And imbibing a strategic business planning that involves an eye for fashion, a unique strategy to induce lean real time for designing, production and swift logistic services to meet up the demand of fashionably aware class who want to change their wardrobe rapidly.
Fast fashion makes available clothes, cheaply, quickly and in a form which beats expectations. So, in short, where other companies take 6 months to design and ship a product out to stores, fast fashion makes available the same stuff in less time, say 15 days or little more. Zara, Forever 21, Dolce and Gabbana and Mango are some names that are recognized as leading names in fast fashion.
Business model of fast fashion
Business is built on quick response that entails production following trends and quick delivery (like Zara of Inditex Group has twice a week unlike other stores that deliver once a week). Moreover, it constitutes good market research, a ready raw material base, multi-functional quick decision making, cost control despite flexibility, technology, infrastructure and vertical integration to ensure control over supply chain and proximity.
A complete understanding of a market is very important and then using that knowledge as it expands into that market. “The most important thing for us is to enter a new market with the existence of potential customers: People sensible to fashion phenomenon. And, in an operational sense, the availability of suitable locations”, according to Inditex that has brands like Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysha, Zara Home and Uterque besides Zara.
There is a need for an ability to recognize and assimilate the continuous changes in fashion and constantly designing new models that respond to customer desires. So accordingly, the requirements are:
- Staying upto date with prevailing fashion
- A good team for designing
- Quickly acting on information received from stores
It will help to have one’s own manufacturing units to exercise control over quality, quantity and time.
Timely and proper distribution, refreshing new merchandise every time, a good logistic software, and timely delivery is very important.
As store acts as the market information gathering terminals, providing feedback to the design teams, and reporting the teams demanded by customers, so the exterior and interior of a shop are of utmost importance. Shop windows play a major role acting as authentic advertising for the stores. Internal design is as much important.
Zara vs. Mango
An oft-glossed-over component of Zara and Mango success story is its ability to appeal to men and women in equal measure, especially those in their 20s and 30s. Both are Spanish multinationals, competitors in the clothes retailing market both in Domestic and International markets. They are almost similar but differ in marketing strategy like advertising. Mango and Zara are evolving on a mass market and slowly introducing clothes for people with special characteristics or particularities like Zara has recently introduced their maternity collection.
Lessons for success from Zara
- Rapid product development and design.
- Outsources the manufacture in small batch sizes to a network of dedicated suppliers.
- Offers changing fashion quickly to market meaning, while customers in Europe visit other fashion stores just three times a year, they visit Zara 17 times, according to one study.No wonder, Zara’s track record on globalisation remains enviable. Its flexible, high-speed business model has travelled from Spain to 77 markets around the world, including China. It entered mainland China in 2006 and has close to 44 stores there.
Challenges in India
There are two shortfalls: One, there aren’t too many seasonal variations. In most parts of the country, winter is non-existent or at best lasts barely a couple of months. So driving new fashions every season is tough. Two, cultural issue: Although the new mall culture is inducing buying habits to change, Indians still don’t change their wardrobe that quickly. And it will be the stores capability to get customers to visit and buy several times a year that enables it to achieve scale. But, the good news is that the scene is slowly changing as fast fashion is becoming popular with new groups routing in India.
So, it won’t be a wrong decision to take the fast fashion route for that unwavering laughter all the way to your bank!