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Fashion logistics: filling the gaps for a better customer experience

Blog post   •   Aug 16, 2019 12:30 GMT

An omnichannel experience in fashion logistics is necessary but not sufficient. Customer experience needs to reflect in the back-end supply chain and order management. (Photo by @dluan on Unsplash)

Logistics providers need to fill vital gaps to deliver a better customer experience with transparency at the consumer level. This will determine their position to provide the necessary services and even disrupt the future fashion industry. Mattias Praetorius, global head of the Consumer, Retail and Fashion industry vertical at Panalpina, looks at the trends in this blog post.

To follow up on my latest blog post, where I spoke of the generational shift in fashion logistics, let’s take a look at the industry trends.

Fashion brands need to offer a seamless omnichannel experience to their customers and are looking for ways to self-disrupt their own branding, products, and business models. But, while they have been successful in digitalizing the consumer-facing side, most brands are still struggling to optimize their operations, i.e. stretching the entire customer experience to their back-end supply chain and order management.

Logistics providers have an opportunity to influence this with an ever-quicker and more seamless fulfilment. Among the trends I see shaping up are:

  1. Better integrated transportation systems allowing maximum flexibility and complementarity with transport mode selection, as well as optimization of flows and containers.
  2. Increased automation and visibility at the order, item, and SKU (stock-keeping unit) level. In fact, even allowing the consumer to have direct insight into the supply chain. Transparency will be a key factor for increasingly environmentally and politically conscious consumers who can easily reward or punish a brand.
  3. Circular fashion is becoming increasingly important. Logistics suppliers who can properly implement reverse logistics will have an edge.
  4. Order management visibility based on due date similar to what we now see in B2C.
  5. The use of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and automated event visibility based on GPS and geofencing.
  6. The ability to take early action on supply chain disruptions through machine learning and predictive analytics.
  7. Getting closer to the market to cover the shorter times between product development and launch.
  8. And bypassing distribution centers or using local/urban sheds with value-added services to personalize items for delivery to store or directly to consumers.

Will all of these initiatives see maturity before the digitally-native vertical brands catch up with the traditional fashion players? Will the big fashion names continue to consolidate their supply chains and ramp up their e-commerce efforts? Will Amazon redefine and dominate both industries as it expands its logistics operations and strengthens its position as a fashion retailer?

Logistics providers need to fill vital gaps to deliver a better customer experience overall with transparency at the consumer level. This will determine their position to provide the necessary services and even disrupt the future fashion industry.

Mattias Praetorius

Want to see this in practice? Let’s talk fashion.