From political negotiations to the rise of e-commerce, it’s difficult to ignore just how quickly consumer habits are evolving as they respond to new challenges and trends. Many retailers are finding it challenging to keep up with the ever changing consumer concerns and are unsure as to how can they can cut above the noise and focus on what really matters. In order to retain existing customers and attract new ones, retailers need to ensure they’re making their supply chains more agile and responsive. More brands must look past the uncertainty and instead see the change in consumer behaviour as an opportunity to make positive changes to their logistical processes.
But exactly how can retailers evolve their supply chain to rise ahead of the competition and appeal to every consumers’ needs?
1 – Quality over quantity
Concerns are mounting around the harmful impact fast fashion garments are having on the environment. As a result more consumers are shifting their attention away from cheaper clothing towards long-lasting items, and it is clear to see that retailers should now be prioritising quality over quantity.
Retailers must start from the source and create high quality products that will meet the expectations of the consumer and most importantly, that will last. Maintaining rigorous product control and product inspection procedures to identify quality defects will help retailers to ensure every product is made to a high standard. And with this approach, brands can create a best practice model that will enable more and more consumers to keep their garments for longer, reducing the number of items that are unnecessarily thrown away.
2 – Sustainability and Ethical Practices
Consumers are increasingly interested in where their products have been made and the actions retailers are taking to become more ethical and sustainable. With up to 75 million people employed in the textile, clothing and footwear sector worldwide, particularly in developing countries, the influence retailers can have on the welfare of these workers is considerable. Conscious consumers are now beginning to look at a retailer’s sourcing practices when making purchasing decisions, and those leading the way in this field have the potential to attract new customers.
Hand in hand with human welfare is often concern for the environment and the impact their purchase has had. This goes further than simply the manufacturing process but also encompasses packaging and transit. One of the simplest and most effective actions a retailer can take is to reduce the volume and type of materials used for packaging their products which results in a reduced carbon footprint for transporting it to consumers.
3 – Speed is key
With more shoppers looking for faster delivery the pressure is now on for retailers. They must up the ante when it comes to mitigating unnecessary delays across the supply chain. One way to do this is to ensure their transport methods are agile and continuously monitored. By embedding GPS tracking, retailers can keep track of the progression of their goods. Additionally, brands can use this real-time tool to understand the supply chain fall out of a potential delay, insight that can support intelligent decision making regarding the most effective response. All these factors will be fundamental for reducing hold-ups and ensuring products are presented to the customer in a timely and efficient manner.
While retailers are unable to alter consumer habits, they do have the ability to influence customers to shop at their stores and on their website. It will be those who make the most of the evolving opportunities and possibilities, implement technology to achieve new milestones and embrace a new, sustainable world, that will come out as a top retailer of choice.