A recent article in WWD turned our attention towards how European brands and retailers are dealing with yet another unseasonably hot and extra-long season. Of course, in retail, extended summers and warmer winters are less desirable to industry insiders due to the financial impacts of unsold merchandise and fewer opportunities for selling lucrative outerwear and boots. According to Planalytics, apparel retailers lost $572 million in the period of November to December 2015, a recent, unseasonably warm winter.
After a few years of exceptionally hot summers, European retailers are revealing savvier strategies. The larger industry trend of making smaller seasonal buys and purchasing more frequently during the season is making a difference. Additionally, retailers are looking toward seasonless merchandise to bolster profits.
“We are developing strategies to better respond to potentially difficult market situations, like unforeseen weather changes. For example, we buy in a more flexible way — that is, during the season, rather than before the season starts. Another measure we take is to include more categories and products that are less seasonally dependent, such as cosmetics and accessories.”
–Federico Rossi, Director of Demand Planning and Analytics, Zalando
It’s so important to be aware of these new buying habits to adjust your offerings, your delivery cadence and the way you do business. If not, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table. Meet buyers’ needs proactively to stand out amongst the competition, bolster relationships and grow sales.
Put these special European summer wholesale fashion strategies into place.
Offer Seasonal Capsule Collections
Offer in-house or strategic collaboration capsule collections to provide newness and cultivate a sense of excitement. Buyers around the world increasingly look to capsule collections to satisfy shoppers’ needs for the aforementioned benefits. Capsule collections are most desirable when they stand alone from main collections while featuring defining elements of the brand.
Pro-Tip: Highlight your capsule collection on the homepage of your portal within your B2B platform to drive more interest.
Create Custom Product Stories
Use your B2B e-commerce platform to create custom summer season product stories marketed to buyers searching for in-season purchases. Curate your story in a manner that aligns with your sales goal, remaining stock for the season and industry sales trends. Not only does this show retailers how your products can be paired together, but it also allows you to sell deeper into your collections.
Pro-Tip: Visual merchandising can also be used to give retailers inspiration on how your products can be merchandised in-store and online.
Share an Immediates-Driven Email Marketing Campaign
Gather a list of your current Europe-based wholesale clients and desired prospects in the region. Send a tailored email marketing campaign highlighting the ease and availability of ordering in-season, last-minute immediates with your brand this summer. Include a call-to-action providing recipients with one-click access to your B2B e-commerce ordering system.
Highlight the ease of ordering and accessibility:
- 24/7 orders eliminate the friction of time zone variations
- 24/7 support in multiple languages
- Dozens of currencies accepted
- 1+ delivery dates available for every order
Pro-Tip: Use these strategies to clear slow-moving inventorywithout reverting to closeouts or markdowns
Speed-to-market is another major industry concern that comes into play where unexpected weather patterns and other major modifiers of consumer spending are concerned. It’s an important big-picture, long-term strategy for future production cycles.
“Speed is everything right now. For luxury brands, whoever is the fastest right now will have a competitive advantage, full stop. They need to step out of the comfort zone of perfection, think about how to move fast and build things to let them do so.”
–Karin Tracy, Head of Fashion, Luxury and Beauty at Facebook
It’s a competitive advantage for luxury and mass-market brands alike.
Pro-Tip: Follow these four tips to help sell your in-season products, mid-season.
In closing, boost your European wholesale business this summer by appealing to buyers with strong, data-supported summer merchandise. Motivate them to buy by being where they are and providing a modern ordering system that meets their needs. It’s also a great time to start planning long-term, big-picture strategies like improving speed-to-market for your fashion business.
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