Drapers Future of FashionI was delighted to be a main stage speaker at the recent Future of Fashion event in London put on by Drapers. The event was focused on reimagining retail in a digitally connected world, and as the cloud-based commerce network providing software and services helping partners extend their retail and e-commerce businesses, Rithum was well positioned. We also enjoyed an intimate gathering with fashion execs where we were able to dive further into some of the strategic issues fashion retailers are faced with, which gave us some tremendous additional insights.

With the potential for fashion brands and retailers to reach and engage consumers at an all-time high and more connected channels and opportunities to communicate than ever before, you can be everywhere your consumer wants to be. But alongside this, consumer demands, expectations and awareness have risen in direct proportion.

My main stage conversation with Draper’s Fashion Editor, Gabriele Dirvanauskas, revolved around these conflicting interests, which at Rithum we see as part of the Now Economy. Consumers want more choice, fast and effortless delivery, and an exceptional experience, and they want it now.

We talked about how the Now Economy has led to an expectation on the part of consumers that fashion retailers will rapidly reflect the latest trends and that stock will be available not only in all sizes and colours, but also from brands that support diversity and sustainability. Customers also expect to be able to buy either in store or online in the same way – an immediate purchase that you can walk away with, or that will be delivered so quickly it feels almost immediate. This raises a number of challenges for retailers who are faced with having to hold a much wider stock selection which could then be split across multiple locations to service stores and an online business. It also means that the supply chain needs to be closely managed to create a seamless customer journey throughout the delivery and returns process.

In my 16 years at Nordstrom, I helped overcome some of these issues by enabling and scaling unowned inventory models.  It allowed us to dramatically increase our stock range while delivering on the expectations of increasingly demanding customers. Through strategic investments in these models’ capabilities, we were able to partner with the best brands and unlock great selection while driving efficiency in the process to deliver speed to market. We created an extremely desirable platform enabling a network of brand partners that enhanced the customer shopping experience at Nordstrom in a big way.

I joined Rithum because I was excited by the opportunities for retailers and brands that the Now Economy offers. Our innovation provides a unified marketplace which combines both drop ship and marketplace into a configurable platform that is scalable and agile and can suit any business and any channel. Someone once said: ‘The future is now!’ – I’d like to amend that slightly and say: ‘The future is the Now Economy!’ At Rithum we can help you make the most of that future for your business and your customers.

If you’d like to find out how, please contact me, or if you’re in the UK, my colleague, Philip Hall.