The last few years have seen fashion retailers facing many challenges. Some, like Debenhams and the Arcadia Group, have disappeared from the high street, while others are struggling to survive. Restricted trading conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have been a major challenge, but restrictions are now being eased. After the pandemic is over, there are still three major challenges that retailers need to overcome to remain profitable.
1. Online retailing
During the various lockdowns, with high street shops closed and people spending more time at home, there has been a large shift to online shopping. For example, Joules is one retailer that has adapted to changing shopping habits by expanding its online operations.
Online customers demand both a wide choice of clothing and speedy deliveries. Online sellers can generally offer a wider range of items compared to their stores, which have limited space. Warehouses, therefore, need to be modified to store a larger inventory and process orders fast.
At Steely Products, we help by supplying the equipment that makes online stores more efficient. These include garment rails, picking trolleys, shelving and packing tables. As customers can’t try on clothes they see online, the number of online returns is higher compared to retail shops. Most online systems require a dedicated returns space in the warehouse with top equipment to handle returned items.
After the pandemic is over, online shopping is likely to continue to grow, and so will the warehouse capacities of retailers.
2. Social and environmental concerns
There has been a lot of media attention on social and environmental concerns. This has focused on the wages and working conditions of the workers making clothes in non-UK countries and the amount of waste that the fashion industry generates.
Fashion brands have responded to these concerns in a number of ways. For example, TK Maxx collects unwanted clothes and gives them to Cancer Research UK to sell in its charity shops. Other retailers are making some of their clothes from recycled materials.
Some retailers are being more transparent about how their clothing is made and what the working conditions of people making clothes are like, and some fashion houses make all or part of their collections in UK factories.
Social media influences fashion trends, with many people discovering clothing items thanks to recommendations by influencers and brand ambassadors they follow. However, there are some doubts in regard to the trustworthiness of social media influencers. People question whether the clothing recommendations of influencers are a result of their genuine fashion taste or are because the influencers are getting paid to promote brands.
Fashion houses that use social media need to be careful of how they approach brand partnerships. Customers are also concerned about a business’s philosophy and if they can be trusted. Retailers need to be honest on social media about their environmental and social policies.
Steely Products supplies fashion retailers with equipment made from tubular steel. Steel is recyclable, and many steel manufacturers are heavily investing in developing zero-carbon steel. To find out more about our equipment, call Steely Products or use the contact form below.Get a free quote