A 7 steps guide to help Fashion & Luxury retail brands to go omnichannel
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Today’s demanding consumer
Fashion may be fast, but even this adaptable industry is struggling to keep up with the consumer.
Today’s consumers are increasingly price conscious and experts in looking for the best deals, both online and offline.
At the same time, consumers search for and appreciate quality in both product and delivery. How can fashion and luxury brands deal with such complex consumers?
With a wide use of mass and social media, consumers are now influenced by a greater array of voices. How can retailers convey the right message to the right audience?
Today’s consumers are used to shopping both online and in shops: they want to purchase through multiple channels, and they want to do it fast, but it’s not the only thing they want: they also wish to get a convenient and transparent shopping experience.
Retail is hit hard
These fast-evolving consumer preferences are having a profound effect on fashion and luxury retailers.
In their haste to meet demand, brands have often responded without considering the long-term impact of their actions on profit and resources.
Moreover, brands are losing further margin due to their inability to efficiently process returns through different channels.
Lack of visibility is a huge issue for fashion and luxury brands: they don’t have a real overview of where the stock is or how it’s moving. For this reason, returning goods through different channels is hard for a fashion brand that doesn’t control its operations.
How can fashion and luxury retail brands have a clear view of stock across channels, devices and supply chain touchpoints?
How brands have responded
Not only must fashion and luxury brands contend with general retail challenges – such as rising material and property costs, and growing competition – they must also work hard to minimize the losses that can occur at any point along their long value chain.
To meet customer’s needs, retailers have turned to technology.
Futuristic dressing rooms are just one of the technologies that retailers adopt to engage with customers.
The evolution of the shopping experience surely gives customers a sense of theater, and this is something that they really seem to like.
On the other hand, brands must keep in mind that logistics and operations are as important as the front-end activities, for example when trying to accurately forecast demand.
How can fashion and luxury brands use the same approach for the front-end activities and the back-end operations?
Only short-term solutions
As well as front-of-house activities, these pressures have forced fashion and luxury brands to reconsider their operational approaches.
For fashion and luxury retail brands it is often very complex to manage and respond to data entering their business.
Faced with management systems which are largely confined within individual departments and continue to work in isolation, retailers can’t organize their workforce in an efficient way.
That results in an inability to efficiently manage their business and to build a shopping experience that responds to their customers needs.
How can these brands ensure the joined-up shopping experience their customers demand and develop the level of insight required to meet their needs in the future?
The correct response
For too long, fashion and luxury brands have tried to make the best of this situation, and have maintained and augmented outdated legacy systems in the hope that they can remain competitive.
What do fashion and luxury brands need to be successful?
Disparate technologies can’t work together, so what is needed is a new platform onto which integrated solutions can be built or to which existing tools can be introduced to allow brands to see and manage their merchandise, from design to retail.
“A heightened level of convenience will be the ultimate customer experience – easier said than done for businesses restricted by legacy systems, but those looking to improve on it from an omnichannel perspective will lead the pack” - Forbes
Being fast is the way to know the next fashion trends and get ahead of customer needs.
What omnichannel offers the brand
Today’s fashion and luxury customers may be more demanding than ever, and retail brands will only succeed by giving them the omnichannel shopping journey they desire.
How can a fashion and retail brand design and deliver an omnichannel shopping journey? And what are the advantages of an omnichannel management solution?
Well, it’s every customers’ dream to find what they need in the right place, at the right time.
To realize that, brands need to ensure stock is always in the right place, at the right time, gathering and collating data from across their business and getting to know where stocks are among companies, inventories and countries.
This is the only way to perfectly match to customer demand: that's something that only an omnichannel solution can ensure.
What omnichannel offers the customer
By developing operational efficiencies through an omnichannel management system, fashion and luxury brands can deliver the joined-up buying journey their customers seek.
What are customers really looking for in a world where they can find everything they need in a click?
They want to switch channels, feel free to buy a garment in the shop and return it back through the online portal and viceversa.
This seamless buying journey means that customers can be treated as individuals only when channels work together.
This way brands are able to fully recognize customer loyalty or personal preferences, and to reward them at every touchpoint of the supply chain.
Omnichannel solutions give fashion and luxury retailers the possibility to better meet consumers' needs.