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PUMA

PUMA'S Davis: Allure of Mass Customization

Embodee recently spent time with Thomas Davis, global head of e-commerce for PUMA, to discuss changes and challenges in the apparel industry. Here, in the second of two installments, are excerpts of our conversation.

Embodee: How does mass customization fit in from your perspective?

Davis: When you start thinking about a diversified product strategy in terms of more SKUs, more colors, and more options, you start running into liability. Meaning, you have to front load cash flow to pay for inventory/product that might sit on shelves for weeks if not months before it’s purchased and your return on the investments is recouped. It’s the long-tail game. When you’re trying to keep your margins high and your turn ratios high, it’s a very difficult one to balance. Creating lots of inventory that sits on shelves all over the world is just basically money sitting there that can’t be allocated toward other business-enhancing projects. The turnaround time on product is probably a year lead time for some companies. That’s a long time to tie up money, especially when there’s no guarantee in the world of fashion.

PUMA: Challenges in an Omnichannel World

Embodee recently spent time with Thomas Davis, global head of e-commerce for PUMA, to discuss changes and challenges in the apparel industry. Here, in the first of two installments, are excerpts of our conversation.

Embodee: What are the most significant challenges for apparel companies like PUMA in this omni-channel sales world? There’s certainly a lot being written about it.

Davis: It depends on what kind of company you are. I’ll boil it down to just PUMA and the wholesale channels because this is a landscape of your retail and wholesale channels; and obviously your wholesalers are partners and clients too. Secondly, the brand has to decide what is the balance between sales and marketing. So it’s a complicated dance to figure out, and there isn’t one right or wrong answer. Further, how do you get these channels to work in concert while still balancing the needs of marketing and brand? Making sure that all of these business interests---everything---work together and complement each other is much easier said than done.