Digitization’s impact on fashion retailers’ and brands’ ability to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry is hard to ignore. We’ve reached the point where if brands don’t adapt to new production strategizes and technologies, their methods will quickly become outdated and put their businesses at serious risk. At least 12 major retailers have declared bankruptcy in 2018 alone, with more closures forecasted.
But with so much chatter around digital and so many buzzwords being thrown around—disrupt, blockchain, personalization, customization, VR, AI, etc.—how do fashion practitioners cut through the hype and identify which digital technologies and strategies will actually give them a more competitive edge and make them more profitable?
First, it’s important to note that doing nothing is not an option during this inflection point in business if you want to stay alive, not to mention, thrive. Brands also can’t afford to hit the “pause” button to figure out how to implement digital into their business practices, and digitizing incorrectly can also pose a major threat to a brand’s reputation.
The key is identifying the right opportunities for digital implementation to a brand’s business. 3D body scanning and 3D virtual product development, for example, can reduce product development cycles from a typical 16-20 months to eight to 10 weeks. 3D isn’t magic, though, and good fit must be established before even undertaking the 3D/digital journey. It’s essential to first nail down an established fit standard, blocks and grading/sizing.
The next step is to develop a 3D avatar to match the standard, acquire multi-size avatars and finally live models that sync to the standard and avatar. Digital end-to-end solutions like specialist planning and tracking solutions can also help by offering more styles, more often and more quickly to a consumer increasingly used to living in an on-demand Amazon world. PTC technology like digital storyboarding enhances collaboration, and robotics and automation make the shipping process more seamless and efficient with profound implications for the ever-increasing global supply chain.
Regardless of where you are on your business’ digital journey, it is vital to prepare for these changes to your people, processes, practices and supply chain partners in order to make the most of your digital investment and thrive in fashion’s new digital era.