The apparel and consumer goods industry as a whole, struggles with meeting the demands of the we want it now generation by pushing for faster cycle times and not sacrificing product quality or taking shortcuts in product safety and compliance.
Economic conditions that include competition at a global scale, customer demand for high quality products, and product variety have had a major impact in the apparel manufacturing industry. Right the First Time quality and waste reduction are critical factors to meet the demand for higher value at lower prices, thus the need for apparel manufacturers to improve their operations is a requirement for survival.
Brands are driven to anticipate trends and needs of the consumers if they want to stay on top. Due to the effects of social media and e-commerce, the expectation is products to market faster for the now generation of shoppers.
According to HubSpot, at its core, omni-channel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the consumer with an integrated shopping experience. The consumer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless. The most basic level is the expectation for an easy journey, from an app to a website to having the product in hand.
Storify, states that the feedback businesses can receive from various social media platforms, is mostly based on emotional response, this means the companies receive honest feedback without really asking.
With the speed of the information being posted and digested by consumers, all it takes is one bad report regarding the poor quality of the product for the brand to be damaged at a higher speed and rate and reach than the old fashioned word of mouth. Particularly since the consumer can now share photos and information points regarding the bad quality of the garment/accessory via all platforms.
The best way to create and maintain an excellent reputation for quality is by increased customer satisfaction that in turn creates high sales. Good Quality increases the value of a product or service, and establishes brand name. The quality of a garment is the result of high emphasis on quality control and real time actionable visibility into the production line at the source. Keep in mind as stated by the International Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences that 1% defective product for an organization is 100% defective for the customer who buys that defective product. In a study conducted recently by IJEAS the study clearly indicates that by eliminating non-productive activities like reworks in the apparel industries, time as well as costs are saved by ensuring quality production which have an important impact on overall quality.
In this era of the apparel industry’s agility to market, with the highest quality and the lowest possible cost, apparel manufacturers are taking a closer look at the right tools to help them with quality control.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA – FACEBOOK, TUMBLR, TWITTER, AND INSTAGRAM AFFECT THE FASHION INDUSTRY
In a recent article by Storify, they indicate that the average person checks their smartphone 150 times a day. Consumers now seek out user generated content before making a purchase. Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, twitter, fashion lifestyle blogs, and apps like Depop are used for the customer journey ahead of completing a purchase.
As stated by Jim Tompkins International,a major influence on the technology push is Gen Y, or the Millennial Generation, which the latest US Census puts at just over 50 million Americans. Millennials are defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34, and are the first generation to have been raised on technology and the internet. They are estimated to account for $65 billion in consumer product goods sales over the next decade.
MANUFACTURERS ARE NOT WILLING TO SACRIFICE QUALITY – FOR SPEED
As indicated earlier, many manufacturers are struggling to meet the demands of the need for speed to market. Omni-channel is of great importance for retailers since it provides the consumer an integrated seamless experience, either online, mobile device, or brick and mortar. This channel has increased the demands on the manufacturers.
Another factor to consider is that social media is the new wave of digital transformation that can have a tremendous impact on the bottom-line positive or negative. Now more than ever, with social media empowering consumers to provide negative or positive feedback, it is important to pursue excellence in manufacturing through quality control at the source.
Manufactureres and Retail Brands can not afford to sacrifice quality for speed due to the impact of social media and negative customer feedback that can ruin a brand’s reputation. Consumers can create negative content and complaints that can be shared with great numbers of people,this can be a threat to business and can damage a brand. The flipside is the tremendous opportunity this creates when there is positive feedback and a great experience for the consumer since this generates more sales and increase brand awareness.