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What Can Fashion Learn From The Digital World?

Most of my professional journey has been with offline Brands and Retailers except for last few years in the digital world.

My Eureka moment was when I was working in a technology company, and whenever we discussed something, it used to be called, App Version 1.1, Company Version 2.0, Strategy Ver 1.4.

That’s when it occurred to me that the digital world teaches us a lot – of being agile and of moving forward constantly learning along the way.

“Bugs” are never a problem, they are “welcome”, as you can always fix them in your next version. That means a culture of constant experimentation – feedback – improvement.

Isn’t this amazing? as a way of working, irrespective of the function we are in and the business we do.

We are a witness to a transformation in businesses of travel (Uber/Ola), Stay (Airbnb), Software (Salesforce) and Shopping (Amazon) in the recent past. They were a result of someone asking some fundamental questions…

What is the future of transportation?

What is the future of room rental?

What is the Future of Shopping?

What is the future of software solutions?

Few themes that are common across all these innovations that led to the transformation are
“Real-time”
“Over the Cloud”
“Learning from Eco-System”

We are all now living in a real-time world and it is worth revisiting how our organisational processes are structured.

What is Latency?

This is where another term from the technology world creates a huge impact. It is bad to have high Latencyin the real-time world. Dictionary meaning of latency,

latency
ˈleɪt(ə)nsi/noun
noun: latency; plural noun: latencies

COMPUTING
the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer.
“poor performance due to network latency

Nothing is more powerful than this word for creating an impact and a transformation. If you are in a digital business and if your site latency is high, customer jumps to another site. There is very low patience in this world. Research shows users have 8 seconds to make up their mind.

In our perspective, we perceive latency very visible in the digital world and take action. We are not so sensitive in other areas as much.

How does Latency impact Fashion business?

Let’s consider the Latency in the fashion business.

How long does it take to make design decisions (Design Latency)?
Minutes/ Hours / Days/ Months/ Quarters

How long it takes to make buy decisions (Buying Latency)?
Minutes/ Hours / Days/ Months/ Quarters

How long it takes to sell what we make (Selling Latency)?
Minutes/ Hours / Days/ Months/ Quarters
Generally speaking, the answer to most of the questions is in months or quarters. We have a very high latency. Higher the latency lesser the effectiveness.

What can one do?

The first step to transformation is to challenge status-quo and enable the decision makers. We empathise with what it takes now having travelled the path ourselves.

This is what we are attempting at Stylumia. We adopt the principles of

“Real-Time”
“Over the Cloud”
“Learning from Eco-system”

We are challenging the Latency and bringing the fashion trend insights from consumers “Real-time”. This is helping our clients reduce the “time to take design/product/buying decisions” resulting in low latency in selling.

Some of the transformative case studies from Stylumia Clients are a result of latency reduction. Latency reduction at supply sensing consumer signals reduces the latency at the demand side.

We started off thinking we are enabling consumer-centric decision making. Our finding now is that we are also creating an eco-system of low-latency precision supply. The Fashion Brain at Stylumia has created a neural network of fashion that consumers are liking real-time.

It does not matter how you plan and deliver your supply (be it 1 year, 6 months or 3 months calendar), we enable brands and retailers with every form of fashion supply.

Article by Ganesh Subramanian