Ever wondered why, even when shopping takes a long
time you always end up buying something. I know that speaking about this
subject is a bit strange in a printing industry. Shopping has no relevance to
our business or does it?
Well let me tell you the story of the little blue
dress. This dress was hanging in the shop window surrounded by great and
brilliant soft signage prints – surprise surprise!
You know me! Yes, the soft
signage was printed on a deco textile with the silicon band attached to it and
it was beautifully positioned in an aluminum frame in the centre of the window
Inside the store is where the action is, this is the
place where you can touch, and feel the little blue dress, and yes there are
more little dresses. The dresses come in different colours – green, red and
blue. Strangely enough there is only one size and one colour of each dress
available in the store.
The strategy is simple: If there is only one dress in
your size left in the shop you just might have the urge to buy it.
leaving the store to look for another shop then somebody comes along and buys
your little blue dress before you can come back to buy it – this would be a
disaster. So, you make the decision and buy the little blue dress in your size
and you feel really happy that you managed to buy the last one in the store.
This gives you a good feeling.
It’s a nice dress and it’s YOURS!
Let’s look at the reality of the situation – there are
other other aspects apart from psychology at play here in the buying process.
The dress was made using digital textile printing and smart production systems.
The owner of the retail chain has a very
intelligent MIS system in place. This tells him exactly, per day, what he is
selling in each store. He can therefore re-order the sold product directly from
his production centre and in the exact amount of little blue, red or green
dresses. Not only can he assess accurate sales information but he can detect
trends of which sizes and colours are more popular in each region and country.
It also gives the retailer an opportunity to move stock from one store to
another which means better stock control and reduced costs.
The retailer started by having only one size
per colour per shop. This was important, as he noticed that women and men have
the same attitude when shopping. Once they see something they like they
immediately worry that somebody else may buy the item and they will feel they
missed out especially if there is only one garment left in the right size and
colour. The retailer uses this psychology as a ploy to increase sales. He knows
the pressure you feel to buy the item even though there might be more little
dresses in the back of the store – that’s a risk you take!
Here is where digital textile
printing comes in to force. This process means that your little blue dress is
being produced again and again and will be back in the store in less than 3
days. In other words, it can always be made available with the same story
happening over and over.
We are seeing an increase in the production of fashion
textiles using dye sublimation printed fabrics. These production methods are
simple and the process is fast.
Textiles can now be printed and produced in
Europe and manufactured / confectioned in low wage countries in the EU or
Morocco. This also means that very short production cycles and small production
runs can be achieved in Europe reducing the need for production in countries
further afield such as East Asia.
High volume production is no longer necessary.
textile retailers are working with these trends and utilizing the benefits of
European production sites. Shorter runs using dye sublimation printing offers
profitability and excellent business prospects. One key advantage is the
elimination of the enormous amounts of waste. This reduces overall costs and
can improve cash flow.
In the traditional textile retail industry you would
produce 10.000 red, blue and green dresses and hope that you would sell all
30.000 of them.
— Diana Vreeland
Sadly enough you might sell out on the blue dresses and maybe
half of the green ones – but most of the red ones would need to go to the
outlet store or to be sold with huge price reductions. You may even have to
sell them below cost as you would need to sell all the stock before the next
season’s new designs.
The good news is that this scenario is now part of the
With the latest textile printing solutions, you can produce
exactly what you need when you need it.
Retailers can estimate the quantity of
red dresses not selling, reduce the price and keep the prices levels of the
rest of the collection intact.
In this world I would let you produce exactly what you
need and not more. I would indicate to you that if the blue dress sells out you
only need to have one new specific production run.
The huge traditional re-runs
would be part of the past, eliminating cost and losses. Of course this would be
the ideal retail textile world.
Does it exist? Yes it does
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