy in season. Are we seeing the beginning of the end for forward ordering?
Unpredictable weather and a less than buoyant market means that many stockists are going against the seasonal norm of biannual buying in favour of purchasing all year round.
With young fashion brands including Sugarhill Boutique, Poppy Lux and Goldie introducing January drops for the first time, it appears that brands are listening to the demand in the market.
The benefits of short order for independent retailers are obvious. No longer do stockists have to hedge their bets and bank on a particular style being popular. No longer do they have to take a risk that the sun will be shining in July and that winter woollies will be in demand in December. Fast fashion means stockists can react with speed to the needs of shoppers.
Of course weather isn’t the only factor to be considered when selecting short order, with more frequent drops costs are spread out across the season as bills are paid in smaller chunks for each batch on delivery. One indie I spoke to described short order as a “God-send” when managing the store’s budget in what is still a difficult, if improving market.
For brands there are also many upsides to the flexibility fast fashion offers as monthly, or in some cases weekly, drops ensure a higher sell through.
However, a lot more of the risk rests with the label itself as it must predict what will be the big sellers of the season and tailor production accordingly, without the guide of an order book a few months in advance.
As the industry tries to keep up with the increasing demand for transeasonal product from shoppers short order delivery is a viable option. But to over take the traditional forward order process, a seamless and reactive supply chain and and a deep understanding of your target customer is essentail.