Agile management and flexibility can help retailers use data to better capitalize on consumer trends. One European retailer is now using an efficient supply chain and real-time information about trends to bring consumers the latest fashions as soon as they hit the runway.

Latest Trends at Affordable Prices

Headquartered in Berlin, Lesara is an online fashion retailer offering 50,000 products annually to consumers in 23 European countries. Lesara is unique in its use of data to identify current fashion trends. It then works with factories to bring the latest products directly to consumers at a competitive price. Lesara founder and CEO Roman Kirsch said in an interview with Forbes that with agile management, robust analytics and a fast, transparent supply chain, Lesara’s turnaround time beats that of its competitors by almost an entire month.

“We don’t invest in expensive supermodel campaigns, but rather invest in great experiences that promote word-of-mouth through social media,” Kirsch said. “Our vision is to enable everyone, everywhere, to afford the newest trends in apparel at great prices.”

Kirsch explained that they support this model by investing in efficiency and using the supply chain as a main driver for cost structure. Lesara’s data-driven demand forecasts, elimination of overstock and online-only operations allow the company to deliver up to 25 percent cheaper price points without sacrificing quality.

Innovation Is at the Forefront of Retail

According to a report on agile innovation by Ernst & Young, leaders need to rally their organizations around new models of innovation and “cultivate an agile culture of experimentation” by encouraging ideas and embracing failure. They should also eliminate bureaucracy, think simply and act fast with an approach for identifying and pursuing new innovations.

Additionally, Kirsch noted the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone, learning from your mistakes and promoting values like speed over perfection. So far, Lesara has been able to prove that having management agile enough to respond to robust data can help bring the right products to market faster. “We believe that subjective decision making based on instincts can never be as powerful as understanding consumer demands as they develop and catering to them in real time,” said Kirsch.

Darrell Rigby, head of the global innovation and retail practices division at Bain & Company, stated in an article in Harvard Business Review that agile innovation methods often start at the top, and typically include Scrum (emphasizing creative and adaptive teamwork in solving complex problems), lean development (a focus on the continual elimination of waste) and Kanban (reducing lead times and the amount of work in process). According to Rigby, companies can bring valuable products to market and improve engagement by focusing on visibility and adapting to customers’ changing priorities.

In contrast to many other retailers in the fashion industry, Kirsch firmly believes that the main driver of fashion growth will be mobile, and that it’s only at the beginning of its innovation. “We’re constantly challenging the status quo and pushing widely accepted opinions and assumptions, with the best argument winning the conversation,” said Kirsch.

An efficient supply chain is an integral part of delivering a successful customer experience. Find out how advancements in mobile technology are keeping the supply chain moving.