The retail market continues to be challenging and volatile. Fashion brands need, more than ever, to be adaptable and prepared for the next potential crisis.In this article I will answer the key questions the industry is currently asking fashion brands.
As a fashion consultant at Unzipped I have extensive links with global fashion and eCommerce which gives me an informed perspective on what fashion brands should be paying close attention to in these challenging times. I hope that my advice will support you when facing these new demands.
Post-COVID country recovery. What is your entry or exit strategy?
Now is the time to make data-driven decisions to either exit or enter a country. To make these decisions, I advise fashion brands to stay informed through reports published by McKinsey as well as daily reading of the global news.
When deciding your entry or exit strategy, questions you should be asking about a country are:
- How is their economy recovering?
- Do they have a stable health care system?
- Have their eCommerce sales increased?
Across the globe eCommerce sales are booming so do the research, take action and enter these potentially strong new markets. Once you have answered these questions the final step is to focus on the right message for your launch. Create a campaign that has maximum impact and tells the story of your brand.
What should I (brand) be designing in my next collection?
Most brands have a choice to pivot and listen to consumer needs or remain focused on their existing USP.
COVID has taught the industry that comfort matters. Because more individuals are working from home, sportswear, leisurewear, lingerie and nightwear are key trending categories and this looks set to stay.
At Unzipped, we are encouraging brands to react to demand while ensuring they stamp their DNA on each collection. For example, if you are a ‘going-out’ party brand, you could adapt your range to offer a larger mix of the jersey, stretch fabrications along with glamorous basics.
Sustainability and ethics, what does your brand say about you?
The message could not be clearer. Fashion brands must be, in some way, sustainable by 2021. It is a standard expectation of both the consumer and wholesale customer to see this as an offer. It will no longer set you above the rest.
How you achieve this is your decision, but what you do need to be is 100% transparent and honest. Gen Z, along with major editorials, are watching fashion brands very closely. They will confirm any claims of sustainability as well as checking how suppliers were paid during COVID How a brand is supporting #BLM will also be a key issue ?
This is a constantly evolving situation and you need to decide your brand’s take on it to succeed in 2021.
Which sales channel is right for my fashion brand? Is eCommerce really the future for the fashion industry?
The answer is a definite yes; eCommerce is the future of retail. The threat of Covid and no immediately available vaccine means customers are anxious about shopping on the high street. On line shopping is the safer option so eCommerce is here to stay.
Unzipped believes that DTC channels should remain fashion brands’ focus for the rest of 2020. Why? DTC enables the fashion brand to collect consumer data and learn from it. This channel will help build a trusting relationship with your customers, which post-COVID is more important than ever when making a sale. Your brand’s CX is yours to nurture and grow with DTC.
However at Unzipped we believe global wholesale will stabilise by AW21 buying season, and this will again present greater opportunities for new brands in the fashion industry and nurture global growth.