What 'see now, buy now' means for the supply chain
By Malcolm Newbery and Yvonne Haschka | 10 October 2018
A phenomenon is exciting and confusing the fashion world in equal measures: 'See now, buy now' (SNBN).
But is it a mould-breaking departure for the industry or a bit of marketing publicity? And what does it mean for the supply chain?
The promotion of brands’ collections on social media during and directly after fashion shows has led to a fashion immediacy among millennials. Catering to their need for instant gratification, the consumer-facing ‘SNBN’ business model reduces the traditional time-to-market from six months to the day after the fashion show. This creates an urgency to buy now. Consequently, SNBN is a disruptive business model, opposing the traditional fashion business model of “see now, and wait”.
On the positive side, we have that
- Consumers get what they want, when they want it, regardless of any fashion seasonality
- It allows brands to market to international consumers in different climates and in different time zones
- Therefore they buy now, for instant gratification
- Therefore, it increases sales, because it enhances the consumers’ choices
- It fits in with today’s brand e-commerce offer, and further creates consumer demand
- It completes the destruction of the traditional two seasons a year brand forward selling model
- It creates an opportunity to kill off the hopelessly outdated trade show industry
- It potentially relocates production back to “local” or on-shore regions, which is a plus for any advocates of re-shoring production
On the negative side, we have that
- The buying has to be done in advance.
- We do not know what the consumer will desire when she sees it
- We are guessing the consumer, instead of using the retailer as a middle man hedge
- The supply chain just cannot work that fast. We cannot react to either winners (we cannot get any more) or losers (we have the stock already)
It effectively turns brands into retailers, with all the forecasting, stock control and markdown loss risks that retailers have to take.