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Fashion buying then and now

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Po Lun Lam

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Fashion buying then and now

Let's live the life of a fashion buyer
How the roles of buyers have changed?
From trend setter to follower?
Because fast fashion changed how trends flow and customers are exposed to trends through social media

From fashion expert to data analyst?
They need market sense for consumer needs more than trends, and sense to figure analysis.

Not the major channel between suppliers and consumers anymore
There are other channels, such as social media and online websites.

Monday, February 17, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Are buyers still as important?
Buyers have their values
It appears that fashion buyers* are under great pressure and facing a lot of challenges from the changing retail environment...

First, how the environment has changed?

Then, How their work has changed and what are the challenges?

So, are buyers still as important as they used to be?

And lastly, how should future fashion buyers cope with this changes?

For the company:
Buyers are the reason why there are products on the shelve. But as environment changes, companies are less product-driven but more market-driven. They put more resources on marketing instead of buying.

For customers:
Buyers serve as a filter of information for customers. Buyer's selection of goods bring convenience to customers. But they are other channels to perform the same function, buyers are only one of them.

For suppliers:
Buyers are good channel for suppliers before they directly enter into a new market. And are still important for new designers to connect with customers.

Fashion buying then and now
How important are fashion buyers in multibrand fashion retailing?
What is the future of fashion buyers?
Moschino AW14 "Next Day After Runway" Capsule collection
*Retail fashion buying for ready goods.
For a high-end multi-brand retailer with 3 stores in HK
(Sep - Mar)
(Mar - Sep)
On going delivery and selling:
Purchase orders for:
Budget planning for:
The list of reports to be prepared
sales analysis by store
sales analysis by transaction
sales analysis by brand and items
The list of reports to be prepared
sales analysis by brand with details (profit margin, costs of good sold, turnover etc.)
The list of reports to be prepared
Sales comparison (vs last year)
All the above reports but by month
It's the age of Digital Retailing
Computerized retailing allows retailers to extract all kinds of data.
Buyers have to make use of available data in different ways and try different solutions.
Sales monitoring
Communicate with suppliers
You notice that they have a new collection collaborating with Jeremy Scott, and you are interested.
But they said NO because that line is exclusive for your competitor - I.T. Apparels.
Intense competition
Online Retailing
Market research on competitors
What makes your competitors better than you?
There are a lot of different retailers and market is saturated. It is important for retailers to have competitive advantage, but it does not come from products anymore.

Stock some of the same brands
Develop in-house brands
Has an online website

Has different collection from 2 weeks ago
The new collection seems to be copying SS15 Runway
Some styles look like those you just made PO

Emergence of fast fashion
Digital trade platforms
Changing fashion season and buying lifecycle
Globalization and mass customization
Social media and bloggers
Stock and delivery management
Contact J. Crew and see if earlier delivery is possible.
They replied delivery is going to be late and the following styles will be canceled
Negotiating with new suppliers
So you found G-STAR RAW as a replacement
Negotiating with G-STAR RAW
So you found G-STAR RAW as a replacement
At the fashion show
Budget and merchandise planning
Trend forecast
It's difficult to forecast trends because it's moving too fast
You went on Madison Buyer, which connects suppliers with buyers

Make frequent and larger purchase
Fast Fashion create new standards for the industry and gives pressure for other retailers to increase "speed to market".
To respond quicker to market, brands are producing a few collections per season, which changes how buyers work:

Increasing dependence on established data
Heavier workload
Difficulties to forecast trends
Increase reliance on established data
It’s a trend for brands to target global audience, as a result,
mass customization
becomes the trend for product offer because customers are very different and segmented around the globe.
Increasing power of suppliers
Increasing power of consumers
They emerge as a new force in the fashion industry. They allow customers to get in touch with fashion instantly without delay or intermediaries (buyers). And they have strong influence on consumer behavior.
Increase power of consumers
Allows buyer to make accurate purchases
Increase power of suppliers
As a new channel to sell and connect with customers.
Make more frequent and larger purchase

Increase power of suppliers
So you need a new brand as replacement, where to go?
Bestseller: Customized jeans
Pricing: Fixed price follow supplier
Special terms: Minimum purchase of 1000euro per order

Changing nature of fashion shows
It has turned into a marketing event for brands, networking opportunity for people, more than just letting buyers and media to look at the latest collection. The audience is public.
Increase power of suppliers
Increase power of consumers
Conduct trend report from once per season to twice or more per season
Forecast trends for the future 6 months --> 1 month
Forecast fashion trends --> forecast customer needs
Based on real-time trends on street, media
You notice:

A lot of public audience (IT girls, celebrity families, bloggers etc.)
There are more and more reporters in front of the stage to film the show
People around you post every look onto Instagram (So you followed)
Fashion shows are about networking and marketing

70% of budget to existing brands; 30% new brands -->80:20 to reduce risks of introducing new brands
85% budget in the beginning; 15% for replenishment during season -->70:30 to react faster and more flexible to market change
Objective: To achieve 85% sell-thru
The buying plans needs to be accurate in:
- Consumer needs
- Styles
- Delivery
- Amount
- Size breakdown

How important are buyers now?
Part 1: Intro
1. Introduction
2. Research methodology

Part 2: Illustration by the life of fashion buyer
3. Framework of analysis
4. Environmental analysis
5. Evaluation of fashion buying now
Part 3: Concluding
6. How important are buyers
7. Conclusion
Framework of analysis
Fashion retailing:
Selling of finished products to end customers

Fashion buying:
To develop a range of merchandise
To source and negotiate from an effective supplier base
Research on relevant product and market trends
Communicating internally with other departments

Fashion merchandising:
Work with buyers on stock planning and management

Change buying strategies
Change buying strategy
The job of fashion buyers for multi-brand retailers is getting tougher and tougher. They are losing their influence in the market to other forces such as marketing and social media. But buyers do still have important value to the industry, yet they should also continue to find out how to contribute more value.
You find Adidas performing well and want to push further by more new goods.
SS15 main
FW15 Pre
Two strategies: Small batch or extend fashion season?
Full transcript