How pre-ordering improves small businesses and the fashion industry
Preorders save resources and help us to plan more efficient. We look closer at why exactly and why this has nothing but advantages! So let's take a look at how the whole circus works:
As most people know, fashion is fast-moving and unpredictable. So how do we plan the next collection, the next release, the next trend? Often you want a crystal ball to be able to estimate the demand at a certain point in time. There are so many things to keep in mind and when you have thought of everything, a virus comes around the corner and turns the whole world upside down. We don't want to complain, just find a way out and also stay true to our guidelines: implement sustainability in every step.
Normally, the fashion industry works as follows: At fairs and exhibitions, the latest collections are presented to the 'expert audience' ½ - 1 year before publication: distributors, press, wholesalers. They order selected items for that upcoming time, depending on what they think sells best – again with the help of the crystal ball. The more wholesalers do this, the clearer gets the picture of what the respective manufacturer/brand should order and to what extent for which date. So we can already see: quite a lot of IFs and BUTs. Large chains also use similar methods, but also focus on trend research and marketing: They decide what's cool and what is desirable and thus create trends and demands.
However, both methods do not directly serve the customer, but calculate and try to find out what they would buy. So far we've tried it the same way, but we've had the impression that what a store sells isn't necessarily the same that we sell online. For example, we still have items from previous collections that we haven't been able to sell.
This is a calculated deficit, we don't necessarily have to get rid of all items as quickly as possible. But of course, this also means investment that is in the warehouse, tends to take up space and ties up capital.
For other brands, especially those that calculate very tightly, getting rid of everything as quickly as possible and, above all, bringing new goods to the store quickly to keep customers happy is a main factor. Fast fashion means, above all, constantly offering new items to keep consumption going.
So why not take a step back and roll everything up a little differently? We have therefore introduced a pre-order system that customers can use to order selected items from the upcoming autumn-winter season. Payment is now being made, delivered in late summer at the start of the season. With the option to pre-order items, we have several goals:
- Avoid overproduction: Only produce what is really required. This saves resources as well as transport and storage capacities.
- Decelerating the fashion market: Commitment to certain articles, styles and colors consolidate your own style and self-confidence.
- Encourage anticipation of beautiful goods: create desire and slow down ubiquitous availability.
- Sustainable demand: Those who are willing to wait longer for a piece of clothing will appreciate it better, care for it and won't buy it out of an impulse.
- More precise calculation: We are growing and need a valid planning of our finances in order to be able to finance ourselves. With pre-orders you help us to maintain our ideals and values.
- Safe work for everyone: With a pre-order you secure the work of everyone involved in the production chain.
- Guaranteed delivery: If you order in advance, you can be sure that your favorite item will arrive and won’t be sold out directly.
Disadvantages of pre-orders are exactly the opposite of the points mentioned above: relatively long waiting times, uncertainty as to whether you'll still like the product when it's there and the money that you are already spending on it. Sure, we can hardly disprove the first two arguments, it's always a question of how you will feel in the nearer future, whether you will find something better/different in between or whether you really need it …
We need to admit, that's something we didn't have to deal with too much when it comes to clothing. You plan vacations, events or maybe meals for the next week. The outfit is more a decision of a mood, availability and very short-term. Thus, fashion consumption has become more spontaneous and therefore more unpredictable in recent years. But here too, rethinking is slowly taking place. There are more and more funded clothing projects on Kickstarter and other platforms. Various brands also used this concept to plan more efficient. So if you want to improve the fashion industry through your * consumption, * you can also contribute to a change with a pre-order. It doesn't only save resources, because only articles that are actually sold are manufactured. Due to recent events a lot of brands weren't able to pay their manufactures and had to withdraw their orders.
Another low point for the already chronically poor working conditions in the clothing industry. Let us imagine the goods that would be ordered now would be sold by pre-order: all jobs would be secured and the factories could continue to exist. In the same way, there would be no need to destroy goods that couldn't be delivered to stores in the past two months.
That is why there are already voices who are happy about the brief pause in the industry and who are committed to change. Finally an opportunity to rethink existing business models – hopefully!