Fashion buyers tasked to record stock details from shows, survey finds

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More than 30% of retailers, buyers and managing directors attending the fashion show, Pure London, last week admitted they would find it difficult to record all of the crucial stock information they collected at the show.

This was among the key findings from a survey of 100 attendees carried out by Anya Media during the first two days of Pure (London Olympia, 19-21 August 2012), which also revealed 31% of respondents find it a tricky task to share their findings with their wider team.

Attendees were more certain when it came to having accurate margins at their fingertips for everything they were considering, with 60% of respondents confident they have a grasp of prices and potential profits while at the show, but the difficulties that come with capturing everything from an event like Pure are clear.

“Retailers visit a huge number of suppliers at a show like Pure,” said Malcolm Duffit, e-commerce director, Anya Media. “Buyers will be jotting down a lot of information from each visit, like the prices of each item, stock availability and potential profits.

“For the typical buyer who may be visiting up to 20 suppliers in one day, recording and storing all of this can be a nightmare, especially as many will use scraps of paper, the backs of cigarette packets or whatever comes to hand to do so! At the same time, they will often come home exhausted, with an untidy file full of order sheets from their visit as well as a host of catalogues and fliers stuffed into carrier bags – not always the best preparation for a key buying decision.”

More than 50% of those surveyed were not using software at all for planning and buying stock. And even among those using it, more than half (55%) said they were using old-school spreadsheets for their merchandising and buying decisions compared to just one in four (25%) making use of dedicated merchandising software.

In these tough economic times for retail, the cost of spending additional money on software could be perceived as the main reason for this, but in fact, Anya Media’s survey revealed the opposite.

“Our survey finds software being free or low cost is much less likely to influence fashion retailers’ buying decisions for fear the software may not actually do the job,” Duffit said. “Most would opt to spend more money to use software that will ultimately make them more efficient, work better as a team and increase the probability of the business.

“It seems for the fashion industry, the value the technology will potentially bring to a business remains the key criteria for buying software, rather than simply how cheap it is.

“At Anya, we believe having the right software in place can be key in helping retailers stay in control of the buying process, particularly at a show like Pure. Ensuring retailers have all the information they need in one place to make the right buying decisions for their customers is vital to any successful fashion business.”