GS1 UK, the supply chain standards organisation, has announced an increase of 89% in membership in the apparel, accessories and footwear market, demonstrating the increasing importance of GS1 standards in this sector, and the benefits they bring to apparel retailers and brands.
1,896 new members joined in the past year, taking the total number of GS1 UK members in the apparel market to 4,025. This now includes almost every recognised retailer and brand on the UK high street, and online too.
This increase in apparel members demonstrates that the industry recognises the power of GS1 standards in the complete end-to-end supply chain, and how they drive efficiencies and remove operating costs. The key driver for this substantial growth is the requirement for apparel companies to expand their distribution, either overseas or by partnering with the major UK retailers. As a result, GS1 standards have become a basic requirement of trade due to this increase in the number of trading partners.
But this growth is not only being driven by the large retailers and brands. Smaller companies and start-ups are now also benefiting from GS1 standards, as demonstrated by Taylor Blake, a new British shoe brand which was launched in 2015 and has now grown really quickly through their own website sales and Amazon.
Tracey Taylor, Director at Taylor Blake, said: "We've joined GS1 UK as we're taking our next steps into retail – online and offline – and we wanted to be prepared for this. We felt confident to join GS1 UK because of their heritage and legitimacy. We've allocated our first set of GS1 numbers to our products and we're now live with them through Amazon too."
GS1 standards also provide the foundation for newer technologies that are being adopting, often to meet the challenges of omnichannel retailing. These include RFID, to provide real-time stock information and automated stock management processes, and EDI, to improve speed to market by creating a paperless supply chain.
Jacky Broomhead, Market Development Manager, Apparel at GS1 UK, said: "This dramatic growth in our apparel membership demonstrates that apparel retailers and brands now consider GS1 standards to be an essential requirement to their operations. As the number of channels and fulfilment options increase, how retailers move a product through the supply chain is becoming as vital to their success as the product range itself. Through the adoption of GS1 standards apparel retailers are able to efficiently trade with external partners and reduce the time and cost of getting a product to market."