Fashion is moving at a fast pace, thanks to innovations within tech, sourcing, materials, production, logistics and inventory. A few months ago, NuORDER CEO Heath Wells spoke on a panel at Agenda, the leading action sports & lifestyle trade show, addressing this shift alongside a handful of industry experts. Together, the group discussed changes around fashion and technology, and how its evolution is allowing products and brands to become more efficient and profitable.
Here are a few of Heath's insights:
On how technology is shaping the future of the fashion industry:
"Change is hard, but what I think needs to happen is we all need to acknowledge that change is needed. Amazon is becoming so big and is playing such an important part - I think in Q4 they accounted for over 50% of all Q4 online sales. If retailers don’t adjust and brands don’t adapt, what’s the future going to look like?
Talking about what the future looks like, what is see is a blending online and offline. We’ve been talking about these things for how many years, and still nothing is changing. But I think we’re getting to a point where Amazon is going to force us to change - and so I think like all things in human kind, we’re going to wait to the very last moment to adopt that change, I think we’re getting to that.
On trade shows:
"Physical trade shows happen only a few days out of the year, but outside of that there needs to be an online trade show for the other 360 days of the year, and that’s why we launched NuORDER's Online Trade Show.
I think what’s going to happen is through technology you’re going to be able to break down borders and a reps job is not just going to be in the local region, it’s going to be a global region. And just to kind of put a similarity to that, look at what Netflix did to Blockbuster. With Blockbuster you had to go there to rent a video, and now the thought of that is just ludicrous, right? I think the same thing is going to happen in this space here - the idea that you do all your business at a show is going to be ludicrous as well. I think the business is going to move to 365 a year where retailers are buying far more on demand, and I think it’s going to move from just being these small pockets and windows."
On the biggest challenge facing most wholesale native brands today:
"Change. The biggest thing that needs to happen is if you run a brand, commit to technology and enhancing your business. Because the reality is the benefit you’ll see from it - you’re going to be able to build an edge over your competition and you’re going to be able to cover a wider market. Change is the biggest barrier and that’s human nature, but the reality is that there will be a tipping point where me talking about pen and paper will be a thing that we never thought we’d do.