The research report and proposal was a journey of self-growth and self-reflection for me. The rising issues related to the fashion industry such as globalization with which I was associated was a learning experience with deep insights into the practices of the fashion industry and the current situation. The fashion industry has faced setbacks in recent times with globalization and COVID 19. I understand the gravity of the issue identified through the research on the impact of globalization on the fashion industry and the adaptability of business houses. I came to know through interactions with fashion industry players on the change, within industry dynamics post-digital revolution. It pained me to see the plight of small scale businesses struggling to adapt to new changes. The recent impact of COVID-19 resulted in digital interface and marketing plan development by the fashion industry players.
I identified the need for digital preparedness to keep pace with consumer shift for post-globalization and the COVID era through the research. The industry needs to identify its value proportion and digital strategic capabilities to become resilient. Social media have played the role of catalyst for the fashion industry with instant digital communication for brand awareness (Fletcher, 2020). I was surprised to see a gap in labor services and identified the need for automation on the onset of COVID 19 to prevent the transmission of COVID 19 in warehouse operations. On the report framework understanding, cross-cultural sentiments for the geographical location as China was a challenge. I extensively researched and took support from my professor on structuring that helped me immensely to curate the process and draw analysis.
The business impacted has a huge brick and mortar challenge resulted in job loss and shut down due to the recent developments. I consider developing research design as the most difficult phase as I was apprehensive about conducting focus groups and use to consider it as a biased tool. Unlike my assumption it resulted in obtaining narrative opinion, it helped in developing cross-platform for varied thoughts for a holistic approach to the research topic. I found analysis and data computation as a crucial part of the research and developed industry relations while finalizing the interview list for expert interviews. This has improved my organization skills as it helped to improve efficiency and prevented miscommunication that resulted in the timely completion of data collection. While developing key objectives and secondary research I became confident with the application of the research process unfolding and developing proposals. Alternatively, the year-on-year comparison would have helped in identifying systematic changes providing the opportunities to value the marketing and operations that were successful, and those who were not for longitudinal research for the impact assessment. However, I liked the way the research has shaped with understanding industry pain points and recommendations for the fashion industry. During the research process with the progress, I got enthusiastic and had developed interest while preparing a questionnaire for the participants. The process has helped me evolve through developing patience, developing a structured approach for developing a market strategy that would be useful for my commercial experience. The industry expert's optimism despite the current situation showed the visionary approach and business continuity on fine-tuning merchandising to reduce the resultant competition. The task was time-consuming but it helped me to understand the current industry experts, how the shift has resulted in their shopping experience, and what it meant for us a fashion merchandiser student.
I found that with the setback due to COVID the condition fashion industry suffered a cash crunch and huge financial loss. During my research, the interaction with industry experts showed technological advancement in online sales and heavy promotional offers can mitigate the damage and increase consumer spending. I simultaneously read the course general readings and applied the merchandising management knowledge while understanding the constraints of fashion industry players during these hard-fought times. As a merchandiser, it is essential to develop strategic capabilities while building a connection with the consumer for promotion and delivery. The current trend shows a shift from luxury fashion to comfortable wear with overall sales decline to 20% for the first quarter of 2020 (Cooke, 2020). I believe proving equal opportunities to small scale business will boost their sales with the capital infusion. The interview aided in the insistence on using innovative technology that can be observed as a feasible solution using Artificial intelligence, social media platform listing, and discount as a promotional mix. Obtaining primary results was a tough task, it slowed the research report process, I found responses took more than a week to arrive though compilation was quick with analysis of data. I developed SMART goals along with a journal to monitor and look back on my progress whenever I get overwhelmed during this journey to manage time and results. During my journey I identified potential solutions for improving the fashion industry, small-scale businesses would require government support in assistance to emerging out of the COVID crisis. This held me to pause and think on the large scale impact and business process development as required for emerging trends. The use of online channels for shopping pandemic has created a need for e-commerce. I collated data through primary and secondary research which showed high digital penetration that will revolutionize the fashion industry with the Omni channel as key to the hybrid model.
The journey of the research process has brought a conscious change in me to develop contingency planning and reforming the business process for maintaining agility. The research process has helped to engage with practical dimensions with real-world issues to develop considerable actions and adapt to transformative learning. The impact of a pandemic may last long but technology and globalization will be imperative for the industry to grow forward. I am confident that the learning through research has improved my knowledge base and all aid to work in the capacity as a consultant in the fashion industry with a high degree of knowledge on implementing management and marketing strategies for planning and buying for industry practice.
Cooke, J. (2020). How COVID 19 has affected online retail in China. Retrieved from https://technode.com/2020/04/07/how-covid-19-has-affected-online-retail-in-china/
Fletcher, G. & Griffiths, M. (2020). Digital transformation during a lockdown. International Journal of Information Management, 102-185.
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