The New Face of Wholesale
15 April 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
It’s pretty safe to assume that your social media feeds are currently full of posts concerning only one thing: our faithful friend COVID-19. For a lot of us, we are entering an extremely uncertain time both professionally and personally, and we should be transparent in acknowledging and accepting that. However, that doesn’t mean our situation should bring bad news for us or our businesses – in fact, we are now approaching an intriguing and interesting time in the quest for harnessing change and making the industry better for all.
In our latest posts, we’re looking at some of the many ways fashion could change for good, and how we can make the best of a bad situation!
What’s the problem with buying?
Wholesale buying has always traditionally been something that warrants multiple face-to-face meetings, especially on the international playing fields. For many, the idea of blindly committing to any kind of spend without seeing – or perhaps more importantly, handling – a product in real life is stuff of nightmares. The pandemic as now brought this topic back to the fore, with further financial and environmental ramifications being called into question. Retailers are scaling back on their buyers’ travel budgets, with the industry’s sustainability efforts adding increasing pressure. At this stage, we can no longer deny that the likes of trade shows have a much greater emphasis on networking than taking orders, prompting a complete re-think of largescale events.
What can be done going forward?
Once again, this is where the agent can easily become a king of the buying world, with their role being more critical than ever. Although they perhaps will have a much busier schedule, they have the ability to operate on a one-on-one basis, which will be an attractive arrangement to ease any social or health related concerns. As it is, coronavirus is forcing a lot of fast-paced change as we head into an extremely unusual spring buying season. Once again, this prompts the idea to ‘digitise’ – something that can also be utilised by agents across the world. Having virtual trade shows or livestreamed fashion weeks are not concepts that are new to us, and there is definitely still a way to go before such technology becomes totally seamless to use. Each could save both brands and buyers money, alongside reducing the entire industry’s carbon footprint. Until this sector becomes fully immersive, there is now a possible priority on providing investment and uptake for these new digital formats (on a larger scale) so they become preferred methods of conducting business to the physical alternative.
Our collective attitudes to this are certainly beginning to change, and this could prompt a welcome shift for wholesale that may have always been a reality – one that puts agents back in the driver’s seat once again.
Photo source: https://visualretailing.com