How Much Value Do Digital Design Solutions Provide to Retailers?



The benefits of digitally designing product lines are well documented – the ability to rapidly iterate on designs, capture insights from social media, integrate with PLM, and more – but what kind of return can retailers expect to see when investing in digital design solutions?

Shorter product development cycle times

Time to market has overtaken cost as retailers’ main concern when developing products. Trend lifecycles have shrunk from a year-plus to as little as three-to-five weeks. Fashion, apparel, and footwear brands must accelerate their product development cycles to keep pace with consumer demand or risk missing out on potential sales, or whole trends entirely.

By using a digital storyboard, designers will achieve significantly shorter product development cycle times that allow them to keep up with the constant pace of today’s retail shoppers. This ensures that retailers maximize their sales by giving consumers the products they want, when they want them. How? By enabling faster prototyping, accessibility to direct feedback, and the ability to instantly capture and share fleeting things like inspiration, ideas, and moods.

Product designs aligned with the latest trends

Digital storyboards have capabilities beyond their physical counterparts, enabling designers to insert images, video, text, documents, and color swatches onto their boards. They can also capture imagery from popular social media platforms and infuse it into the creative process.

With an increasing number of fashion, apparel, and footwear designers looking to places like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, it’s important to utilize tools that can facilitate quick asses to these kinds of consumer-driven insights.

 Are digital design solutions worth the money for retailers?

If this inspiration comes from the digital world, it makes sense that the place to consolidate and visualize it lives there as well. This kind of real-time alignment with emerging trends gives design teams a huge advantage when conceptualizing upcoming product lines.

Improved collaboration with in-house and external stakeholders

Physical mood boards lack the ability to quickly and easily integrate with product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, yet they inform many design related decisions – from materials to color variants. Digital storyboards make PLM integration simple, meaning that collaboration with internal and external stakeholders is much easier.

With designers, sourcing teams, supply chain managers, and product developers all working from the same data, advancing to the next stage of development without the designer’s intent getting misinterpreted becomes more straightforward.

In addition, designers and other stakeholders can access cloud-based digital storyboards anywhere, remotely, and on a variety of devices, providing them with flexibility to work on their own terms. This is important to the future workforce, and can help a brand develop a forward-thinking, progressive reputation in their industry.

The value of digital design solutions

According to WhichPLM’s digital storyboard buyer’s guide, “the best digital boards neatly address every concern that plagues their physical counterparts, as well as providing a foundation for future design, development, and decision-making processes that will be entirely data-driven.”

To learn more about the value of digital design tools and get first access to new data from retailers, watch this on-demand webinar featuring Quach Hai, VP of Retail Solutions at PTC, and Victoria Brown, Research Manager, Global Supply Chain Strategy and Execution at IDC.

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