Apparel and Footwear Fulfillment

The apparel and footwear industry face many complex challenges when it comes to inventory management and order fulfillment.  From complex SKU assortments, to seasonal inventory surges, to increasing big box retailer demands to same day direct-to-consumer fulfillment expectations; a cost-effective, accurate, and reliable supply chain is more critical to the success of apparel and footwear brands than ever before.


Consumer demands are at an all-time high, and your apparel and footwear supply chain needs to be aligned and responsive or risk losing a customer for life.  As there are more options and competitors than ever before, accurate order fulfillment must be a top priority for brands.  Accurate inventory management, efficient picking, packing procedures and consistent order cycle times need to be aligned to deliver the right item to the right place at the right time, every time.  Its not just a box, it’s your brand.

How is inventory managed for apparel fulfillment?


With a high volume of SKUs, poor inventory management can be an apparel and footwear brand killer.  Adding the fact that fashion and styles change quickly, brands can be left with aged, unsold product that loses value and costs money to store season-after-season. 

Brands must balance fill rate with a disciplined SKU assortment strategy to keep inventory levels as lean as possible. Item activity level reporting from a modern warehouse management system can proactively help brands identify slow moving inventory to make room for new seasonal merchandise. This active inventory management will help your fulfillment provider keep its slotting plan up to date and enable more efficient picking.

How is seasonality managed for apparel fulfillment?

Many apparel and footwear brands have seasonal surges in order volume. Whether it’s around the holidays, or through social media promotions or as the temperatures change, being able to scale your fulfillment capacity at these times is vitally important to your brand. When logistics companies can prepare for seasonal or promotional marketing events by leveraging communication, forecasting and planning, it drives improvements in order cycle time. Fulfillment providers can operate in a much more cost-effective and efficient manner when not in a “reactionary mode."

What are the packaging demands for apparel & Footwear fulfillment?


Packaging is an important consideration from both a branding and product protection standpoint. If an order is going directly to a consumer, the packaging and presentation is essential.  If an order is going to a retail outlet, the carton needs to be labeled properly to avoid chargebacks. To improve inventory management, streamline product receiving procedures and reduce handling costs, industry best practice is for master cartons and units to be barcoded and packaged with one style, size and color per carton. 

What value-added services are important for apparel fulfillment


Value-added services are an increasingly important consideration for apparel and footwear brands. Based on your specific needs and customer expectations, these additional options can offer a competitive advantage and reinforce your brand image. Packaging, kitting, bundling, labeling and personalization are five common and popular value-added services. Whether you need custom designed packaging or have a variety of components that need to be transformed into finished kits, there are different service options that can meet these needs.

How are returns handled for apparel fulfillment?


Apparel and footwear brands typically have higher return rates than other industries. Whether an item doesn’t fit or isn’t what the customer had in mind, the convenience of e-Commerce shopping and free shipping can result in more frequent consumer returns.  Managing the reverse logistics side of your supply chain is critical to preserve and recover margin dollars. Having the ability to efficiently inspect, re-condition and restock scaleable items into your inventory, while also providing a frictionless customer experience, is essential.