Handheld mobile devices may be what footwear retail stores need to get a leg up on the competition, according to a new report from technology news platform IMC Grupo. Challenged by constraints including lack of store employees, time-consuming payment methods, inefficient inventory management, outdated enterprise resource planning systems, and cumbersome exchange and return practices, many footwear retailers have turned to handheld mobile computer solutions to boost efficiency, the report notes. According to the report, footwear retailers embracing handheld systems can gain the following benefits: Boost digital transformation and information management. Handheld personal computers handle data and information seamlessly, making it easier to manage retail functions in real time. This ability, in turn, means footwear retailers can more easily transform sales, order replenishment, and distribution processes. Provide timely and accurate market information. In the apparel and footwear industry, it’s incredibly important for a store to keep revising and refining its marketing and product strategies. Handheld mobile computers deliver quick and accurate data that can efficiently inform and shape marketing decisions. Improve customer service quality. Using handhelds, store employees can quickly and accurately check inventory and help customers find the footwear they are looking for, leading to improved customer service. In the case of a stockout, store clerks can use the handheld devices to help customers place an order for the desired item(s). Facilitate efficient restocks. Inventory updates are crucial to ensure that footwear stores do not run out of stock. Handheld mobile computers provide swift information regarding goods, facilitating timely restocks without wasting time. DOES FOOTWEAR RETAIL NEED A HAND(HELD)?
CHINA SC WOES HAVE FOOTWEAR INDUSTRY TIED IN KNOTS The impact on the supply chain from lockdowns in China was a major theme for footwear retailers in the first half of 2022. Largely reporting lower-than-expected earnings, many major footwear brands pointed a finger at the lockdowns to explain their disappointing performance levels. Strict and extended COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Qingdao set off a ripple effect across the industry’s supply chain, causing many footwear distribution centers, retail stores, and production facilities to close. In addition, the shutdown created transportation and supply chain bottlenecks at local ports, resulting in product scarcity and delays. As a result, footwear brands are feeling a one-two punch from longer lead times for freight coming from the region as well as lost revenue due to store closures in the area. Here’s a look at how some of footwear’s biggest players fared amidst these supply chain woes to date: • Crocs, Under Armour, Allbirds, and Adidas all reported headwinds to their businesses in China and offered weak guidance for the rest of the fiscal year. • Wolverine Worldwide (owner of Saucony, Merrell, Sperry, and Sweaty Betty, among others) is retaining a confident outlook for 2022, predicting a growth rate of 15% to 18%. However, the company predicted longer-term impacts to the supply chain that could last through 2023. • Tapestry, the parent company of Kate Spade, Coach, and Stuart Weitzman, cut its outlook for the fiscal year based on challenges from COVID-related pressures in China.
12 Inbound Logistics • June 2022
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