"Firms in the fashion apparel industry—such as Zara, H&M, and Benetton—have increasingly embraced the philosophy of “fast fashion” retailing. Generally speaking, a fast fashion system combines at least two components:
- short production and distribution lead times, enabling a close matching of supply with uncertain demand (which we refer to as quick response techniques);
Short lead times are enabled through a combination of localized production, sophisticated information systems that facilitate frequent inventory monitoring and replenishment, and expedited distribution methods.
- highly fashionable (“trendy”) product design (which we refer to as enhanced design techniques).
The second component (trendy product design) is made possible by carefully monitoring consumer and industry tastes for unexpected fads and reducing design lead times.
the second component of fast fashion systems— creating trendy, highly fashionable products — received far less attention. ... some firms are attempting to focus on design and develop trendier products without reducing their production lead times because of the difficulties (both logistical and cultural) that can accompany drastically redesigning the supply network.
We postulate that, all else being equal, enhanced design capabilities result in products that are of greater value to consumers and hence elicit a greater willingness to pay. Consequently, firms may exploit this greater willingness to pay by charging higher prices on “trendy” products than on more conservative products. [Moi ici: De onde virão os markups, perguntam os autores?] Enhanced design capabilities are costly, however: there are typically fixed costs (a large design staff, trend spotters, rapid prototyping capabilities, etc.), and there may be greater variable costs (e.g., because of more labor-intensive production processes or costly local labor). Thus, as with any operational strategy, firms considering enhanced design must trade off the benefits of the strategy (greater consumer willingness to pay) with the costs (fixed and variable).[Moi ici: A tríade assume que o motor é a redução de custos. Pois!]
Quick response reduces the chance that inventory will remain to be sold at the clearance price. Enhanced product design, on the other hand, gives customers a trendier product that they value more, making them less willing to risk waiting for a sale if there is any chance that the item will stock out.
Thus, whereas quick response decreases the expected future utility of waiting for a price reduction, enhanced design increases the immediate utility of buying the product at the full price. By decreasing consumer incentives to wait for the clearance sale, both enhanced design and quick response allow the firm to set a higher selling price while still inducing consumers to pay the full price.
We develop a model of such a system and compare its performance to three alternative systems: quick-response-only systems, enhanced-design-only systems, and traditional systems (which lack both enhanced design and quick response capabilities). In particular, we focus on the impact of each of the four systems on “strategic” or forward-looking consumer purchasing behavior, i.e., the intentional delay in purchasing an item at the full price to obtain it during an end-of-season clearance. We find that enhanced design helps to mitigate strategic behavior by offering consumers a product they value more, making them less willing to risk waiting for a clearance sale and possibly experiencing a stockout. Quick response mitigates strategic behavior through a different mechanism: by better matching supply to demand, it reduces the chance of a clearance sale. Most importantly, we find that although it is possible for quick response and enhanced design to be either complements or substitutes, the complementarity effect tends to dominate. Hence, when both quick response and enhanced design are combined in a fast fashion system, the firm typically enjoys a greater incremental increase in profit than the sum of the increases resulting from employing either system in isolation. Furthermore, complementarity is strongest when customers are very strategic. We conclude that fast fashion systems can be of significant value, particularly when consumers exhibit strategic behavior."
Trechos retirados de "The Value of Fast Fashion: Quick Response, Enhanced Design, and Strategic Consumer Behavior", de Gérard P. Cachon e Robert Swinney, publicado por Management Science, Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2011, pp. 778–795