The past year resulted in a rapid-fire switch to remote work and digital transactions for many industries, especially fashion and retail. Now with many regions starting to reopen and return to in-person work and travel, companies are asking themselves what the return to normal should look like.
The forced digitization of day-to-day activities and large-scale events sparked incredible innovation and an opportunity to learn from the convenience, cost-efficiency and data that come with working in a virtual world. Now that we have a taste of those advantages, it’s unlikely brands or buyers will be willing to go back to our old ways completely.
With many regions reopening, brands are asking themselves, how do we retain the advantages we gleaned from doing business online during the pandemic, and optimize those with in-person activity? The answer is a hybrid model--that ideal balance of in-person and virtual that will be part of every business from now on. Each brand must decide what their ratio of in-person and virtual will be. Here are some important factors to consider as the industry navigates this new model.
Digital and physical go hand in hand.
The innovation that was born out of the necessity of going completely virtual for the past year and a half will be integral for both in-person and remote selling, giving us an opportunity to stay virtual when wanted or needed, or to streamline in-person selling with digital tools that make it even better. Virtual selling is made possible through JOOR’s cloud-based desktop platform, and in-person selling is faster and more streamlined with help from the JOOR iPad app. Technology gives us better options all around.
Whether online or in-person, tell your story.
Brands and buyers alike appreciate the time savings of conducting market online. It’s an opportunity to truly optimize collaboration: brands can communicate the “why” behind their collections, giving retail partners access to important insights that engage end consumers. Plus, it’s a chance to hone in on the challenges and opportunities their retail partners face.
With JOOR, brands can use the Custom Profile to create a unique, immersive experience that brings the brand’s aesthetic and point of difference to life. With customizable text, videos, documents and product insertions, brands can showcase who they are in an eye-catching way that was never before available on a wholesale platform.
When brands do decide to meet in-person, they should shorten the sales cycle by immediately following up with a curated virtual showroom based on their meeting. Set up time to finalize the order on the Edit and close the deal.
Green is the new black.
Sustainability is a significant factor to consider when approaching your hybrid model. Many brands and retailers have adopted conscious business models, often driven by surging consumer demand for “slow fashion,” which seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact across an item’s lifecycle, from its design and manufacture to its marketing and ultimate disposal.
Many virtual activities, such as digital showrooms and tradeshows, have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than in-person, reducing carbon emissions from shipping of goods and attendees’ air travel. It also reduces the physical waste that comes with large-scale in-person events. Consider the impact on the environment and your bottom line when creating your ideal balance of online and in-person activities, making sure the benefits of each activity outweigh potential cost.
When it comes to payments, keep it online.
While a hybrid model makes sense for many aspects of doing business, there’s one area where digital is king: invoicing. Traditional payments are inefficient and fraught with problems, from high fees to loss of revenue and potential fraud. The JOOR Payments platform seamlessly allows brands and retailers to make payments with ease, revolutionizing the invoicing and collection process. Features such as automated PCI and bulk processing, secure processing and expedited remittance of funds (from three months to three days) make digital invoicing and payments a must-do. This is one area where offline transactions have no business in any business.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that innovation is here to stay. Now that we’ve gotten a taste of the ease, convenience and efficiency digitization can offer, we won’t go back. Of course, we need the human element sometimes, which means finding the right mix: that sweet spot between digital optimization and personal connection that creates the perfect hybrid for your unique brand.