Accurate sales forecasting is important for all retailers, but even more so in the fashion industry, where customer demand can be unstable, and each garment’s lifespan may be short.
Without a robust and trustworthy forecasting model, businesses risk several challenges, including surplus inventory or stock-outs, sluggish supply chains and poor customer service.
Demand forecasting is, therefore, vital to boosting productivity and increasing profits.
But how can fashion retailers accurately predict future sales to ensure that inventory management, supply lines and customer service is second-to-none, in a marketplace that is increasingly demanding?
The Problem Of Manual Forecasting
Effective sales forecasting depends heavily on accuracy but, in the apparel and fashion industry, the variables can be in constant flux, making manual forecasting anything but an exact science.
Sales forecasting relies on historical data. In fashion retail, however, trends are more temporary than in many other industries – what was ‘in vogue’ last year may not be reflected by next year’s consumer preferences. Consumer tastes change dynamically, with increasing demand for segmented fashion over mass-produced garments, and ‘fast fashion’, with regular changes in style and design.
Also, many product lines are available in a variety of colours, so predicting sales trends is more challenging due to these subtle differences, which may translate into significant variations in customer demand. For example, many colours are always popular, but their various shades or palettes dominate specific seasons or times of year (e.g. pale blue in summer versus royal blue in winter) which heightens the need for colour grouping, a feature that STYLEman offers.
Manual forecasting in fashion, therefore, can be subjective even for the most experienced strategist, so a more objective forecasting solution is vital for planning which product lines will attract most attention, and ensuring the supply chain operates with maximum efficiency for optimum profits.
How STYLEman Can Use Analytics To Generate Accurate Sales Forecasts
Fashion retail analytics are valuable for forecasting sales, but the analysis is only as good as the data. STYLEman takes over the entire sales forecasting process, eliminating the layer of subjectivity that might cloud manual forecasts, enabling your business to plan more accurately for future sales growth right down to individual item level.
By extrapolating key data from the wealth of sales information, STYLEman can identify growth spots and weak sales within the complex framework of constantly changing trends and seasonal stock rotation.
STYLEman’s demand forecasting can help shape the entire business operation, starting from the design stage of critical path management.
With a firm handle on popular lines, more emphasis can be given to designing and testing future garments and footwear and trialling these on the shop floor in limited quantities, so that the operation can be tailored around refinement and innovation, rather than relying on the same safe products that fail to attract new customers.
Find Out How STYLEman Can Help Your Brand Stay Ahead
Sales forecasting in the apparel and fashion industry is critical to success, as the rapidly changing face of consumer preferences and the short lifespan of garment styles means that your business needs to stay one step ahead of the demand curve.
To find out how you can use STYLEman to forecast sales of garments in your product range, please get in touch today.
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