Lenzing Group, the wood-based specialty fiber supplier, has expanded its sustainable viscose fiber portfolio globally via the launch of Veocel, a carbon-neutral viscose fiber to be available in the U.S. and Europe. For Asia, the company said it will “convert the existing production capacity for conventional viscose into capacity for responsible specialty fibers in the second half of this year.” The company said the expansion represents Veocel’s “latest act in providing nonwovens value chain partners and brands with offerings that make a positive impact on the environment and empower an industry-wide shift to reduce carbon footprints.”

Speaking of industry-wide shifts, WWD is presenting “Sustainability Forum: Scaling ESG Solutions” on June 6. The two-and-a-half hour virtual event will showcase the latest findings from Accenture’s annual “Scaling ESG Solutions in Fashion” report, which focuses on the “actions organizations can taking individually as well as those that will require wide-scale adoption and collaboration across the industry to drive effective progress,” organizers of the event said. Accenture is the sponsor of the forum.

[Click here for more information about the forum.]

Aside from ESG, industry leaders continue to prioritize technology and the convergence of physical and digital. During a recent webinar presented by SAP, Yulia Groza, vice president of e-commerce technology at Levi Strauss & Co., Lea Sonderegger, chief digital officer at Swarovski, Sven Denecken, chief marketing and solutions officer for industries and CX at SAP, and Ritu Bhargava, chief product officer for industries and CX at SAP, shared insights into the retail and consumer climate in this post-pandemic period. The panelists discussed emerging trends and what it takes to acquire and retain customer loyalty. To succeed, companies need to leverage data and technology.

When asked if SMBs can also leverage data, Denecken told WWD that “data matters for every size and every type of business — whether it’s a small business or major national retailer. Small to medium-sized businesses are dealing with steep competition and a landscape where every dollar and data point matters. There are data management solution options to fit every retailer’s needs.” Denecken said at SAP, the company believes “in meeting customers where they are — from a customer who might want an ‘all-in-one’ approach, to a customer who prioritizes flexibility and needs the ability to scale as they grow.”

By way of example, Denecken said the company recently released a new composable Commerce Cloud offering “that provides businesses with an extensible foundation for developing the commerce tools that best suit their needs, wherever they are in their digital maturity journey.” He said with the platform’s continuous innovation delivery model, “SAP Commerce Cloud enables merchants to focus on delighting customers instead of investing in table-stakes capabilities that require stitching together disjointed solutions not designed to be interoperable at scale.”

In other technology and software news, SML, the retail RFID technology and solution provider, said it teamed up with PervasID, which offers RFID reader systems for automating inventory and asset tracking, to offer retailers “a unique combination of PervasID’s passive RFID reader technology and SML’s Clarity enterprise software solutions to drive higher profits for retailers.”

Dean Frew, SML’s chief technology officer, said as the retail RFID market “continues to demand innovations to serve customers more effectively, we see a growing synergy between hands-free and handheld RFID solutions in stores and distribution centers and we see PervasID’s technology leading this innovation.”

Frew went on to note that with the “adoption of item-level RFID solutions rapidly growing and with a large portion of those retailers running on our Clarity application platform, we see the addition of the disruptive PervasID technology to our portfolio as being a key part of servicing our customers with enhanced returns on investments.”   

One of the industry trends driving the demand for item-level visibility is due to retailers and brands upping their omnichannel offerings. While online sales growth has slowed, the share of online sales remains well-above pre-pandemic levels. Coupled with supply chain issues and other disruptions, retailers are working to improve the overall shopping experience for consumers. This includes addressing stock-outs, pulling inventory from stores to fulfill online orders, and addressing last-mile hiccups.

To better gauge how the fulfillment process impacts consumers, Veho, the last-mile logistics company, surveyed 1,000 online shoppers to see how much delivery and returns influence buying decisions.

“The results were clear: shoppers are loyal to brands with smooth delivery and returns — and they won’t stick with brands that make them jump through hoops,” the report’s authors noted. “Shipping and returns are still a real pain point for shoppers, so they have little patience for brands that don’t communicate shipment delays, refuse accountability for lost or stolen packages or create hurdles to returning unwanted items.”

In the report, titled “Shipping is the new shopping: the 2023 state of shipping and returns satisfaction, researchers found that 53 percent of respondents say delivery firms and brands are responsible for negative delivery experiences. And 77 percent of those polled said they are less likely to buy from a retailer or brand following a negative delivery experience.

ESG, SDG, CER, GRI, FSC, LCA, WELL Business Features, Consumer Behavior, online shopping, retail, Sustainability, Technology, textile industry Read More 

Arthur Zaczkiewicz