Skip to main content

What fashion retailers need to know to stay competitive


Many fashion brands today have ambitious goals to become the next industry disruptor but too few focus on the steps to achieve it. Indeed, most retailers recognize they can’t access the information they need to give their customers the experiences they desire today. Nor do they have a clear view into their inventory or order management system to deliver a complete customer journey.

Customers are shopping from multiple channels, therefore inventory visibility is crucial to a brand’s success. Customers want the ability to shop from anywhere on any device with access to a product, no matter where it is housed. If retailers don’t accommodate this demand timely and accurately, the business loses sales and loyal shoppers.

For most, success demands becoming the industry disruptor and paving the future of fashion retail. But the underlying purpose of that vision requires providing customers with a shopping experience that turns them into brand advocates. Ultimately, retailers are seeking a way to make their customers happy while remaining profitable and this expectation can’t be fulfilled without first cleaning up the back-office, a space the customers don’t see, but most definitely feel if not in good working order.

While it’s easy to invest in customer-facing technologies that look attractive, the real threat to the fashion business is the poorly cobbled together integrations that so many retailers rely on in an effort to “keep the lights on”. Retailers are often afraid to confront this web of incongruent data because they fear it is too complex, time consuming and costly to remedy. Most retailers know these blind spots are an issue for their customer experience, they’re just not sure how to pinpoint the source of frustration; scratching their heads at where to begin.

In the past, start-up companies didn’t stand a chance competing against well-established brands with a big name. But today, these young companies come into the industry lean and flexible and able to implement forward-thinking technologies that can create disruptive experiences. For example, Warby Parker shook the eyewear industry with its affordable prescription glasses that you can try on at home before you purchase online. This model has granted them so much success in fact, that they are now opening brick and mortar stores across the country. Zappos disrupted the market for shoes by providing award-winning customer service and free shipping in an online model, while Rebecca Minkoff is delivering futuristic shopping experiences with digital dressing room mirrors that also function as personal shoppers.

It is this sort of flexibility that should be an established retailers’ worst nightmare, because the hefty systems that many of them are burdened with are a drag on innovation and success.

Having a central repository of customer purchase history and information is the key to engaging in personalized campaigns that drive subsequent sales from data that’s available in the system. If brands want to create these innovative, personalized and disruptive campaigns they must first remediate their current commerce/software integrations and consolidate them down to a single source for an accurate view of the most pertinent data. Only then can retailers begin to focus on these creative endeavors.

NetSuite has devised a prescriptive strategy specifically for fashion brands which will alleviate these inhibitors and resolve technology obstacles; thus ensuring the customer journey is a happy one and brands have the means to create these disruptive experiences. Read about this five step methodology in the white paper, “Stairway to Customer Experience Nirvana”.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds