Is the direct-to-consumer show strategy damaging for fashion brands?
‘Buy Now, Build Now’ is the Real Revolution
date: 05.04.2016 by: Diana Arhir via BusinessofFashion, image credits with courtesy of the Business of Fashion
When laying the foundations for what would become Moda Operandi, back in the summer of 2009, I believed the fashion system needed significant change. Runway collections had become instantaneously viewable online, but were still unavailable for immediate purchase. Meanwhile, “fast fashion” companies were knocking off and delivering the latest trends to consumers in a matter of weeks, long before pieces from actual designer collections arrived in shops, months later, by which point they were already yesterday’s news. This made no sense.
Moda Operandi’s digital trunkshow model helped solve this problem. Brands could finally leverage expensive runway shows as direct-to-consumer shopping events. And the pre-order nature of the model gave brands immediate insight into what the consumer actually wanted to buy, helping to align supply and demand, lowering returns and unsold inventory.
The trunkshow model was also a godsend for cash-strapped emerging brands. Since they were able to secure a 50 percent upfront deposit from customers on any purchase, young brands could now better fund their production. And since Moda Operandi didn’t bear the cost of holding inventory, it could more liberally support emerging talent, helping new brands take flight. Dodo Bar Or’s brand was one of these fledgling brands I fell in love with during a business trip to Israel and presented as a trunkshow on Moda. Now, the brand has widespread international distribution and is fast becoming an industry favourite.
Finally, consumers loved the trunkshow model, too. They could pre-order any item from a brand’s full runway collection and secure it in their size (as long as the size was offered by the brand). No more disappointment at physical retail with a piece being out of stock or only available in limited sizes.
In short, Moda Operandi made the industry better by offering shoppers more options in more sizes while helping brands generate cash, gather intelligence and reduce returns.
However, I always believed this was only a first step towards helping make fashion a more efficient and lucrative industry. I believed that the next logical step and big win would be for brands to shorten their production and delivery lead times.
So during this past Autumn/Winter 2016 fashion month, I was a little surprised by all of the buzz about the industry moving towards a “see now, buy now” model. Burberry, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and others announced that they would align their runway and retail calendars to deliver instant gratification to consumers. Private showings for retailers (and select press) will allow stores to buy items in advance and then sell them the moment the models step off the runway.
It’s not that I do not understand where brands are going with this. “See now, buy now” empowers them to capture the excitement generated by their runway presentations and convert this into immediate sales. As soon as photos flood the Internet, shoppers can now flock to stores to buy these pieces. Moreover, “see now, buy now” helps brands thwart fast fashion retailers from scooping designs before brands can sell them. If shoppers can buy “real” items immediately at full price, they might be less inclined to wait a few weeks to buy a cheaper knock-off version. Brands should be commended for this effort to shorten the lead time between runway and retail.
However, “see now, buy now” is also an ironic step backwards.
Original information here.