Special NRF report: Fashion retailers collaborate to create solution fit for multi-channel world
Major global fashion retailers have come together in an unprecedented way to co-develop a fashion management solution with SAP that aligns their wholesale / manufacturing systems with those from their retail operations. By Glynn Davis
Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Luxottica, and Giorgio Armani are collaborating on a new solution that brings together their existing disparate systems, which have made it increasingly difficult for them to develop multi-channel propositions and adapt to quickening fashion cycles.
Speaking at Retail's Big Show 2014, organised by NRF in New, York Dario Scagliotti, group CIO at Luxottica, revealed: "We've various systems and what's missing is the ability to evolve. Our goal is to have retail and wholesale on the one platform, with one set of data in real time.''
He added that the company had committed a "huge investment and devoted our best people" to the project that is effectively designing a platform for the future - the Apparel and Fashion Solution (AFS).
Scagliotti revealed how the company's brands such as Glasses.com and Sunglasses Hut will benefit from the new solution as it will enable a more efficient development of their multi-channel strategies. He revealed how it will be possible to integrate virtual trying on services with the the rest of the channels among other such initiatives.
The joint approach being taken helps the brands share the load and save development costs as well as helping them create best practice solutions because they can avoid being side-tracked by processes specific to their individual businesses.
Luxottica, like the other brands, has found operating two platforms increasingly complex as they have pursued their multi-channel objectives. Marc van der Heidjen, senior Vice President of global IT at Adidas, says: "We want more speed and less complexity. The benefits we expect from the new solution include allowing the business to respond faster and to integrate our retail and wholesale customers."
He admits the business has grown with lots of interfaces and increased complexity and that the ability to work collaboratively to influence the solution's look and feel is a valued opportunity.
Thomas Vetter, senior Vice President of development for consumer industries at SAP, said, ”One of the key aspects of the new solution, according to Vetter, will be the "harmonisation" of the master data across the two systems, which he says is an "un-sexy topic" but is essential as the speed the data changes today represents a major challenge for retailers and brand owners”.
Armed with the new solution it will be possible to decide whether retail stores or wholesale customers receive products whereas at present there is no visibility across the two separate platforms.
And unlike grocery it is not possible to use algorithms to predict demand in fashion so again the single data set helps determine sales trends and distribution. There is also the issue of sizes, colours, styles and the myriad local differences to products as well as the increasing number of seasons that have been presenting increased difficulties from the separate data sets.
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