January 17, 2019
On-demand clothing manufacturing has been described by some as the future of retailing. Offering unprecedented levels of convenience, customization, and flexibility, this popular purchasing option is gaining steam fast. But what is on-demand clothing manufacturing and how does it differ from traditional manufacturing?
Keep reading to understand the ins and outs of on-demand clothing manufacturing (and why you should care).
The retail environment today is more competitive than it’s ever been. The fashion and apparel manufacturing sector alone is a $1.2 trillion industry. While many brands and retailers aim to differentiate themselves with lower prices and faster delivery, others are taking a more sustainable approach; after all, prices can only go so low and delivery can never be faster than instantaneous.
On-demand clothing manufacturing offers a sustainable solution to age-old problems. Instead of testing out a new product and being left with hundreds of cast-offs, on-demand manufacturing means you can create small runs of new products or large runs of seasonal favorites, and keep inventory at a comfortable level.
To be clear, on-demand manufacturing isn’t anything new. It’s really a scaled-up version of creating custom apparel, which was the way clothing was made regularly prior to industrialization.
According to a 2017 article from Sourcing Journal, rapid advancements in technology and ever-increasing customer demands for quality and value are driving the growth of on-demand clothing manufacturing. Writer Tara Donaldson goes on to say, “The win with on-demand is two-fold: the customer gets exactly what they want, and the brand only has to make exactly what they want. That means little waste, no excess inventory and no accounts receivable risk.”
In a world where landfills are filling up fast and consumers around the globe are asking about sustainability, waste, and labor standards, on-demand manufacturing is proving to be a smart option for the retailers and brands of tomorrow.
According to Science Direct, there are three main factors that may help retailers build deeper connection with their customers: a shared identity, emotional connection, and customer experience. In essence, the purpose is to drive sales by engaging in a way that allows the consumer to identify with the brand.
Exclusivity, localization, and community are three ways in which brands have traditionally tapped into our human need to feel a shared identity. On-demand manufacturing makes all three possible.
Small brands from sports teams to schools are looking for ways to create a shared identity through products. With small-run manufacturing, businesses and organizations can create apparel that meets customer needs in a timely way, but also allows them to keep their own budgets in check. This same idea applies to niche brands and retailers who are looking to test new products or who may simply want to continue supplying their customers with a diverse and always-fresh inventory of fashion options.
Two benefits of this strategy are increased customer experience and business flexibility.
In the same way that crowdfunding new projects has become a way for consumers to become invested in a specific brand story, on-demand clothing manufacturing is also creating a way for consumers to become promoters of the brands and retailers they love and trust. By creating products when and in what quantities customers need, brands can remain flexible to the whims of their clientele, fostering customers’ respect and loyalty.
By tapping into social connectivity around holidays, after a significant community event, or during a particularly challenging political climate, brands and retailers can further offer the emotional connection customers are looking for. Using on-demand manufacturing means that seizing such an opportunity won’t require stacks of unmovable industry when the tides change again.
“You never have my size!” and “You’re sold out again?” are two things a retailer or brand never wants to hear. Instead, they want to be able to say, “We’ll order what you need and ship it right to your house.” With on-demand manufacturing, that’s easier than ever. Creating a shipment of exactly what customers are asking for is both possible and affordable.
In addition to offering an inventory that meets the needs of customers, on-demand clothing manufacturing also provides an opportunity to go big on the things that sell, while still offering loyal customers their favorite products.
On-demand manufacturing makes custom apparel not just an option, but a way of life for retailers looking to embrace the future. To learn more about on-demand apparel manufacturing and TheStudio.com, read Our Story.