Top shelf agility, adaptation and being there
Aussie retailers are being told to heed the agile business mindset adopted by fast fashion retailer, Topshop and Topman, in adapting to changing consumer behaviours off the back of its recent local e-commerce launches.
The global fashion chain’s new sites offer expanded product collections, lower prices, delivery and a product range curated for the Australian market – with new styles arriving each week, concurrent with its Oxford Circus location in London, which is the chain’s UK flagship store.
Local stores act as distribution centres for all online orders and the brand’s site also features localised editorial-style content and online-only services, including free returns instore, complimentary express delivery for purchases over $75 and the option to choose to click and collect their buys at any store across the country.
Speaking to Inside Retail, Helen Masters, vice president & managing director, Infor said the role of an optimised supply chain in improving operations, sales performance and customer satisfaction will be the foundation of retailers that stay ahead of the game.
“The success of retail marketers will depend on being able to recognise and take advantage of synergistic relationships across all the sales channels currently in play,” she said.
According to Masters, the traditional idea of a ‘one-size-fits-all manufacturing’ solution has given way to a specific ‘retail-specific ERP solution’ that addresses industry requirements including needs for supply chain visibility, new product introductions, complex scheduling and a myriad of other modern challenges. “In order to increase profitability and maintain growth, brands need to adopt these tools into their omnichannel strategy to ensure they don’t miss the next trend that rides in on the consumer wave.”
For brand owners, the goal should be to move from a traditional supply chain, to a collaborative value chain relationship by sharing information and risk, in order to align more responsively with consumer demand. “Ensuring there is constant communication between networks will help retailers achieve better quality and results, respond faster to change, and allow them to replenish their supply in a matter of days rather than weeks.”
With today’s millennial consumers being a generation that’s driven by speed, this will have profound impacts on customer satisfaction.
“In today’s retail environment, the consumer determines what you’re doing, not the other way around,” said Masters. “When customers interact with your brand they are communicating with you; telling you what they want to buy and how they like to make their purchase – so it is important to listen.”
After all, it all comes down to not only knowing what your customers want, but how to get it to them, added Masters.
“To supply all of the right channels, you must look beyond the traditional notions of fulfillment.
“Make-to-stock or make-to-forecast aren’t going to cut it when consumers want so much more.
“Retailers need to remove all inventory silos, avoid separating inventory management by channel and integrate purchasing information into a single operational plan to match merchandise to demand.”