Luxury fashion is now a global industry, driven primarily by a series of mega shopping festivals such as Chinese New Year, Single’s Day, Diwali and Ramadan that span the globe. But how can luxury fashion retailers and brands best co-ordinate their omnichannel efforts across a worldwide stage?

Luca Tonello, Director at Dedagroup Stealth, argues the answer to the multi-market challenge is not to simply sell stock, but to ensure production processes are truly responsive to consumer trends; making and stocking the right products at the right time, in the right places and in the right quantities to satisfy real-time customer demand.

For example, the product mix demanded by Chinese consumers during their New Year celebrations is likely to be subtly different from that in demand among Middle Eastern shoppers during Ramadan and Eid. In fact, many luxury shoppers now expect festival-specific products bespoke to their region.

Gucci and Louis Vuitton, for example, produced pig-themed capsule collections to celebrate the 2019 Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, while many luxury brands made special-edition products for the holiday. Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton created pig-shaped keyrings and bag charms made from exotic skins and treated leather, priced around $500. Meanwhile, Gucci went the whole ‘hog’; adorning bags, t-shirts, sweaters and socks with Disney’s version of the Three Little Pigs.

Combatting inefficiency

In this complex and highly-competitive era of global fashion, inefficiencies can be hugely amplified once operations are scaled up. Forecast-driven brands and retailers, who lack a real-time view of demand, can be left with prohibitive levels of surplus stock and all the risks this entails for profit margins, brand equity and sustainability.

To achieve the necessary level of seamless integration needed to avoid a disconnect between supply and demand, retailers and brands need comprehensive real-time data processing to achieve complete visibility of inventory right across their retail, eCommerce, wholesale and production operations.

This gives brands and retailers the ability to benefit from effective omnichannel strategies, delivering advance management capabilities right across the entire retail value chain — from the factory to the store.

For example, Fendi is looking to seamlessly manage craftsmanship, growth and retail through flexibility and governance. The brand’s transformation project is called R(evolution) and deals with the fashion retailer’s omnichannel capabilities. It is realised through the perfect logistical co-ordination of order, shipping, allocations and deliveries worldwide.

Fendi achieves customer responsiveness with extraordinary services, such as its Made to Order product customisation service which is integrated along the entire supply chain.

Made to Order promises customers a personalised experience from start to finish, encouraging shoppers to work closely with its artisans during the manufacturing process. Shoppers are empowered to take more control of the composition of what they’re buying in this complex global market.

Integrating systems

Market-leading solutions not only integrate in-store systems such as point-of-sale, but they can also provide specific solutions such as shopper tracking and store cycle management tools.

Remaining agile and responsive to customer demand is difficult enough across one geographic territory, but the new era of global eternal peak-trading, driven by a continuous succession of regional mega-shopping events, greatly increases complexity.

Luxury footwear brand Church’s Shoes, which owns 52 stores globally in countries including the UK, Italy, USA, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, is just one fashion brand that has managed to integrate sales data and production processes.

Church’s swapped its disparate legacy systems with a market-leading omnichannel solution that can leverage single stock pool capabilities. Church’s also now benefits from a single view of the customer on an international scale in real-time. This enables the brand to handle and process order enquiries more efficiently thanks to a better knowledge of stock availability across channels, and to deliver personalised in-store customer experiences.

A single, real-time snapshot

The complexity of multiple trans-national value chains makes it imperative that brands and retailers can access a real-time snapshot of the entire business if they are to fully optimise their operations. To maximise efficiency and profit margins, this view must include the complete global value chain, covering stock, customers and order frequency, with all functions integrated; including production, logistics and retail functions such as merchandising and promotions.

This comprehensive view can only be achieved with market-leading technology. Those companies who invest wisely will gain a significant competitive advantage over their peers.

Successful international expansion can only be achieved profitably with the right set of systems and processes, which are specifically designed to cost-effectively unlock latent value across multiple overseas markets at the same time. Brands such as Church’s, Fendi and Twinset are adjusting to this new era of eternal peak trading and the benefits of their approach can be seen in their continued international expansion.

Dedagroup Stealth’s latest report The Era of Eternal Peak Trading’ looks into the globalisation of luxury fashion.