This post was initially published by WWD. You can see a version of the post here.
A digital transformation has taken hold of the retail industry, making use of technology table stakes and access to data critical. And digital business-to-business wholesale management platform businesses, like JOOR, are
initiating that transformation by creating solutions for brands and retailers that provide immediate insights for smarter, informed business decisions.
JOOR’s platform connects over 8,600 brands with 200,000 retailers across 144 countries, uniquely sharing data between transacting parties and creating an ecosystem of collaboration. Parties are able to access business driving metrics to leverage trends and see development - It is a process in which the company sees extraordinary opportunities. Here, Kristin Savilia, chief executive officer at JOOR, talks to WWD Studios about JOOR, retail’s digital transformation, and what brands and retailers need to consider when making the investment.
WWD Studios: Tell us about how a digital transformation is critical for brands?
K.S.: There’s never been a more critical time for brands and retailers to use technology as a competitive advantage. The world is bigger than ever, with every region around the globe participating in the wholesale ecosystem. Brands want and need to enable 24/7 shop accessibility to buyers, and going digital is what facilitates this. And the real-time insights delivered by a digital platform mean brands and retailers can work smarter and react quickly to optimize their businesses.
WWD Studios: Why is it important for brands to have a combination of in-store and digital platforms?
K.S.: On the consumer side, retail has made huge strides in digital: e-commerce, personalization, machine matching, and drop ship - just to name a few. In response to a growing number of online competitors, traditional
retailers have started their own e-commerce businesses. And at the same time, online-only retailers have realized that customer acquisition costs are much higher without the scale of brick and mortar. So the winning answer is a combination of the two.
WWD Studios: When you are talking to brands and retailers what are the top concerns they face in growing their businesses?
K.S.: How to keep growing is always top of mind. Beyond that, they want to be able to forecast trends more accurately, and react quickly as new ones emerge in the market. Many of our customers are also very concerned about climate change and want to identify ways to be more sustainable.
WWD Studios: What demands are retailer IT managers hearing from buyers and shareholders are they working to meet?
K.S.: Retail chief information officers are looking for partners who can support them 365 days a year, anywhere in the world. Their jobs are complex and require them to balance a host of competing needs within their organizations. Buyers demand access to information, whether they’re in the office, at a tradeshow or in market. Increasingly thin margins mean management wants real-time access to data to ensure costs are being managed across the board. All of this must be delivered with the highest levels of accuracy and in the face of ever-growing concerns about data security and privacy.
WWD Studios: What is holding brands and retailers back from making investments in wholesale technology?
K.S.: I’m continually amazed at how many brands and retailers are still using spreadsheets, and even pen and paper, to manage their wholesale businesses. For all the hype about consumer-facing technology in our industry, the business-to-business side of technology has been largely ignored. While rolling out a wholesale data management platform can initially feel onerous in terms of cost and effort, it pays back dividends in growth. Brands on JOOR saw a 21 percent increase in their average order size from 2018 to 2019. And retailers enjoy time savings averaging 33 percent in managing their wholesale business. What other initiatives could deliver that level of uplift or efficiency?
WWD Studios: What benefits are seen from making investments in technology?
K.S.: Growth is the biggest one - but it’s not the only benefit. For brands, there is a speed element - faster line sheet creation and timely, accurate order processing. Retailers also need speed, especially as it relates to getting items live quickly in their e-commerce platforms. For buyers, it means more efficiently creating appointments and capturing better information when they are in market or at a showroom. As a former buyer at
Macy’s, I would have loved the ability to have everything in one place instead of across multiple devices and sheets of paper. Perhaps most important are the insights a technology platform delivers because now there is a data set that can be analyzed and augmented over time. JOOR has been at this for almost ten years. We’re lucky to count as customers over 8,600 brands in 55 categories, and more than 200,000 retailers in 144 countries. What that means is that our data set represents the fashion industry overall, and contains valuable insights. JOOR’s advanced wholesale management features like bulk order management and customizable reporting are unmatched in the industry. And we stand by our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all around the globe. JOOR does $1 billion gross merchandise volume on its platform monthly.