What renowned brands don’t tell us.

What renowned brands don’t tell us.

We mostly see the glamourous side of any fashion brand. Naturally, because that is the side they want us to see. We are only shown the fancy ad campaigns, their celebrity endorsements their never ending justification of why the price their products at a higher price and how they are superior over other brands. Behind all of the above factors, are a couple of major facts that not many are aware of.

While brands keep increasing the pricing of their products, they also keep squeezing the cost of material and the cost of labour that goes into it. This has reached a certain point where not more than 35-40% of the retail price goes into the making of the physical product. I am sure that many of you are aware of this. If we presume that the rest of the cost is taken for marketing and customer acquisition, then we are wrong .

There is only scary factor that is beyond all this. That brands which they could live without. And that my friends is the “cost of unsold inventory”. Barely 40% of the manufactured product is sold at its maximum retail price, the rest ends up being sold at discounts, online flash sales, end of season sales etc. All this unsold goods and the slow-sold goods incur a heavy cost and this accounts to the biggest wastage a brand faces. In order to survive through this brands price their products at a ‘premium’ (do note that material and labour cost are kept down, but still the product ends up being premium).

Beyond capital, this waste of unsold inventory also accounts to a huge pile up of environmental hazard. Image all the resources like cotton, linen, fertile land, water etc that has gone into this mega effort. Yet the brands harp about being “environmentally sustainable”.

We should all take a moment to decide on how we can slow down this dangerous trend.

No more standardised sizing.

India is a land of diversity. Its diversity is influencing the whole world at the moment. We are the biggest in terms of population. We are also well aware of the number of languages spoken here. What many of us may not know is, the sizing measurements that we as Indians follow are actually based on the western sizing charts. Sizes like S,M,L,XL are defined by what many international brands have been following for decades. Same is the case with our footwear (recall, UK size, US size).

Now, its not the case that we as a nation cannot initiate a one sizing chart project. But this simply will be a futile effort. As the array of variation between people in the age and gender are so wide that its not worth trying to fit all into one simple sizing chart. Moreover the tastes and fit preference of people are also increasingly complicated and fickle that it cannot be fixed to an anchor.

People are in love with certain brands, but their products do not match the taste and fit that a consumer prefers. As a result, even though while the brand is found to be attracting enough it doesn’t translate into a brand and customer relationship. Also the brand does not realise what they are missing out on. It’s  high time that brands start paying attention towards individual tastes and preferences.

In a world of insta celebrities and youtube influencers overtaking main stream celebrities. Brands should look for a way to engage into a one-on-one relationship with the consumer. They must think that it is possible, to begin with.

We foresee that many brands in the coming years will see a significant portion of their sales come from a more personalized and customised mode of offering products to the customers. We are humbled to be one of those brands that are starting early on such a long and difficult journey.

Data science in fashion retail.

Targeted ads, based on browsing history, geo tagging, location, buying patterns, channels that we watch etc have become the norm nowadays to trigger a customer to purchase an item. This practice has now become so widespread that it’s a serious science domain to model all the data possibly available in order to predict what the customer ‘May’ or ‘Will’ buy.

The amount of effort and resources deployed are humongous in gathering this info that can possibly lead to accurate prediction of a sale. This method also has its negatives in terms of privacy violations that occur in the process of gathering informative data. And this according to us is the limit. It should not be allowed to grow any further.

All these occur due to a fundamental imbalance. In fashion at least, the products are designed and made months in advance to the sales period and are brought to shelf. Once this is done, the mad rush of pushing these already made products onto customers happen. What if it was the other way ?

What if the customer decides what they want, how they want it in advance and the brands work backwards in ensuring this is available to the consumer when they need it. There will be no more guesswork in the name of data science, consumer modelling etc.

The customer should be spoilt with options and choices virtually to select from, & the brands put their effort to bring them to life. This is nothing but customised , made to measure , made to order retail. Sure it hasn’t reached a level of mass adoption but with all the might and power brands posses, they should be willing to embark on this journey and take the first step. Atleast.