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Cloud Computing is Hitting the Runway in Fashion

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When you think of the fashion industry you tend to lean more towards glamour, trends and the fast-paced environment rather than their IT systems but it’s their IT systems which links everything together, making it all possible.

Fashion retailers and brands can experience immense growth in short periods of time, just last year there was the black and blue/gold and white dress which divided opinion all around the world. Originally the image was posted to Tumblr where it received over 73 million pageviews and averaged over 140,000 views per minute, this inevitably led to an increase in demand as the product went viral, as you can see from the graph below (and that’s just their brand name, no mention of the dress).

Roman Originals use NetSuite as their IT solution meaning they could handle the 9,838% increase in website visitors and the 347% increase in sales without any downtime or IT malfunctions. This is just one example of growth within the fashion industry, as a celebrity wears a dress, spring comes around or the Paris Fashion Week kicks off, there is always something which can take off and take off fast.

Because of this cloud computing has grown in fashion as it is the only system which can match the growth and demand the fashion industry all too often encounters.

Matching demand with high performance

Could you imagine the chaos if on the 26th February 2015 when the dress went viral, Roman Originals IT systems crumbled under the pressure? The amount of sales they would have missed out on both short term and long term, the millions of people looking for the source of “that dress” and missing that opportunity to grab growth by handle and flaunt it around like a designer handbag?

That has to be the biggest benefit of cloud based IT systems, when a huge spike in workload comes around, cloud systems can handle the added demand with no fuss. An internal system may not be able to handle the spike in workload and implementing added systems would have led to an opportunity missed, by the time an internal system would be upgraded to match the demand, that demand would have already passed.

The cloud is truly scalable, it can manage a vast range of responsibilities both quickly and accurately from using the same payment gateway to process sales instore and online to organising stock replenishment or stock clearances ready for the new season. Compared to internal systems, diversifying what your IT systems are capable of is quick too. There is no need for systems to be upgraded like they do internally as this is an automatic process with the cloud, just another of the many reason why cloud computing keeps up with the fashion industry.

Unification across all departments

I am by no means a fashion expert, however I do know socks don’t go well with sandals and the development process of a piece of clothing or fashion item is a long one, requiring a lot of input from several different departments.

From coming up with an idea for a new line to launching it in stores/the web, the process can be painstakingly long which is not something a big fashion brand can afford, especially when trends live and die fast. Cloud computing helps unify the whole process, making it easier to perform certain tasks such as delegating jobs to different departments, sharing key research and development information, order fulfilment and provides real time data of all processes in an easy to digest dashboard.

Fashion retailers and brands constantl ywork with large amounts of data which is why cloud computing is becoming more fashionable due to its ability to manage, process and store large amounts of data. It also becomes cost effective, reducing the need to buy new tech which requires dedicated (expensive) hours to set up and maintain. With the cloud, that’s pretty standard.

Finally it helps to sell a service as well as fashion

One of the things we like to stress is why omnichannel is important and how vital it is becoming with consumers expecting it as a service. Especially in the fashion industry it is a must to make the transition to become a true omnichannel business.

Nothing is worse than purchasing a new item of clothing online only to find out it doesn’t fit properly. The process of returning that piece of clothing should be as simple as popping down to your local outlet and explaining the situation to member of staff but not all retailers are able to offer this. Their system isn’t unified, they cannot process your refund on the spot as they may not have access or clearance to do so. This means wrapping it up, shipping it back and waiting for ages while the refund is processed or a different size is shipped back out. Not good if said item was ordered for a special event, this leaves a negative impression on the brand.

Omnichannel (also spelled omni-channel) is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.

The term “seamless shopping experience” can and should mean so much more than ease of purchase. With an omnichannel cloud solution, you have access to all of the data you own on your customer at the end of your finger tips. Arming shop floor clerks or other members of staff with the appropriate tools i.e. a tablet, staff in the fashion industry can already have an insight into the profile of a prospective customer.

This sort of information allows for a personalised shopping experience. Potentially you could already know what your prospective customers dress size which can give fashion industries a massive advantage when it comes to a tailored experience which is key to repeat custom.

The cloud is still growing

The possibilities of cloud computing are constantly gaining traction and show no sign of slowing down. NetSuite is the fastest growing cloud based financial system as well as making big movements in other sectors such as PoS, wholesale & development, eCommerce and retail to name just a few.

Combining all of a businesses systems into a singular, cloud based solution can not only provide the perfect platform for growth but also develops with growth. No longer do internal systems have to be the thing that holds a business back from taking that next step.

If you would like to discuss how our cloud based business solution can benefit your business, please get in touchPlease share your thoughts on this article in the comments below.

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