May 16, 2024

What makes the perfect ERP for fashion retail?

What makes the perfect ERP

To answer the question ‘what makes the perfect ERP for fashion retail?’ one first has to understand what fashion retail needs right now.

Below, we have gathered together five pressing issues the fashion industry is grappling with in 2024. Alongside each point, we’ve highlighted how a dedicated fashion ERP could help make brands’ lives easier as they navigate what are clearly very choppy waters and look to move towards more sustainable growth in the year ahead.

The five major challenges facing fashion retail in 2024 are:

1. The need for speed and newness: Zara owner Inditex transformed the UK and European fashion market in the 1990s and early 2000s with its ability to get new fashion looks out to the mass market quickly through sophisticated supply chain management and forward-thinking buyers and merchandisers. Alongside the early 2000s arrival of the pureplay e-commerce players, it disrupted market mainstays like Marks & Spencer and Next, who consequently undertook their own transformation journeys in response.

Anyway, the point is speed to market and the ability to continue rolling out fresh looks is a non-negotiable in modern fashion retail – traditional seasons are shorter than they have ever been, if in existence at all: brands simply need to continually push the new.

Take Ted Baker, for example. Previously on a par with Reiss as a UK retail premium midmarket player, it entered administration in March after a slowdown in sales and complexities around ownership and finding the right strategy, and what the future holds is unknown. Reiss, on the other hand, regularly refreshes its ranges and hit the zeitgeist in terms of the what the moneyed middle market want from their fashion shopping, underlining the business case for continued modernization and on-the-ball launches.

Offering improved strategic decision-making and increased enterprise visibility in real time, BlueCherry’s ERP enables apparel and footwear companies to become more agile and keep up with their competitors

What makes it the perfect ERP for fashion retail is that it’s specifically designed for the industry, so it talks the language your buyers, merchandisers, finance teams, and supply chain managers talk.

2. The need to control costs: European retailers' margins are expected to improve moderately in 2024 and 2025, according to S&P Global, which cites the deceleration of inflation on goods, input, and energy costs, offset by high labour costs as contributing factors.

But the research suggests the path to margin recovery since the global pandemic has been uneven, with more than half of rated European retailers unable to restore their pre-pandemic margins even by 2025. Essentially, retailers and brands are spending more on their operations and earning less from their sales, prompting efficiency and productivity drives across the board.

BlueCherry’s ERP enables apparel and footwear companies to get to grips with finances

BlueCherry’s clients find the software perfect for their needs as it features the following financial management solutions:

  • order-to-cash management
  • predictive and actual costing
  • credit management
  • purchasing and receiving

3. The need for better and more usable tech: Business of Fashion and McKinsey research following the pandemic found investment in technology by fashion retailers or businesses that sell products and services to fashion-related companies increased by 66% to $16.2bn in 2021 compared to 2019. The results underline the industry’s pressing need to modernise as the world ‘went digital’ but the investments in many cases plastered over the cracks – there is still a necessity for fashion brands to future proof further.

BlueCherry’s ERP enables fashion retailers to use one central system for all their enterprise needs

The perfect ERP will help retailers make strategic decisions that increase inventory turns, optimise product allocation, and ensure the right prices are being placed on all ranges. BlueCherry Business Intelligence built into the ERP ticks all these boxes.

4. The need to navigate the supply chain ‘permacrisis’: Talking of “future proofing”, it is in the supply chain were a great deal of this type of investment needs to be focused. From Brexit disruption and to the bullwhip effect of the pandemic complicating inventory management, to the inflationary environment for distribution and warehousing – not to mention ongoing geopolitical tension – the supply chain is in permacrisis mode, and this spells trouble for fashion where it is crucial to have a finger on the pulse and move fast.

BlueCherry’s fashion, apparel, and footwear-specific ERP enables retailers to understand up-to-date issues with their wider supply chain

It is the perfect software to plan, manage, and synchronize daily distribution and supply chain operations which drive efficiencies and reduce costs.

5. The need to get to grips with sustainability: Circa 20 pieces of legislation relating to fashion and textiles were being debated in late 2023, in the European Union alone – from product design to the right messaging in marketing, and everything in between. There’s a lot to prepare for, including the introduction of digital product passports, and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive which requires organisations to report on ESG activities in a standardised manner.

More broadly, the fashion industry is under the microscope as the scrutiny on its environmental and social impact intensifies. It knows it can and should be a force for good – because that’s what consumers (and the planet) demand.

Looking for a comprehensive solution that addresses your supply chain's needs, and is focused on the pain points and specific requirements of the fashion, apparel and footwear sector, such as getting to grips with environmental and ESG legislation? BlueCherry ERP is a perfect choice.

Connect with one of the BlueCherry team today online to request a demo or obtain additional information about how the ERP is perfect for the apparel industry.