Reinventing fashion retailing after a year of big changes

2 min read

Faced with an uncertain recovery and after a period of great changes in consumer habits, the strategies of the fashion world have had to adapt rapidly and find new ways of managing their inventory.

To contend with temporary closures and capacity limitations in physical stores, targeting the online channel has been key for large retailers. A channel that until now was secondary, has grown rapidly in importance to rate alongside physical stores.

The changes have been most dramatic for the international fashion retail groups. The H&M Group is immersed in a global reorganization in order to gain efficiency, integrating physical and virtual stores, thus achieving a better omnichannel experience for the user.

Rival Inditex has also undergone a great transformation of its digital channels and, despite having invoiced 28% less, it has seen its online revenue grow by 77%.

Zara, the best-known retail chain in the Inditex group, recently announced  an agreement with Veepee, a French online retailer specialized in flash sales, to liquidate stock. This campaign is currently only available in France but it is a change of strategy that speaks for itself.

We are finally seeing how the physical and online channels are being balanced within the companies and how, from now on, it will no longer be the retail brand that dictates which is its main channel but the consumer.

Inventory management

A few months ago, we talked about how the current situation has forced fashion retailers to change the way they think of and manage their inventory. We talked about the gains that can be achieved by  using technology  to improve procurement, production and distribution based on demand rather than forecasts.

In order to optimize inventory in the current scenario marked by uncertainty, flexibility is the key. Managing inventory with technological tools designed for omnichannel retail is now a must. It is no longer appropriate to continue with past practices,  such as having  stock dedicated to the physical channel and another dedicated to the online store or even different collections in each of the channels.

By unifying channel strategies, it is easier for the customer to have a real omnichannel experience but it is necessary to have the correct tools to be able to respond quickly to new  needs as they appear.

These changes are not exclusive to large multinational companies, all clothing brands have had to put the customer back at the center when facing the challenges posed in 2020 that continue to affect this “post-pandemic” 2021.

After years of being the manufacturers who set the rules, the game has changed, fashion returns to focus on the consumer in order to solve an inventory problem.

Platforms such as Veepee or Showroomprivé are an aid in inventory management but it is more important for retailers to improve their internal stock management practices and processes.

👉🏼Visit our website to find out how the Openbravo Order Management System provides a single, global view of all available inventory, thus allowing fashion retailers to manage, sell and fulfill merchandise intelligently across all in-store and digital touchpoints.