If you own a business in the apparel industry you are well aware you must think years in advance and anticipate changes in consumers, the supply chain, and more. How can you position yourself so that you’re catching the wave years into the future, not being knocked over by it and more powerful competitors? Read our list of some apparel and fashion industry challenges below.
It’s hard to ignore the emphasis on sustainability that has penetrated a number of consumer markets in the past years. The apparel industry is not immune to this, both in terms of public relations and in terms of improving the sourcing of fabrics and products. Discussion in the apparel industry has focused on being more pro-active in response to environmental and worker conditions. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition over the past few years has developed what they call “The Higg Index,” which measures social and environmental impacts at the Facility, Brand, and Product levels. This index appears to be gaining in popularity and influence, and encourages companies to use the same frame of reference in determining how successful their efforts at sustainability have been. Sustainability is one of the most important of fashion industry challenges.
The cost of production is increasing all over the world, leaving apparel companies no longer tasked with finding the cheapest new source of production, but with coming up with efficiencies and savings in their own processes. This is one of the major challenges in the fashion industry. Increasing demands for transparency on the part of nations and non-profit organizations has exacerbated this need. Speed is another important aspect of efficiency. H&M and Zara turn over inventory quickly, pushing new looks and creating demand for novelty. They provide a lesson to other apparel companies on how to succeed in the present day business conditions. Finding a great apparel sales rep can also help you get inventory out faster.
Coping or Conquering Online
Simply put, all businesses in the apparel industry should have a plan for engaging with customers or potential partners over the Internet. Social media and online communities and services provide new outlets for discussing of pressing industry issues and, if you are a rep, finding new apparel sales opportunities.
A good CRM is essential for tracking orders and creating efficiencies among staff. Mobile is probably creating efficiencies for you already, thanks to the ability to access data on the fly, but it should be an important consideration in your marketing, as well.
What apparel and fashion industry challenges do you see on the horizon for the apparel industry? Let us know in the comments!