Sustainability Inspires Digital Transformation in Retail
Until recently, sustainability was not a large driver in the fashion business, but in the last decade, customers have become more aware of the impacts of the fashion industry on the planet, and they are demanding real change in the industry.
Before, retailers were interested in delivering higher volume at low prices, and maximum growth. But today this approach won’t work anymore if they are not ethical. Retailers are more compelled to walk the talk when it comes to sustainability because buying is an increasingly ethical decision.
The sustainability trend is here to stay
Environmentally conscious consumers and retailers represent a growing share of buying power to give retailers who can really reduce their own impact on the planet, and help customers reduce their impact as well. Retailers have realized that those who shows real and verifiable commitment to the environment stands to gain our trust and our loyalty.
Stella McCartney has been a beacon in the sustainable fashion sector, but not everyone can shell out $250 for a t-shirt, no matter how much their heart is in the right place. But it’s not just Stella on the scene anymore. Even online retailers who have typically gone for maximum growth are adapting and reassuring their customers as a way to build customer loyalty. Online retailer Boohoo, which was named one of the least sustainable companies by the Environmental Audit Committee in 2018, has now introduced its first line of sustainable clothing made from recycled materials.
Competition within the denim sector is also in full swing. Levi’s has committed to reducing water usage and emissions significantly by 2025. Industry denim maker Candiani recycles its material waste and has reduced water usage by 75 percent, according to the company’s CEO, Alberto Candiani, at the Retail & Brand Experience World Congress this year.
Gap, Inc has used its sustainability initiatives to get closer to its customers, including significant water-saving techniques and full accountability of its cotton sources. Meanwhile, high-end fashion rental businesses like Armarium and Rent the Runway offer an ingeniously sustainable option to save clothing at different stages in the retail supply chain.
Technology will make all the difference
As a retailer you will need to understand what customers expect in terms of sustainability and ethics. Get closer to your customers by getting closer to their values.
You will need to manage customer data more effectively, predict demand more accurately and optimize inventory movements. And you will need a solution that is easy to integrate innovations and scale up. A mobile and cloud-based retail technology platform also comes with other tools to help achieve your sustainability goals, including Demand Forecasting, Inventory and Warehouse management, Procurement, and Logistics. These capabilities will help you gain the visibility and control of their supply chain you need to make ensure sources are sustainable and optimize your own operations to reduce usage, emissions, and waste.