Fashion Wholesalers Try on Digital Payments, Virtual Trade Shows

Virtual Trade Shows on Trend for Fashion Buyers

“Hybrid is the new normal for everyone: both brands and retailers,” said JOOR Chief Customer Officer Jennifer Rosado. That has resulted in a lot of the ad hoc coping mechanisms for COVID-related commerce restraints becoming permanent fixtures in the wholesale and retail fashion industry.

“We did a survey recently about what their plans were going to be for next market,” Rosado said. “Only 11% of brands said that they were going to do any exclusively in person.”

She discussed the logistics of fashion and how the pandemic changed the game with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in a Fireside Chat about “Staying in Style: Scaling Tech and Sales When the Business of Fashion Goes Online” during the recent Freightwaves Supply Chain meets FinTech Virtual Conference.

Upsides of Digital

There have been some upsides. Travel expenses are down. In addition, longer selling times are a benefit of digital trade shows.

“So, what was once a three-day trade show can now be a 60-day marketplace event when you have the physical plus the digital hybrid happening,” Rosado said.

JOOR has provided myriad payments innovations as part of the industry’s digital transformation.

According to Rosado, with COVID, the fashion industry went through an overnight transition of needing digital tools and virtual showrooms and learning how to get online orders unassisted. After that initial breakthrough, the whole industry is evolving into the next phase.

JOOR’s customers are asking for digital equivalents of functions that were previously handled on an analog basis at physical trade shows. Rosado said customers are asking: “‘Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with unassisted online orders from my buyers, can I get those payments done digitally as well? Can I mitigate risk of payment fraud?’”

That involves finding ways to accomplish the basics of having physical trade shows where trading partners could build face-to-face relationships and exercise judgment as to whether a new retailer is legitimate. Those sorts of physical face-to -ace interactions have gone, but sellers still need a level of protection while driving payments and managing cash flow challenges.

Pandemic Payment Innovations

Given the supply chain crisis, cash flow is more challenging than ever.

“A lot of money is going out the door with production costs being higher and money stuck on boats waiting to still come over,” Rosado said. “So, the challenge is how to manage cash flow in a way that gets more payment up front, and then also manage the risks that are attached to that.”

JOOR responded by launching a payments platform last year and continuing to evolve it by adding more features and functionality that address protections, cash flow and payment terms.

Adding payment terms to the mix has been a huge customer benefit, according to Rosado.

“Being able to get paid within six days while offering payment terms of 60 days to the retailers is a game changer in today’s environment,” she said.

There’s a great deal of interest in, and adoption of, these sorts of payment tools. They are really needed, especially because of the supply chain challenges and cash flow challenges that those create.

Fashion is an example of an industry where a bespoke marketplace with tailored payments solutions is essential because of the unique nuances of the trade.

JOOR executed its payment solution with a three-way partnership to get more features packaged into one payment platform, so brands don’t have to deal with three different vendors.

“There were very few providers who really understood the dynamics of the industry,” Rosado said. “It’s a bit complex. There are market periods, pre-orders of things that don’t yet exist, and seasonality.”

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