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Omnichannel Solution Can Also Support Sustainability in Fashion Retail

3 min read

Fashion has increasingly come under fire over its environmental impact, including carbon footprint and textile waste. The pressure for fashion retailers to do something about it has also increased. Last week, the Environmental Audit Committee in the UK launched an investigation into the social and environmental impact of disposable ‘fast fashion’ and the wider clothing industry.

Retailers will increasingly be accountable for the environmental footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle, and they will need to look for ways to recycle and reduce waste and pollution created across their supply chain. But how many retailers actually have a sustainability strategy in place that supports and integrates with retail operations? How do you ensure transparency throughout your supply chain?

The good news is that fashion retailers may be ready to take sustainability to the next level. Italian apparel and footwear brand Geox announced that it has enlisted former UN secretary-general and Nobel Prize winner Kofi Annan to bolster its Ethics and Sustainable Development Committee.

A Modern Retail Technology Platform for Change

In addition to holding suppliers and manufacturers to higher sustainability standards, there are challenges that must also be addressed throughout the retail supply chain. Fortunately, fashion retailers already have access to software that will help them achieve their sustainability goals.

Key omnichannel capabilities that support sustainability

Demand planning helps retailers predict the expected demand for seasonal items more accurately than before, allowing them to optimize their purchases and logistics, which improves the sustainability of their operations, lowers their carbon footprint, and reduces waste.

A flexible price and promotions engine offers the agility necessary to adapt quickly to changes in consumer habits. This allows fashion retailers to not only optimize sales, but also reduce standing inventory levels and ultimately reduce product returns to suppliers.

As a cornerstone in omnichannel retail, real-time inventory visibility makes it possible to optimize replenishment and logistics processes. Fashion retailers will also want a merchandise management solution capable of handling RFID, which has been shown to improve the precision and speed of inventory movements, and will be play a crucial role in tracking the footprint of items and ensuring they end up in the right place.

In warehouses, mobile devices equipped with warehouse inventory management can be used to prioritize tasks, reduce errors and optimize storage space and logistics to increase efficiency and minimize costs, energy usage and carbon footprint.

Returns management and reverse logistics is another essential capability for fashion retailers, who currently face return rates of over 40% from online sales.  In stores, mobile POS can be configured to process returned items to ensure the item is processed and ended up in the right place. Uniqlo, for example, manages to send overstock or returned items back to the textile manufacturer so that unsold items can be re-purposed into new items. The same mechanism can be used to process overstock, shipping it to another store where the products are selling more, salvaging losses and saving you the cost of restocking from a warehouse located further away or from the supplier.

And finally, fashion retailers can expect new sustainability standards and regulations in the future, and a modular technology platform will allow them to integrate with new compliance tools as they become available and implement them easily across their store network.

Rely on Omnichannel Management Solution to Meet Sustainability Goals

Omnichannel retail today is imposing new challenges and great demands on fashion retailers, and it is precisely the solutions and capabilities that support their omnichannel strategy which can also support their sustainability strategy.

Omnichannel retail management solutions like Openbravo are designed to help fashion retailers successfully meet these challenges and innovate more and more quickly, so that the company can continue to grow and adopt new ways to keep its environmental impact under control.

Want to know howOpenbravo Cloud  can meet the specific needs of omnichannel fashion retailers today? Don’t miss our free webinar on July 10 at 11:30 CEST, Omnichannel leader or laggard? What’s your choice as a fashion retailer?

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