THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Sponsored by Centric Software
Sponsored by Centric Software
3 Strategies to Keep Pace with a Fast Fashion Retail World
Fast fashion has had a big influence on consumer behavior and has already changed the way all fashion, retail and consumer goods brands do business. Cheap and easy online shopping is also having a transformational effect on us all. What business strategies can help you compete?
With the rise of fast fashion, consumers expect a continuous stream of new products yet brands struggle to meet what their customers expect.
Is it just about speed? With smart strategy and execution, you can keep pace with the fast fashion-influenced marketplace and meet new consumer behavior while offering your customers a unique, differentiated experience. These three business strategies help carve out a market niche, supported by innovative digital technologies.
Use personalization, feedback and customer data to develop customer intimacy.
1. Customer intimacy
Create a deep level of customer involvement. Make them fee l special with customized products and personalized recommendations and assistance. Use data gathered through customer loyalty programs to create powerful merchandise and line plans that offer what consumers want and launch products that invoke unique value for customers.
Customization is a tried-and-tested form of customer intimacy that gets customers involved in the creation of their own products. Generic products become intimately important to an individual customer, giving them the opportunity to express uniqueness while maintaining loyalty to their preferred brands.
In another customer intimacy approach, brands learn from customer feedback and experiences with their products ‘in the field’. Offer customers the opportunity to bring products back to the store for repair as part of your customer service plans. Enter information about each individual damage incident and repair into a quality testing library for future reference and adjust testing protocols based on customer feedback.
2. Product leadership
Some companies adopt the strategy of bringing innovations to market on a continuous basis, leading the way with original products that establish competitive differentiation. Speed and agility are essential here, as companies need to bring new products to market first to capture market share.
The benefits to brands for achieving peak product leadership are increased revenue and accelerated time to market. Something to consider when implementing a product leadership strategy is succession planning; make sure innovation doesn’t walk out the door when one of your team members departs or is out of the office.
To consider a real-life example of product leadership, rather than competing on price or focusing on branding, a running shoe brand could reinvent the running shoe altogether. Using innovative materials or construction to increase comfort and performance can build a base of loyal customers who won’t go back to any other shoe. To keep bringing customers new and better products, brands can also put a lot of time and effort into field testing new designs, fabric and materials.
3. Operational excellence
This is a process-oriented strategy in which brands simply aim to be the best at what they do – offering an attractive selection of high-quality products at the best possible price. This is a common strategy for traditional retailers who recognize the need to step up and adapt to a fast-changing world.
To stay competitive, a retailer might expand into new markets or create their own lines of apparel, furniture, home goods and electronics at a higher margin than the branded items they sell. Operational excellence when developing own-brand products means more control to balance quality and price combinations leading to new and more customers visiting the store or e-commerce platforms.
Brands also develop operational excellence in the way that they sell in different markets around the world. Expanding into new territories means adapting to significant differences, from climate to languages to sizing. The same product offering has to be both global and highly localized, which requires a high level of expertise.
Pursue operational excellence to become the best at what you do
To support these strategies with a digital foundation, businesses employ powerful, modern technology. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are a necessary tool in today’s supercharged fashion, retail and consumer goods marketplace. PLM streamlines the process of designing, developing and launching products with a real-time 'single source of truth' for product data. The right PLM solution can handle personalized products, integrate feedback and field-testing data, increase speed to market, handle the development of localized collections and offer unparalleled visibility and control.
Armed with the right business strategies and supported by the power of technology, fashion, retail and consumer goods companies can confidently compete and better serve customers in a fast fashion and online retail world.
To see real-life examples of how fashion, retail and consumer goods brands are succeeding in a hyper-fast market, visit Centric Software and hear The Market Speak.