Usually when we think about “customer service,” what comes to mind are the folks on the front lines: sales associates, customer service representatives and support specialists. Your clothing ERP software probably wouldn’t be your first thought.

Tick placed in excellent checkbox on customer service satisfaction survey form

Indeed, much of what creates the customer experience in an apparel or footwear business is what happens on the retail side — whether it’s a beautiful window display and helpful associates in a brick and mortar store, or a well-designed front-end e-commerce site with ample phone or email support.

But what happens on the front end of any business depends heavily on what’s happening behind the scenes, and your clothing ERP can do a lot of heavy lifting where customer experience is concerned. Here are three common customer service pain points in apparel and footwear, and ways enterprise resource planning can help you overcome them.

1. Your customer base is growing internationally, and shipment and currency just got a lot more complicated. In the age of e-commerce and omnichannel, your customer base is no longer local, or even national. If someone overseas wants your product, can you fulfill their order, or will you give up on their business?

Your clothing ERP can make this easier on you. In addition to streamlining warehouse and inventory management to help you ship orders in a timely fashion, modern clothing ERP software can help you manage multiple currencies, shipping rates and tariff costs across nations. With e-commerce site integration and customer portals, your clothing ERP should enable your international customers to track their shipments, so they’re not left in the dark about whether their package will arrive on time.

2. Your customer wants a particular item, but in a size you don’t offer. If you’re still using spreadsheets and pen and paper to manage your garment sourcing, production and inventory, modifying a style is a complicated and labor-intensive process. Still, a customer who wants your product, but can’t purchase it due to size limitations, is a lost sale. Modern clothing ERP software allows you to add sizes and other details without having to create a new style, satisfying customer needs without adding undue complexity.

3. Your customers are ordering apparel ahead of season. Fashion is, in many ways, a time-traveling industry. Decades-old trends return cyclically, and spring and summer styles are determined in fall of the previous year. This sets up a unique problem for your clothing ERP: how to prioritize orders when retailers are both ordering this season’s styles and preordering for the upcoming seasons. Combine this with different retail budgets and payment styles (including the use of factoring), and you have a complex web of orders to be fulfilled — and customers to satisfy.

Look for a clothing ERP that enables order allocation. In the apparel and footwear industries, it’s crucial to prioritize your orders not by a first-come first-served basis, but by the speed with which the orders need to be fulfilled, the creditworthiness of the purchaser and the certainty of an order. Allocation allows you to keep tabs on both finished goods and works in process so that there are no snags in fulfillment.
By the time your customer orders apparel or footwear from one of your retailers, whether it’s a physical storefront or an e-tailer, your clothing ERP has already done the work of sourcing, costing and managing inventory for that item — and it has plenty of work to do after payment has been processed. In a lot of ways, your customer experience is only as good as your clothing ERP software’s capabilities.

ABS’ enterprise resource planning software is purpose-built for apparel and footwear businesses. We know the particularities of the sewn products industry, from the rapid movement of fast fashion to the wide variety of duties levied on different textiles. Our customer service modules enable you to offer more apparel sizes without setting up a new style, and our allocation functionality offers in-depth backlog order reports and the ability to prioritize orders. Contact ABS today to learn more.