It was a herculean task for fashion brands to understand what shoppers want and what products they desire during the last year. They tested waters by introducing various new collections on various platforms, but it didn’t match their expectations. This led to the dumping of the already manufactured clothes, which caused huge losses to brands and caused serious damage to the environment. As a result, apparel companies turned to fashion-techs to develop solutions that could allow them to provide the latest fashion to their buyers and also help them to reduce overproduction. Likewise, the custom shirt design software offers customization solutions to clothing brands and lets them design their apparel according to their preferences and personalities. And since customers will be designing their clothes, they will be more attached to their clothes, and there will be fewer chances to throw away their apparel. Thus, help fashion companies to manufacture what customers want and control their production.
Shirts Design Software Helps Apparel Brands Tackling Overproduction Problems
In the last year, consumer preferences have transformed drastically. They demand a sustainable –yet trendy fashion collection that doesn’t harm anybody, whether we talk about the environment or revenue of the fashion industry. They are eager to align with brands that can satisfy their dynamic and fashion sense. For several brands, it is no longer about whether their sustainable clothes would sell or not. We have seen in the past that traditional selling models through multi-brand retailers or mass-production have struggled to survive in a bleak COVID-19 landscape.
Similarly, the traditional seasonality model is fading away as buyers are inundated with the new looks across the various apparel brands. Though, in the past, it has been invariable advantageous to the big players; however, in the changing landscape, the trend seems to have lost its ground. It is documented that more than 100 billion articles are written about clothes produced every year and how are they causing a negative impact on the environment. Many experts have highlighted that nearly20 per cent of clothes remain unsold. Thanks to problems with accurate inventory estimation, which were exacerbated during the pandemic, brands regularly overproduce. And excess clothes are often discounted, landing in a landfill if never sold. In addition to being bad for the environment, overproduction means losing money on the unsold product. Therefore, fashion brands are increasingly seeking interest in a solution that helps them counter the overproduction problem.
Consequently, it gave rise to new business models to come into the picture and help companies scale up their business. Pre-order is one such sales model which is gaining immense traction from buyers as it enables them to view the product on digital portals, and if they like it, they can order it. Pre-orders are gaining momentum – and advance images of influencers wearing digital versions of the season’s must-have new fashion may hold the key to effective marketing.
The new-age business model allows buyers to pay upfront for the products they receive days or weeks later. Though it may sound something similar to fashion shows and other events hosted by the leading fashion brands, this approach is gaining a whole new meaning in the digital era. Various luxury brands, such as Moda Operandi and Telfar, have already championed this approach online and has doubled down on its trunk show business during the pandemic, hosting a series of virtual shopping events where clients enjoy early previews of collections and interact with designers in real-time. The on-demand fashion is helping brands to lure in more clients as they can now allow buyers to shop from the virtually displayed collection lines personally. In fact, big retailers, such asNet-a-Porter, have earned a fortune with their new revolutionary sales approach. Last February, cult UK retailer LN-CC began working with brands, such as Di Petsa, to produce on-demand pieces. Brands, such as The Vampire’s Wife, Paskho, Ultracor, Khaite, Kitri, and Misha Nonoo, had already started offering pre-orders directly to their customers. These brands use pre-order to reduce production costs and waste, achieve profitability, strengthen their DTC sales and boost their sustainability bona fides.
The new sales method is crucial in grappling with the rising concern for overproduction in the fashion industry. Besides, Mckinsey had predicted in 2019 that made-to-order and pre-order would become the mainstream along with the shift to Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) model. And this all is coming true, especially in the unpredictable and unprecedented times, where the pandemic continues to strike back again and again.
The brands mentioned above have either adopted the pre-order sales model as their sole business strategy, or it is a supplementary approach for some time. But it is a good start to drive away from a traditional business model that was doing no good to either fashion houses, buyers, or the planet. Moreover, this model has helped many apparel companies to garner more revenue than they could have ever expected in a short span. Here are the examples of Prabal Gurung and Antonio Berardi, who attribute 20-25 per cent of their revenue to pre-order and made-to-order sales in the last one year. While the broader impact of pre-order on the environment is harder to estimate, and pre-ordered products may still end up in the trash, the amount of unsold stock that goes straight to a landfill can be cut to effectively zero.
Let us look at the numerous factors that prompt fashion brands to adopt a pre-order sales approach to gain maximum traction in the industry:
- Offers Rewarding Incentives for Businesses
Incorporating a pre-order sales approach enables retailers and manufacturers to collate useful data and use it to make more informed decisions. It can help brands establish themselves better in the ever-evolving landscape. Besides, the strategy can also help in investing better during seasonal purchases, leading to higher sell-throughs and less unsold inventory at the end of the season. It helps brands plan better for the upcoming projects and gain consumer insight; instead of just dominating it. Additionally, brands have some spare time before they immediately go back to manufacturing the ordered product. They can use this time to understand more about the production cycle and create more designs that appeal to buyers. For example, Farfetch doesn’t manufacture clothes in real-time; some of its clothes are already at the end of the production cycle and either in a customs clearance process or transit to a distribution centre or wholesale doors. So, the unsold or buyers rejected after the delivery are displayed at new previews of upcoming seasons.
We have seen in the past that during the first outbreak of COVID-19, many brands faced manufacturing and production delays. And the trend we are seeing now in the market is the emergence of delayed styles and collections that should have come out in the last year, just before the markdown season started. These problems can be resolved using pre-order and offer more visibility to brands in the market. The tool helps brands to let their customers shop the product through digital mediums and secure it sooner.
Likewise, we provide theshirt design maker, a customization solution that allows your customers to design their favorite Shirt using digital solutions. Like pre-order, the customized tool enables buyers to select their apparel, customize it, preview it, and then go ahead with the final payment. And as consumers design their shirts, the software shows them the prices of the customizing process as they proceed along. The tool provides the best features to customize your Shirt by using different options such as collar style, sleeves cuff, sleeve & fit, pockets, plackets, pleats, and bottom. Users get options to choose fabrics as per their requirements. This tool provides an additional feature for users to add accent to the Shirt, which attracts the customized shirts. Add your body type and get a virtual view of how the Shirt will best suit them. We have developed a tool where customers will come and select the fabric, designs, accent, and size. The tool gives the liberty for buyers to design the Shirt as per their current needs without consulting designers or providing extra fees to them. Here we have provided the additional feature to choose a body type as per your personality, add an image according to your face color and select the style that suits a business meeting, pub, mall, airport or garden, and you are ready to go.
- Brings Less Risk to the Table
Pre-orders bring less risk for retailers and manufacturers as it helps them in minimizing the financial investment. It enables them to buy more products easily as they won’t have to purchase and deal with physical stock, and designers, too, won’t have to create one. Also, it increases the scope for emerging brands to widen and experiment with their collections and see what works for them. Besides, big stakeholders will be willing to invest in their brand as they won’t have to put a lump sum amount in the emerging brands. With a pre-order model, they essentially don’t have to pay for anything. They just have to invest in getting you onto their platform and help with marketing your brand. However, there is one issue with a pre-order sales approach: the potential rate of returns and cancellations. People are completely in the dark as to when they will receive their delivery, and if they are given a choice to cancel it, they will opt for it because they are remorse already about it. As a result, brands will have to keep their supply chain smooth and running or find it challenging to survive in the intense competition. And it would all come down to whether a brand can actually produce the demanded goods, do they closely resonate with what has been asked. Besides, the clock is always ticking from when the apparel was ordered to when it is delivered.
Nonetheless, these problems can be addressed by brands. The key is to provide customers with plenty of details about the product and maintain communication. Brands could include videos and more information on product dimensions.
Brands are responsible for establishing transparency with buyers, and they can attain this by ensuring the accurate product description on the product they wish to purchase. In the digital age, emphasis on the product landing page couldn’t have been any lesser; therefore, many brands bombard a lot of information on the product landing page. This provides immense power to the buyer to make a well-informed decision as they know all about the product they are buying, and the onus is on them now. Likewise, the return policy can be managed by providing all the information about the items and what and when they can be returned. This could do wonders, especially in the era of digital clienteling, as the majority of buyers opting for ecommerce are millennials and Gen Zs. Brands’ styling and customer care teams can help avoid high returns because customers will have as much information about the items as possible and can decide about a purchase.
Moreover, pre-ordering allows brands to match costs with revenue more precisely, and it eliminates guesswork; brands only produce what has been paid for. It results in a comparatively slower growth pattern but facilitates earlier profitability. The flipside is that it’s not a model that generates much interest from investors. VCs, especially, look for explosive high growth brands that can generate a huge return in a short amount of time. That style of growth is often damaging to creating a sustainability-focused fashion business.
- Offers Digital Sampling
We live 0in the digital era, and not using the latest technology that boosts sales would be extremely unwise. Digital technology is the biggest advantage for brands as they have to display the product or design using virtual portals. Since the collections for the pre-order exist virtually, fashion brands can use fashion-tech solutions to innovate further and attract more buyers. Digitally native brands, such as DressX and Threedium, help many fashion houses to render digital pieces and accessories on their models. It also provides enough space for brands to create new designs and display them to other buyers, thus helping them build the capability in-house.
Brands can also ask the influencers to pick their favourite designs in the apparel, and this could be digitized later. The influencers can work with brands to create images of themselves wearing digital clothing. It also helps both of them come clean and disclose that the garments are digital, which could establish transparency and trust among buyers. Many leading brands are eying this new venture that emerging brands have started, and this is just the starting point where digital fashion becomes part of the business model. And as more brands will realize digital clothing as a significant part of the supply chain, creating more clothes in 3D will become the future core of the brand’s business model. And it would be inevitable to stay away from it.
Nevertheless, the challenge will be to hire people with those skill sets, although new courses and consultancies are starting to emerge to fill fashion’s knowledge gap. But it is nothing to be worried about as these skills can be developed once the new-age technology is incorporated in full swing. When you have those 3D assets, it allows you to market your business entirely differently. Therefore, once a destination for suits and formalwear, Marks & Spencer is betting on casual fashion and no longer selling suiting in most stores. Though it is not into offering digital clothing or pre-orders, it can flourish in the fashion market if it adopts the same technology. Though the brand has completely evolved from the backlash it suffered during the pandemic, it can always incorporate these novel solutions to boost sales. And as the company’s majority of bigger stores are o longer selling suiting, it can use the space to innovate and reinvent itself with the latest digital trends. The retailer focuses on categories, such as chinos and shirts, which have higher sell-thrus with the help of virtual technology.
The case of Zalando can inspire other brands to be fearless and join the stream of digital solutions. The e-tail giant has recently announced a partnership with designer platform Not Just A Label to introduce its customers to emerging brands. The deal comes as Zalando continues to step up its presence in the upmarket segment. The e-retailer has launched over 50 advanced contemporary and luxury brands on its platform in 2021. Those brands include Missoni, Christopher Kane, 032C and Mansur Gavriel.
- Caters to Environmental Needs
Pre-orders works exceptionally well for the environment, as it helps brands to control their overproduction. The planet also suffers the consequences of the excess of clothing made by brands, and this has been second by Forbes in its report “Making Climate Change Fashionable“. It states that the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world. Also, approximately 15 per cent of fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. So, making one more piece of apparel that is not going to be sold, it’s huge harm to our planet. And this is where pre-order comes in handy, as it allows brands to reduce the waste in the ecosystem caused by the fashion industry. Because, as mentioned before, there won’t be overproduction. Besides, once orders are placed, they can calculate how much fabric and other supplies are going to be used, by having the information of quantities ordered, sizes, colors, etc. This way, we reduce waste at its minimum.
Furthermore, brands can also include a certificate stating it is a sustainable brand and reduce its negative impact on the planet. For example, the International Fur Federation, which represents and regulates the global fur sector, has unveiled Furmark, a comprehensive global certification and traceability system that guarantees animal welfare and environmental standards. It is considered a “game-changer” for the fur sector, as Furmark will offer QR-coded swing tags. These would help in mapping the history of a fur garment, from farm to dressers and dyer, manufacturer and retailers utilizing the ChainPoint traceability system. The International Fur Federation has worked closely with luxury conglomerate LVMH and other key brands to develop the Furmark label to ensure that all certified products are traceable, verified, and guaranteed to have met recognized standards.
The Ball is in Your Court-
In a nutshell, a pre-order sales approach has the potential to address the majority of fashion brands’ most glaring pain points, especially as consumers continue to advocate for a slower, more conscious model. Besides, buyers are always willing to wait for weeks for delivery if it meant the garment was created with care. Likewise, the shirt design software online by iDesigniBuy enables brands to capitalize on the trend and offer something their buyers will cherish forever in their lives. The customization solutions allow brands to offer new unique designs to their buyers and empower them to customize their shirts in the way they like freely. Also, it allows fashion houses to keep a check on their production process as the tool will help to plummet the waste of clothes and awaken emotional bond from buyers with the product they have passionately designed for themselves or loved ones.