Experts say inventory planning, a successful mobile strategy and video content were all key to capitalizing on the largest online shopping day of the year – China’s Singles Day.
The same rings true for the next biggies – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Inventory control means regulating your company’s inventory to minimize risk and maximize profits with minimum inventory investment, while ensuring that customers remain satisfied. But when the stakes are high, especially around high seasons and sales, inventory is your business’s biggest risk factor. Ordering too many pieces that don’t get sold over these periods could leave you lumped with large stocks that don’t move. It’s not a new dilemma for apparel businesses. Playing the high stakes and putting your business out there on a big scale to play in the big league in sales like Single’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday means a lot of pre-planning, estimations of expected sales to ensure your business is well stocked.
According to Digitalcommerce360.com, Don Zhao, founder of Chinese cross-border e-commerce service provider Azoya Group gave this advice to US brands that participated in Singles’ Day sales:
1. Communicating with suppliers and carriers at least eight weeks in advance can greatly reduce the risk of inadequate stock volume and delayed shipments
2. Canceling or delaying orders due to product shortages or insufficient fulfillment resources could cause customers to feel dissatisfied by the shopping experience, which could damage your brand image.
Predicting exactly what customers will want is the bane of every apparel business and for many types of garments this may always be a problem. However not all goods/garments need to be 100% ready prior to the sales. DTG (Direct to Garment printing) means that garments (hoodies/tshirts and other items like tote-bags) can be printed on demand. For inventory purposes this translates into an inventory of blanks ready and waiting to be printed. Such blank tshirts, hoodies or other garments are much less likely to go “out of fashion” as most are standard garments that will be just as popular over Xmas or even next Black Friday.
Large scale Print on Demand operations are only possible with Industrial DTG printers. Small capacity printers cannot be “scaled up” during peak seasons in the same way that industrial DTG printers can be, because the sheer number of personnel required to run such “printer farms” is just not feasible. (“Printer farms” – multiple small DTG printers that require an operator to load files, load tshirts, print, monitor, offload) However the Industrial DTG printers that are designed for mass customization, that is – printing large quantities of short runs AND single orders (one-offs) on demand is feasible, profitable and workable. In fact, it may not necessarily even require scaling up during peak seasons with additional printers, rather possibly only adding additional shifts that ensure the DTG printer is going 24/7.* Depends on capacity.
Traditional screen printers mostly find this hard to conceptualize. But DTG is revolutionizing just how printed garments are manufactured. Just as we are not surprised by the fact that we can send a queue of infinite photos and documents to print on digital (paper) printers that speed at which they are printed limited only by the speed of the printer, and ink and paper supply, so textile printing is being revolutionized in the same way…its just taken the industry longer to get to this point.
With a streamlined workflow that’s exactly what these workhorses were meant to do – print, and print and print some more.
To hear from companies that have already gone digital click here.
Stay tuned for second part of the Black Friday blog – Not all DTG workflows are created equal.