The Future Of The Wholesale Fashion Marketplace
This is area that had always dumbfounded me in my roles as a sales manager and time after time hearing buyers complain that they are terribly time poor, particularly for the small independent boutique owner who not only buys for the store/s but works in the store, sells to clients, manages all sales and marketing functions, pays the wages and accounts for the business.
On the flip side as a brand and particularly with the added pressure on Australian owned fashion businesses to look to international markets for any chance at brand expansion and to grow their distribution channels could these digital wholesale platforms be the much needed step towards opening the lines of communication with buyers overseas and building brand awareness and trust in an online environment before meeting in person for a showing or better still selling your collection right then and there through the use of interactive look books and order forms online . Surely these platforms take the icky factor of cold calling a buyer in NYC via Skype or opening the conversation via email with your strongest campaign images and a stellar sales pitch in the hope that you grab their attention amongst the other 100+ emails a day.
So does this mean the end to traditional wholesale sales agencies? Quite the opposite, maybe we will see such online platforms looking to agents as their person on the ground the ones that will facilitate to touch and feel aspect of the buying process.
It could also path the way for a new wave of trade show, that acts as an extension of these online platforms allowing the time poor buyers to see all their brands on offer in one place at one time.
I believe that the introduction of an online wholesale marketplaces can only be a step in the right direction for building brand awareness and growing those distribution channels, particularly for new designers entering the market for the first time, who don't have the networks of buyers behind them.
What are your thoughts on the digital wholesale marketplace? Maybe you have listed your brand or signed up as a buyer on some of the sites entering this space, I would love to hear about your experience, so feel free to comment below.