Why ERP software for Fashion is a Must-Have for a Successful Omni-Channel Strategy
In K3 Software we like to keep up to date with trends in the fashion industry, but not really the ones about what kind of clothing will be fashionable for the coming season and which colors will be in or not (which is also interesting to keep in mid, we're not going to lie), but instead the ones that focus on strategic decisions that the management of fashion companies are facing today. This post in particular is all about how a robust Fashion ERP software solution can support a successful omni-channel strategy.
What does an omni-channel strategy entail?
The omni-channel challenge is ensuring a consistent customer experience for your brand. The same purchasing experience must be available in all channel at all times, whether your customer reaches you via a classic store (“bricks”) or through electronic channels (“clicks”) such as the web, a self-service kiosk in-store, mobile phone (“ticks”) or social media.
In general, this means synchronizing every transaction happening in one channel with all the other channels or storing them all in one central system. In addition to obvious information such as orders, payments, return requests, it is critical that item availability should be synchronized or shared. The ultimate goal is to provide customers with a tailored shopping experience. To be able to realize this, you’ll also need to store information about the customer’s preferences and buying behavior.
[ Related: Mastering The Fashion Omni-Channel ]
What are the challenges for companies?
One of the biggest challenges is to providing the customer a single version of the truth regarding the availability of the items throughout all the channels. Inventory might be fragmented across multiple locations, either being warehouses, in stores or (reserved) inventories for several digital channels. However, the inventory view presented to the customer must be the sum of all (planned) inventories from different storage locations that can be delivered in an acceptable time frame.
But even when this problem is dealt with, the next big challenge is to actually deliver the orders within the promised time frame. In this process every manual action or failed synchronization will lead to delays and very possibly an unsatisfied customer that besides returning or cancelling the order, might not buy your products again.
One of the biggest advantages of fashion EPR software is that there is only one version of the truth concerning the inventory levels and all transactions influencing those inventory levels. All this critical information can be found in one system which does not require extensive integration across multiple solutions to make it usable. In addition, with an ERP system in place, it is much less complicated to add an additional channel which otherwise would be a huge IT project where all kinds of interfaces would have to be created, integrated and maintained to store and share all the necessary information.
It’s clear that integrated and consolidated information across all channels and processes is critical in supporting a successful omni-channel strategy, something that a good Fashion ERP software solution can provide.