Exclusivity is becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry, as companies seek to maximize the prestige, yet limit the prevalence of their clothing. At the same time, the industry faces more scrutiny for air and material pollution in their manufacturing and distribution procedures. Farfetch seeks to solve both issues simultaneously with its new pre-order program.
By taking a different approach to distribution, Farfetch Pre-order will not only help the e-tailer edge out the competition, but also reduce waste. The new pre-order system launched with select brands, such as Off-White, Balenciaga, Palm Angels, and others. While the first drop draws from already finished clothes, the ones that follow will be revealed as digital renditions that will not be made until the pre-order run is complete.
The philosophy behind this initiative is that fashion companies can use the feedback to gauge interest before they begin production, so that each article of clothing is guaranteed to have a buyer.
This is not the first time pre-orders have been implemented in fashion, but it is the first to “link the process of digital clothes to very prompt production,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Business School, in an interview with Vogue Business. The turnaround time from the order being placed, to the clothes being delivered, is predicted to be around four weeks, which may turn off some shoppers. Sucharita Kodali, vice president of retail at Forrester, told Vogue, “There’s so much inventory that’s available right now for ready-to-wear. There’s not a huge incentive for customers to pre-order unless it’s something you really want or it’s something that might sell out quickly.”
In order to hurdle that obstacle, Farfetch will target the trending styles and unique quality pieces over large scale production runs. It will also focus on good communication and customer service to account for possible returns and cancellations. Regardless of the roadblocks it faces, Farfetch remains positive and confident that it will help revolutionize the industry. Jamie Freed, Farfetch’s global vice president of private client, told Vogue, “This is just the start of what pre-order will look like for Farfetch.”
Earlier this year, we penned a story that explored the viability of footwear brands adopting pre-order models for hyped drops, check it out.