With Forrester Research reporting that the web will influence $1.8trn (£1.15trn) of retail sales by 2017, there is increasing pressure on retailers and brands to ensure their departments and systems are fully integrated to meet changing consumer demand and buying behaviour.

Fashion retailers generate large volumes of data

Ron Porcello, sales director at solutions provider Attune Consulting, says traditionally fashion brands and retailers have been disconnected in their operations. For example, wholesale and manufacturing work as separate entities, which in turn are not closely linked to design processes or sales.

As a result, large volumes of data are being generated in a segmented way, which each fashion house must piece together manually in order to gain complete visibility across their business. This often involves in-house IT personnel spending time cleansing, integrating and analysing information.

Increasingly rapid buying cycles have driven this issue to a critical point, where there is a growing divide between product turnover and the speed at which brands and retailers can make strategic data-based improvements.

Porcello highlights the need for brands and retailers to align their systems around the consumer. He says: “If the customer is the engine driving modern retail, then fashion houses need to integrate all of their operations in an unbroken chain, centred around their needs. Focusing on the end buyer is the only way to ensure they are delivering what they want when they want it.”

Condensing a large volume of previously segmented technologies into one system should mean improved insight into consumer demand, reduced out-of-stocks, improved visibility and control of retail processes