Fashion Supply Chains, Real-Time Data, & AI
Leveraging Real-Time Data in Fashion Retailing
Data and information are the foundation of fast fashion agile supply chains. Hence the expeditious flows of accurate, timely, information. Facilitates accurate responses without waste. To monitor of market signals, effectively. Information must be visible and disseminated across the supply chain.
In this instance, information technology operates as an enabler, f0r collaboration and sharing of data and information, across the network of suppliers. The activities and relationships of internal and external actors. Incumbents within the network, are supported by IT systems, and processes. That are pooled across the network of internal and external partners.
Created as a result of the formation of strategic alliances and partnerships. This is essential for the primary controller of the supply chain. To achieve the overall strategic, operational and financial, and human resource objectives at a firm and supply chain level.
Data as a Strategic Asset
In fast fashion, every second counts. With the ascent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the use of Radio Frequency Identification Technologies (RFID) for the automation of various business processes. It is important to grasp how information and connectivity will impact supply chains.
Essentially data is a strategic asset which may be employed for the management of internal (production processes) and external processes (logistics and supply chain) of firm’s operations.
For the identification of key processes that impact competitive performance and the experience of the end users the customer.
Radio frequency identification technologies are used to streamline data capturing procedures. Facilitating process accuracy by reducing and eliminating conventional error-prone manual processing, labour costs and improves accuracy.
In the context of a fast fashion retailer. RFID enables the capture and provision of real-time and current information across the entire supply chain. Increasing visibility, lowing operational costs and increasing throughput at different stages of the value chain.
In-store Technologies Impacting Consumer Experience and Supply Chain Efficiency
Retailers are leveraging historical cross-session data, contextual information, such as geo-location, weather, time of day. day of the week for each shopper.
To enable, true, personalisation, for the delivery of highly targeted content, advertisements and individualised recommendations to each shopper within a segment.
Fashionistas’ are unimpressed with irrelevant promotions, and product recommendations. They want the following from retailers;
Thus, data integration is critical for the delivery of personalised experiences. It involves the connection of multiple data sources, to enable the discovery of useful information, that facilitates optimised consumer engagement. There are a assortment of information sources on consumers, and the products they purchase, that may be leveraged to deliver highly targeted consumer experiences.
Customer Relationship Management System: Identify key customer attributes and purchase history to understand how they interact with your brand.
Demographics & Location: Distinguish your shoppers based on age, gender, occupation, income and current location to serve them more relevant content and products.
Personal Account Preferences: Understand how your customers want to be communicated with based on preferences such as delivery method and frequency of communications.
Product Reviews: Leverage reviews to recognise what products shoppers’ like and dislike.
Granular Personalisation In Fashion Retail
Retailers, are deploying wireless blue tooth technologies, to improve the consumer experience when they enter the store. Beacons are small wireless devices that transmit a continuous radio signal. The signal ID is detected by smartphones. This ID is sent to a cloud server, employed to push personalised targeted content to smartphones.
Blue tooth low energy is the underlying technology the beacons are built on. This technology is deployed to hone-in on the location of a device (smartphone) at a micro level.
Hence consumers that have opted in, will receive notifications from retailers, at the aisle level of a department store. Enabling retailers to obtain data on the movements of consumers, and push relevant content to their smartphones, when they walk past or are within a store.
Therefore, if a sale is on at a store that a consumer frequents. The consumer may receive a notification alerting them, from the beacon. The primary benefit of data collection from the perspective of retailers is the ability to deliver enhanced personalised consumer experiences.
In parallel, facial recognition technology is also being deployed by retail stores to identify consumers, as soon as they enter a store. Staff through CRM and ERP systems are able to access the profiles of consumers based on products purchased and average retail spend. Enabling retailers to lavish more attention on high spending customers. Start-ups operating in this space include EverAI, Cynny and MegVii
Retailers are also deploying image recognition technologies, to enhance the experience of consumers, unfamiliar with the layout of stores. Image recognition software is employed to provide consumers with information on what, aisle an item is located.
Smart Displays Virtual Changing Rooms
Using artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gesture recognition technologies, smart displays superimpose clothing over a consumers’ on-screen image. This makes it convenient for consumers to see what items of clothing may look like without trying anything on.
There is also a social element, consumers may share their images with friends to obtain advice from their peers. The retailer also deploys recommendation technologies to recommend items that other consumers, with similar preferences have purchased in combination with apparel procured using smart mirrors. Oak Labs is a start-up operating in this space.
This data enables retailers to identify which combinations of apparel generates the most sales. The real-time data, collected, includes but is not limited to, the colour, texture, and size. (Source: Retail 2020 – 5 techs that will change retail shopping)