Fashion samples, and sample management, are a critical part of your collection launch process and there are many expectations for them. They need to be made in time for your collection launch or fashion show, but also confirmed and agreed upon before mass-producing any garments. They are also vital in order to get media coverage and be used for photoshoots and events.
Therefore, managing and tracking samples are key especially as they can be expensive and time-consuming to recreate, which can cause potential delays. As a brand, eliminating any inefficiencies, reducing operating costs, accelerating time to market, future-proofing your business by working collaboratively internally, and increasing your brand awareness and performance are top of mind especially when it comes down to fashion samples.
Thus, before choosing a fashion software for your sample management needs, we’ve created a list of 5 questions to consider to ultimately reduce operational costs and increase the overall ROI of your brand.
1. What is the main purpose of having a sample management software?
Any management software is created to help you manage a smooth process and ease any pain points. The ultimate samples management solution would allow you to grow the coverage of your fashion brand and streamline your workflow so that you can create, manage and share your assets with efficiency and speed.
Now, a samples management solution should help make it easier for you to get your fashion design samples at the right time and the right place and hopefully boost press and media coverage of your products, but it should ensure that the alignment and flow internally is fluid and works well. Ultimately, your teams from sales, design & production, control & logistics, and PR should all play a role in your samples workflow as well.
Perhaps they are different iterations of your samples and different sample sets, but a great samples management tool will also consider the potential different teams using the tool like the Sales team handling samples to show to different retailers or the Control & Logistics tool looking at shipping samples from different manufacturers in order to identify the potential costs and weight for mass production. PR Teams also want to ensure that there is a sample set ready to be requested and shared with different journalists and editors to get press coverage and brand buzz just after the collection launch or fashion show. There are many use cases for a samples management solution, but the ideal software would be able to create transparency and flexibility amongst different sample sets and different departments who might be using the samples, whether that’s internal or external facing.
2. How can you reduce sample loss and become more sustainable with your samples?
Tracking and paying attention to where your samples content for fashion is and carefully tracking it, knowing who requested it, its location, and when it will be returned will help your brand reduce sample loss. Now, this can become simple if there are individual barcodes or RFID tags on each sample for seamless check-in and check-out. These tags should link to dedicated software that can give full visibility on a sample’s status and location. And so, if there is a sample that is missing, having everything organized and well filed will make it easier to find that sample and hopefully, reduce sample loss. But also, by limiting your sample loss, your brand is being more responsible for its sample creation and thus, becoming more sustainable with the sample.
In tandem, there is the mindset of doing more with less. With a limited sample scope, you are forced into being more cautious and therefore, optimizing your samples inventory to become more efficient and productive. To do this, push for sample sharing and transparency within internal teams using a samples software and use this same software to organize when sending out samples to influencers and press to have uniform visibility internally and be able to collectively connect and collaborate.
But also, ensure that the samples are part of the PR team’s sharing process. For example, after a fashion show or collection launch, the PR team usually invites the press and influencers to the showroom to look at the collection and physically pick some samples for their upcoming shoots or events. Now, that same process is still happening in some countries where you can have in-person appointments, but alternatively, there are digital showrooms like Galleries by Launchmetrics, where you can see imagery and videos of the different looks and samples and at Launchmetrics, we have created a feature where press and influencers can directly request a sample from the digital showroom and that moves into the Samples by Launchmetrics software as a samples request. Thus, connecting samples to your digital showroom experience make the workflow even more smooth and efficient.
3. What are some ways to boost your PR coverage with sample management?
To get more PR coverage for your brand, samples must be at the ready to be sent out to different editors, stylists, and writers. Ensuring a simple process to manage the sample requests will make it easier to respond and hopefully get more PR coverage. However, the organization process doesn’t stop there because samples are also coming into the showroom at any given time and need to be re-scanned and put into the system so they can be sent out again, creating a circular flow of samples.
With the current limitations around going into a physical showroom, creating digital showrooms, and a digital webpage environment where editors and press can see images of the products and then direct request samples to be sent for their upcoming shoot or event is the ideal workflow and process. It makes it so effortless for the editor and press without the back and forth of organizing the logistics. Thus, as mentioned before, the new requesting samples integration within Galleries by Launchmetrics in its digital showroom and Samples by Launchmetrics requesting will reduce time spent and in some ways, hopefully, help boost overall PR coverage.
4. Using your sample management software, can you identify the sample trends and potentially which products might have more interest?
Through a samples performance report, you will be able to deep dive into the exact samples that were sent out the most and also requested the most. For example, if a red dress was constantly requested by several editors and influencers, the red dress will likely appear in multiple content pieces across print, online and social and so, become part of a clothing trend. Therefore, samples do give insight into potential product growth and can allow your brand to see what styles are working well. Now, this report gives an overall view of the sample’s performance by looking at the tracking and where it has been sent and delivered, but there could be samples that are trendy and popular that aren’t necessarily requested or sent out a lot, but this could give you an indication.
5. How can you increase your overall samples efficiency?
The best way to increase your overall sample efficiency is by investing in a leading sample management software that will benefit your brand both internally and boost your overall PR coverage like Samples by Launchmetrics. This investment will allow you to eliminate inefficiencies by removing any silo mentality across different departments when it comes to samples and allow all departments to keep consistent and updated information in one single location. The E-commerce teams could request the samples to be used for creative product imagery and content and then the PR team could also see where the samples are at so they can manage different requests and send out expectations from the Media and Influencers. Meanwhile, the Sales team will also know when they can use certain sets of samples for their upcoming retailer conversations and pitches. This transparency encourages internal collaboration, unified sharing, and overall visibility.
Don’t forget that measuring your samples overall performance will help you plan for upcoming seasons and potentially reduce the number of sample sets needed now that you will have this samples transparency. Overall, Samples helps you reduce your operating costs and make your samples work harder for your brand.
Hopefully, these 5 questions made you consider what is important to your brand when choosing the best fashion software for your team. When it comes to sample management, Samples by Launchmetrics will reassure you that your samples can be easily managed, tracked, and measured and thus in good hands. Learn more about what Samples can do for you and request a demo to find out more.