Fashion Retailers today are under enormous pressure today to keep up with the customer expectations as well as to meet internal business demands. The Fashion Brands need to create product value and demand, reach and engage with the customer, while building an adaptable global business while continuing to increase revenue and margins. Fashion Retailers have to rapidly evolve their business strategies to keep up with customer demands in the dynamic omni channel retail scenario where net shopping, mobile shopping and social media reach continues to grow.
Whether Fashion Retailers like it or not, Omni-channel Retail is now an everyday reality even – for the luxury sector. As retailers begin to acknowledge the new shopping phenomena, many are still struggling to identify effective strategies which will improve customer loyalty, increase brand presence and margins. Survey reports state that almost 53% of Retailers who adopted their business to omni-channel are now seeing increased customer loyalty as well as Sales and Revenue.
Shoppers now have an array of assortment to browse from the convenience of their desktop / mobile device. This gives them the power to browse and buy online in a safe, simple and convenient way with goods available at their doorsteps the very same day. Customer loyalty is fragile today and Retailers cannot afford to fall short of service levels – the key being to provide a unique shopping experience every single time.
- Fashion Retailers like Giorgio Armani and Luxottica who are adopting latest technologies and are making a shift by implementing SAP Fashion Management System (SAP FMS). They aim on one hand to bring their wholesale and retail operations on one single vertical platform where their business processes/information can be shared across the organization globally in an integrated manner. This helps them effectively cater in the omni-channel scenario to store as well as digital shopping.
- Brooks Brothers on the other hand has taken a step ahead – in an attempt to understand and delight customer it has implemented SAP Customer Activity Repository (SAP CAR) application along with SAP FMS. This high end Fashion Retailer who does have unique product line and pride themselves in customer satisfaction felt that the tool gave them an edge to maintain customer loyalty. With SAP CAR they gained a deeper understanding of customer preferences real time and helped them predict shopping demands, taking customer engagement to a different level altogether.
- The Retailers need to adapt and work hand in glove with technology which helps them in digital transformation of their business and in providing their Customers personalised offerings. SAP Hybris Marketing will prove to be a unique Enterprise solution for marketing, which can take care of growing Digital market requirements of Fashion Retailers. Hybris marketing has features like customer segmentation and target messaging to reach and delight each and every customer. With the help of Big data, customer segmentation of millions of customers become very effective from Marketing standpoint. Analytics based on Marketing Budget and actual Sales reflects the effectivity of Marketing spend and Assortment performance. It truly give the Fashion Retailer power of evaluating day to day sales trend/ Style – which product/item are going to be Cash-cow or Slogger and ultimately improve their Product Assortment and manage Loyal Customers.
Overall the convergence is taking place at multiple levels for solution offerings. On one side New SAP Fashion Management solution is integrating the overall supply chain requirements covering Make-to-Retail footprint globally within the omni channel environment. On the other side digital transformation is integrated with Supply chain. This brings us back again to the point that the Retailers have to surely re-juggle their organization structure as Marketing team becomes the integral part of Merchandising and Sourcing team. Addition to this, CFO needs to have better visibility on Market spend towards retaining and managing loyal customers.All this can become a possibility and reality only because the Big Data/SAP HANA is the backbone. Capability to manage huge Data and the speed of computing becomes a key to successfully run these new age solutions.
Overall the new phase of technology innovations are great, but it also brings to another big challenge of expertise to deliver these new solutions – Where do the fashion Retailers find these Experts who understand the end to end futuristic landscape for Fashion Retail and can partner with them to succeed; Experts who with their deep understanding of Fashion Domain and Technology can bring help bring necessary changes. Without these experts the new solutions cannot be effectively delivered to Fashion retailers and to enable Retailers to swiftly migrate to new phase of technology landscape will be very difficult.
The fashion retail scenario is dynamic and the challenges new and many, however, both the Retailers as well as customers should surely prepare to experience a new way of Sales and Shopping.