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Best Practices

The Secret to Staying Ahead of Demand Planning in Apparel, Footwear & Luxury

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Published: Reading time: 4 minTodd Vanselus Global VP Industry Solutions - Retail and Apparel & Footwear
Todd VanselusGlobal VP Industry Solutions - Retail and Apparel & Footwear

Staying ahead in the world of apparel, footwear, and luxury (AF&L) goods is not only about the latest trends but also mastering the art of demand planning. With the right tools and strategies, brands can navigate the complexities of consumer demand, ensuring they're not just meeting expectations but exceeding them.

Here, we will look at some of the available advanced planning software capabilities and learn how they are transforming the industry, one forecast at a time.

The changing of the seasons

AF&L isn’t just about the clothes; it’s about the moment, the feeling, and, importantly, the season. But herein lies the rub: the fashion calendar doesn’t play by nature’s rules alone.

With seasons falling alongside special times of the year like the Holiday season and Back to School, effective planning can become problematic. Each market has its own calendar, influenced by local climates, holidays, and even transportation quirks. The solution, then, lies in embracing a 'Season' dimension in planning tools, allowing brands to navigate these times with agility.

The art of assortment

Imagine putting together a menu for a global chain of restaurants. Each region has its taste preferences, dietary restrictions, and even seasonal favorites. This is what assortment planning looks like in the fashion and luxury sectors - it's about curating a collection that resonates with each market, ensuring that each piece is in the right place at the right time.

So, how’s this achieved? By integrating Assortment Planning with Demand Planning on a unified platform, brands can harness Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and sophisticated spreadsheets, transforming and simplifying the planning process.

This dynamic and interconnected platform allows for the evolution of global line plans into precise, detailed regional plans. This level of integration grants planners the power to make real-time, informed decisions on introduction dates, pricing, item types, and lifecycle statuses, enabling swift adjustments to collections for specific regions or in response to changing trends.

This agility and depth of insight not only streamlines the product lifecycle management but also mitigates the risks of stockouts or surplus inventory, ensuring that the right products are in the right places at the right times.

Size matters

In the AF&L market, the right size for the right customer can make or break a sale. But, predicting the perfect assortment of sizes for each product, in each market, is no small feat. Companies must understand the unique size distribution needed for each style and color, adapting to seasonal and regional variations. And this isn't just about avoiding stockouts or excess inventory; it's about personalization at scale.

By predicting and adjusting size assortments dynamically, companies ensure that every customer interaction ends with the perfect fit, enhancing customer satisfaction and encouraging long-term brand loyalty.

Forecasting the future

Launching new products is the lifeblood of the AF&L industry. But with over 70% of each season’s collection being brand new, how do brands predict what will hit and what will miss?

The answer lies in data, or more specifically, understanding the nuanced attributes that drive sales, from style and color to price and category. By analyzing historical trends and applying them to new launches, brands can forecast demand with surprising accuracy, ensuring they're always one step ahead.

Wrapping up

As the AF&L industry moves forward, the role of advanced planning software has never been more critical. By embracing connected platforms, brands can streamline their operations, reduce waste, and ensure that every product finds its place in the market.

It’s not just about meeting demand - it’s about inspiring desire. The brands that succeed will be those that can predict not just the trends of tomorrow but the demands of today.

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About the author

Todd Vanselus Global VP Industry Solutions - Retail and Apparel & Footwear

Todd Vanselus

Global VP Industry Solutions - Retail and Apparel & Footwear

Todd is a Global Vice President in o9’s Industry Solutions team with over 25 years of Retail, Apparel, and Footwear industry experience across multiple business and supply chain disciplines. He has also spent three years in o9’s Client Management practice managing industry implementations.


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