Is Fashion Wholesale Now Unreliable?
7 September 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
In the wake of global lockdown, a new kind of problem is emerging. Across the web, questionable fashion wholesalers have set their sights on industry individuals seeking answers – but instead of providing them, are promising outcomes they possibly can’t deliver on. This may lead us to question how wholesale has fared overall throughout 2020, and why we are beginning to see a rise in more untrustworthy sources. Is wholesale as we knew it to be now completely unreliable – and what can be done to save it?
What is happening with wholesale?
Fashion wholesale has been a point of focus for a long time, but this gaze is now shifting to the rise in potentially risky digital platforms. A number of cases have been cited of wholesale platforms asking for immediate payment while not delivering on the promise of service to sell a collection. The traditional wholesale model between brands and retailers has already come under heavy fire, with a lack of orders being accepted or delivered on flagging up a huge code red. There is now no question that both ends of this partnership need to take some form of responsibility – if lasting and evolving foundations are what we’re after, how do we achieve them? Does wholesale now need to be bypassed completely in order for brands to properly shine?
Will brands continue to trust them?
Although much in the industry is left open and uncertain throughout the pandemic, transparency is truly going to be the name of the game. If wholesale wants to win back its fans, it will need to quickly adapt and communicate – looking to strategies such as longer product shelf life and a stock ordering restructure to rebuild the loyalty it may have perhaps lost. At the same time, more brands will be looking to opt for direct-to-consumer routes, leading sales of their own production and starting up a first-hand customer response. With a potential focus on prepayment for collections and anticipating customer satisfaction to align lead times, some small brands are aiming to take the overall process entirely into their hands.
Whether there can be a harmonious meeting between the two worlds will depend on attaining an equal balance of power. If a brand takes a collection to a larger online platform, it will need to be an omnichannel opportunity for exposure to allow trust to funnel back in their direction. The wholesale model itself must also be completely refigured, taking inspiration for the recent alternatives that have been born in the heat of lockdown. Making sure these changes start on a smaller scale will enable them to be effective on a large scale, preparing room for global growth and reconnection.
Photo source: www.shopittome.com