But what about what’s going on behind the scenes in-house and in the supply chain? Four major challenges are incentivizing retailers to transform how they bring products to market, and many are turning to product lifecycle management (PLM) technologies to facilitate that evolution:
1. Designers can’t keep up with consumer trends
Research from the Boston Consulting Group, “the lag time between the emergence of a trend at the designer level and mass dissemination has shrunk from one year to as little as three to five weeks for fast-fashion producers.”
That means a team of fashion designers have (in best-case scenarios) a little over a month to recognize a trend, create a product that speaks to that trend while differentiating its brand, and releasing it to market.
Digital storyboards, or moodboards, are enabling designers to operate in this fashion (no pun intended). When integrated with retail PLM systems, digital storyboards allow designers to share their initial designs with internal stakeholders such as merchandisers, designers and developers, and those further down the supply chain including production partners. If a designer recognizes a new trend after sending a design to development, he/she can integrate that idea into the original design, and automatically update the development team.
2. Supply chains are more complex and increasingly global
Supply chain complexity has been a problem for some time, but it wasn’t until recently that retailers had the ability to share information across every party involved in the procurement, manufacture, and release of a product.
Think of a PLM system as the backbone of design and product development – a system that connects the end to end supply chain. The minute a production issue occurs, retailers can instantly determine what is at the root of the problem and can adjust production processes and deliveries accordingly. This information can be communicated to all parties in the extended supply chain, no matter how far they are across the globe.
3. Retail costs are increasing
Competition in the retail market has intensified over the last few years due to the rise in online shopping and disruptors like Amazon. Retailers are challenged to capitalize on trends and turn those trends into great products. They're also under pressure to constantly deliver those products to market on-time and on-budget and remain relevant to their target customer.
Tracking those trends, and developing relevant products, entails gathering data directly from your website and brick-and-mortar stores. Some retail PLM systems (depending on the one you select) offer machine learning logic that processes data from every sales medium you leverage. Those algorithms gather whatever sales data it can to predict what sort of products your customers will want to buy next.
The scope of these retail challenges obviously goes beyond that of this article. In addition, these aren’t the only problems todays retailers are encountering.
On March 14, just-style’s Editor-in-Chief Leonie Barrie, PTC’s GM of Retail Business Unit Eric Symon, and Capgemini Senior PLM Manger Brion Carroll are hosting a webinar on PLM’s transformative effect on retail go-to-market strategies. Register to save your spot now.