The demands on the footwear industry are more severe than ever. As such, Brion Carroll, VP of global business development of PTC‘s retail business unit, said that businesses would be wise to react accordingly.
During the recent Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America 2018 Executive Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on May 3, Carroll said that the market is increasingly connected but at the same time less controlled.
“This has caused the footwear industry to lose the staging of its offering and instead realize the need to become highly and rapidly responsive and accurately predictive,” said Carroll, whose software company is a leader within the lifecycle management sector and works with firms like Adidas and Deckers Brands. “Having visibility of the consumer’s interests and buying behaviors requires technology [like] Internet of Things and machine learning that’s causing disruption. The need to connect to the consumer is becoming a must.”
Carroll continued, “This is further disrupted by the need for technologies that enable quick turns on new designs, adopted footwear technology and personalized offerings, which [are] shaking up all aspects of the design-to-deliver process.”
He explained that innovative tools like product lifecycle management, 3-D design, in-store IoT and machine learning are becoming a “critical set of enablers for footwear brands and retailers to connect to, appeal to and deliver to today’s — and tomorrow’s — consumer.” And taking advantage of each of these offerings is essential in order for businesses to “ensure they can maintain a competitive profile in the online, in-store [and] omnipresent market,” he said.
Embracing such tools, according to Carroll, will be critical for the industry. The implementation of one- to three-year business strategies that encompass these innovations will provide enhanced consumer experiences.
“To say that no one company can digest all of these technologies at one time is a realistic and pragmatic statement,” he said. “However, to ignore the adoption of these technologies over the coming years and delay adopting the market strategy that they enable is similar to saying that Noah didn’t need to worry about building a boat until it started raining. The market’s demands are never going to reverse to being more seasonal, controlled/regulated by brands and retailers. [Nor will the market be] accepting of a brand’s delay in meeting the needs and wants of their consumer. The time for strategic planning — coupled with enabling technologies — is now.”
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