What has this period of lockdown entailed for a leading and well-appointed reality like yours, which works both in terms of production and distribution?
First off, the lockdown entailed great difficulty in terms of logistics for deliveries in almost all countries, and then naturally the forced closings determined, for both distribution and production, a drop in orders for summer re-stockings. To all this can be added the numerous and complex activities connected to safety and social distancing protocols, which had to be implemented in both companies and stores.
What strategies have you adopted to reply to the new needs connected to the restart of business after the Covid emergency (from both a productive and distributive standpoint)?
First of all, we ensured the punctual delivery of the materials for restarting production as soon as possible after our reopening. In terms of customers, instead, we made important measures of assistance and sales support available to them, which we called the ‘Corona-package’, and it met up with great satisfaction by our partners. It’s a support package developed in ten points that is mainly focused on providing greater cash flow and direct income to our commercial partners. One of the key points, in fact, is the further “10% discount on immediate assistance”, which will be applied to all summer products that have not yet been delivered, as well as to all follow-up summer orders, with the aim of offering our partners better profit margins.
What are the biggest difficulties that you have had to face in this moment, but also what opportunities do you feel were created by this situation?
Our greatest concerns today are for our customers – retail stores -, which have lost sales for six or more weeks, depending on their country of origin, along with delays in receiving financial assistance from the government, resulting in a situation of great economic difficulty and a lack of cash flow. I believe that future opportunities will depend on the economic conditions of retail distribution and the buying power of end customers. As far as we are concerned, we are accelerating on our projects of growth and development, above all in the digital world, in order to face the new demands of a global market in the best possible way.
Do you believe the period we are going through has changed the purchasing habits of consumers and the products they wish to buy?
Most certainly. I personally believe that in the near future it will be critical to understand how consumer habits have changed after the pandemic and period of lockdown and what the right distribution channel will be for replying to these new needs.
In what way have you organised yourselves to reply to these changes?
We are working on implementing and optimising the tools made available to our partners, so they can make the most of the omnichannel reality.
In the post-Covid era, do you believe that the timing of the fashion system (collection presentations, discounts, and re-stockings) should be rethought?
Certainly, just consider the recent declarations made by leading names in the world of fashion who have jointly expressed the need to bring the presentation of collections closer to the real times of product ‘consumption’.
How do you believe pricing policies will change?
As a general rule, there will always be diversified prices and product types, but the general trend today is moving towards a greater demand for products of higher quality and environmental sustainability to the detriment of volume products at a low price.
What role do you believe sector fairs must play in the near future?
The experiences of the last few months have undoubtedly accelerated the process of digital interaction and online sales, but I am convinced that direct human contact will always be necessary to maintain and cultivate interpersonal and business relationships. For this reason, some sector fairs will maintain a key role also in the future, even if in all probability, their function will be increasingly oriented towards public relations and personal interactions. There will probably be fewer fairs but of higher quality.