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How Fashion’s Hottest Brands Are Nailing Retail Strategies: It’s all about AI!

By Retail Today

The following article was written by Leonard Marano, President, Americas, Lectra, and published as part of Retail Today's State of the Apparel & Fashion Industry 2023.

The fashion industry is facing increasingly volatile and unpredictable demand, making it challenging to make informed decisions and maximize profits. The State of Fashion 2023 Report by McKinsey & Co highlights that fashion leaders need to streamline costs, sharpen their risk management strategies, and modernize their operations to stay ahead in a tumultuous environment. One solution to this challenge is investing in technology to manage and analyze data, a trend that has continued into 2023. Investing in technology to help manage, analyze, review and streamline data and processes is the leading trend carried over from 2022. But where do you begin? And how do you know which process to update and which technology to implement to ensure your success?

The State of Your Assortments

Nailing your assortment across sales channels will be key in 2023, the question of whether you should be putting forward bags instead of footwear on a specific marketplace, and apparel over accessories on another, no longer has to be a burden. Real-time AI-Powered data allows brand to monitor which categories are most present on ecommerce platform versus on different marketplaces, allowing successful brands and retailers to spot opportunities and strategize accordingly.

The State of Your Collection: From Decision to the Store

The deluge of unstructured data in today's world makes it challenging to make informed decisions. As we enter 2023, it's crucial for brands and retailers to take a step further and review their processes. Implementing an adaptive ecosystem that provides a 360-degree view of all product data, information, and assets is the way forward. By utilizing technology, they can collaborate, consolidate, share, and communicate all product-related data through a single channel, from the initial sketch to the store. This not only streamlines the process but also enables to aggregate and consolidate style and technical information in a structured and understandable format, providing a clear view of each product's tech pack.

Where Do You Stand Next to Leading Competitors?

Questions your brand may be faced with are, how does my assortment compare to that of my competitors? How does my pricing strategy compare? Considering the widespread presence of brands on eCommerce sites and marketplaces, knowing the size of your competitors’ assortment, price and discount strategy is key in nailing your own strategy. This is precisely why a competitive intelligence tool is essential for brands across sectors. Leveraging AI allows you to get an in-depth look at your main competitors’ assortment, price, discount, sizes available versus your own. Is their collection significantly larger than yours? Maybe you’re missing some opportunities to increase your margin or get market share on specific items. Your teams can use this information to shift strategies accordingly in no time and stay ahead of the marketplace curve. Brands like Zumba are already seeing the benefits of such investments, with 100% of their suppliers working in a fashion PLM software that has drastically changed their product life cycle visibility and allowed for real-time tracking of more data than ever before.

In conclusion, the fashion industry is facing an uncertain future, but by prioritizing data analysis and planning, brands can stay ahead and make informed decisions to maximize profits. Investing in technology and data management solutions is key to staying proactive and adapting to new consumer buying behaviors.

This article was published in Retail Today's State of the Fashion & Apparel Industry February 2023 Report. Lectra is a SPESA member.

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