The Effect of E-Commerence on Supply Chain Management and Marketing in the Fashion Industry

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‘Electronic commerce and the Internet are fundamentally changing the nature of supply chains, and redefining how consumers learn about, select, purchase, and use products and services’ (Sreenivas, 2007)

According to Barnes and Lea-Greenwood (2006) and Berger (n.d), mass-communication has allowed consumers greater access to information and consequently the performance gap between companies can no longer be hidden. With the introduction of e-commerce, how consumers behave and what they demand has changed. Mintel (2011) reported that over 55% of all Internet users research products via the Web before making a purchase either in-store or online. With so much information at hand, consumers have become more demanding. Their willingness to
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Multi-channel retailing involves the use of more than a single-channel to sell goods to consumers, such as retail stores, online stores and mobile stores with retaliers like Next PLC and John Lewis pioneering the idea in 1999 (Fernie & Sparks, 2009). FreshMinds (2010) recognised that the shift from traditional retailing towards multi-channelling is an ongoing process fuelled by the Internet and becoming an essential business strategy, posing challenges as well as opportunities, for fashion retailers.

Christopher et al. (2004) identified a number of significant changes that have challenged supply-chain operations including short product life cycles, high levels of impulse buying and volatility, coupled with low predictability of demand. While the traditional apparel industry model worked on long lead times, in recent years there has been an increase in ‘time-based competition’ and the need for fashion businesses to focus on lead-time reduction and develop more responsive replenishment systems (Christopher et al, 2004). Many retailers have looked to global sourcing in reducing lead times with Jin (2004, cited in Doyle, Moore & Morgan, 2006: 3) identifying that “a balance between global and local sourcing may be the best route […] with emphasis being placed upon domestic suppliers where demand is highly volatile and unpredictable”. Deputy Chairman at Zara, a multi-channel retailer that was waiting for online consumer demand to build before

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