Ron Porcello is European sales director at software and technology firm Attune Consulting.
Brands and retailers have to move at a relentless speed to keep up with consumer demands. The growth of fast fashion has created a seismic shift in buying cycles, increasing their frequency. Earlier this year, Next moved from a two to a four-season cycle, while Zara operates a 12-season concept. In addition, typical mobile users check their devices more than 150 times a day, placing a huge demand on brands and retailers to have fresh content and provide the latest looks.
As a result, many businesses find their existing infrastructures and processes struggle to keep pace. Most operate their manufacturing, supply chain and merchandising efficiently, but as separate units; this means they cannot seamlessly manage garments from mood board to markdown through every channel - which is vital considering the speed and volume of garments produced.
Increasingly rapid buying cycles have created a growing divide between product turnover and the timeframe during which brands and retailers must make strategic, data-based improvements. To address these weaknesses and create an approach that can serve today’s consumer demands, it is crucial that brands and retailers move away from siloed systems and embrace integrated retail.
Integrating the management of core processes through the use of technology can improve all aspects of omnichannel retail. In terms of manufacturing, improved planning enables product to be aligned with demand, cutting production costs and allowing a faster time to market. For wholesalers, the right systems - like those provided by the retail management software firm we partner with, SAP - give real-time analysis so product design is prioritised according to demand, leading to better collaboration with suppliers. For a brand, a streamlined strategy can reduce out-of-stocks.
By condensing a large volume of previously segmented technologies into one system, retailers and brands can generate benefits across the business. A customer-centric supply chain reduces out-of-stocks, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Such activities allow greater market share and lead to increased revenue.