Did you know the top three words fashion executives use to describe the industry are digital, optimistic, and fast? This was just one of many findings from Mckinsey’s State of Fashion 2019 report, and it makes perfect sense. The metabolism of the fashion industry keeps getting faster: mega brands associated with fast fashion can restock stores with new collections as rapidly as twice a week; social media can change trends at the click of a button; competition is pushing the limits of distribution; and the habits of Gen Zers and millennials are pushing established brands and startups alike to consider other ways of doing business — from subscriptions to rentals.
While these emerging consumer trends have unlocked entirely new opportunities, they also present a slew of new challenges. As the pace of fashion continues to accelerate to light speed, today’s manufacturers and retailers face even greater pressure for efficiency and distribution.
Meeting the Demand for an Agile Supply Chain
An agile supply chain is absolutely critical for fast fashion, and the re-ticketing system is one of the most vital elements for apparel manufacturers and retailers. With a small window of opportunity when a product is most desirable, manufacturers and retailers need to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice to match rapidly shifting market conditions. It’s essential to be able to swiftly adjust prices and get returned goods re-ticketed and on the sales floor as soon as possible — and before the opportunity is lost.
Unfortunately, legacy re-ticketing methods are too slow, and often delay retailers for weeks while they wait for re-printed tickets to arrive from third-party printing bureaus. This means inventory is sitting idly, rapidly depreciating in value after the item has been returned, or an entirely missed opportunity if fashion trends and consumer preferences have already shifted.
These delays have a direct correlation to the return on investment attained from merchandise and an organization’s overall bottom line. But this doesn’t have to be the case. A modern re-ticketing system presents the opportunity to efficiently remedy these issues.
Optimizing ROI With the Right Modern Solution
Modern re-ticketing systems empower retailers with a plethora of advantages, including less reliance on IT departments, process improvements, less training, quicker ticket creation, and greater transparency across the entire supply chain.
Most importantly, the entire process is managed closer to the customer and rack, enabling goods to get back on the shop floor in only a matter of days.
However, like Cinderella and her glass slippers, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every manufacturer and retailer face their own unique challenges, so there are a few critical elements to look for when adopting a new re-ticketing system. The solution must offer the following:
- be web based, centrally managed and available across all of your distribution centers and stores;
- perform ticket, tag and label printing for e-commerce and in-store channels;
- eliminate errors and improve quality assurance while simultaneously streamlining costs;
- integrate with existing warehouse management systems to make adoption easier and more successful; and
- automate printing workflows, support mobile systems, and be printer agnostic.
It’s no longer enough to simply “keep up” with fast fashion. Manufacturers and retailers need the right supporting infrastructure. While it might seem small, a real-time modern re-ticketing process is a crucial component, ensuring garments can fluidly move in and out of distribution centers and storefronts efficiently based on demand. And in doing so, operations improve, profits increase, customers get what they want quicker, and you may even start setting new trends at your own lightning pace.
Lee Patty is vice president and general manager at NiceLabel Americas, a leading global developer of label design software and label management systems that help companies of all sizes improve the quality, speed and efficiency of their labeling, while reducing cost.
Lee Patty is VP and General Manager at NiceLabel Americas, a leading global developer of label design software and label management systems that help companies of all sizes improve the quality, speed and efficiency of their labeling, while reducing cost.
In this role, Lee oversees the company’s sales, project delivery and operations in the Americas. Prior to NiceLabel, he co-founded Niceware International, LLC, a NiceLabel distributor, where he was responsible for marketing, healthcare product development and professional services. NiceLabel acquired Niceware in 2013, adding Lee to the global executive team. Lee has over 20 years of AIDC industry experience and has also held sales, marketing and technical roles at Brady Corporation and Innovatec Communications.