From the start of the runway to the finale on the shelf or search bar, fashion merchandising is a complex and interwoven system that takes time, effort, and consideration to get down just right. Trends in fashion don’t just appear overnight, there is a process of creation, planning, and manufacturing every fashion trend within the ecosystem.
With a rich history, fashion merchandising is continually evolving and there are clear ways to ensure the process is more seamless and effective, one of these being better item set-up with the help of customer-centric AI.
Fashion Merchandising in the Past
Fashion merchandising has been around for centuries and has continually evolved over time. In the past, the demands of the customer were not always prioritized first, but rather most shoppers were sold on the importance of the product, regardless of its quality and practicality.
According to Retail Dive, the vast majority (87%) of shoppers now begin their shopping journey and search for products online. This is why the desire of the customer is key in determining the products to create and sell for modern shoppers to discover from the comfort of their homes. To ensure the right merchandise and quantity, it’s essential to know the customer, and the retailer can ensure this, plus an overall valuable shopping experience by learning the customers’ styles and preferences.
Fashion Merchandising Now
The simplest way to understand fashion merchandising is to understand that it’s a step-by-step process of planning, buying, and selling fashion products. Fashion merchandising is practiced by both the manufacturer and the retailer. For manufacturers, merchandising begins with estimating consumer demand in terms of styles, sizes, colors, quantity, and price. It’s about discovering and displaying the right trends at the right place, right price, right time, and right quantities.
To ensure proper fashion merchandising, there are quite a few factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as discovering the fashion trends to manufacture and produce, purchasing the proper collection and fashion pieces, and determining the right retail prices. Merchandising also involves the practice of designing the goods and selecting the fabrics and findings, designing the packaging, advertising, and other important sales promotion activities.
Additionally, for fashion retailers, the art of merchandising also includes forecasting the needs and wants of the target customer. Just as the manufacturer must anticipate the needs of the retailer, the retailer must also anticipate the needs of the consumer by reviewing past sales, keeping up with trends, and knowing where on the fashion cycle a customer might fall.
No matter what, the most important thing to know though about merchandising is that the shoppers are the most critical piece. The customers’ desires should be what dictates the types of products created and sold.
Product Attribution Data and Item Set-Up
As a merchandiser, we know you’re likely to have your own unique process for climbing the mountain that is item set-up. But this climb doesn’t have to be a slow one.
If a product can’t get on the shelves quick enough due to slow item set-up (manually attributing products) then you might miss out the opportunity to capitalize on the current trends. If you can’t get the item out there until that trend has long passed, then time, materials, and money are most likely going to go to waste. Mistakes at item set-up impact the entire retail value chain.
Why not make the climb easier? With the help of AI and automation, the process can move along far quicker when products aren’t needing to be attributed manually. You can breathe that sigh of relief knowing that the products are being attributed not just more quickly, but accurately to boot.
When products are attributed with generic, legacy, or industry-focused language, as opposed to customer-centric attributes that speak in the language of the consumer, these products are far less likely to reach their potential to sell at full-margin.
AI-powered, customer-centric product attributes are a crucial part of building a taxonomy that converts and creates a strong item set-up process that gets products on the site at the right time and does what you want them to – sell at full price.