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How Emiza’s Smart Warehousing Approach Is Transforming Logistics For Fashion Brands


Inventory management is a major challenge in fashion due to seasonal surges and subsequent space requirements

Emiza’s founder, Ajay Rao, says that fashion brands should choose warehouses with state-of-the-art storage and serialised inventory system

Emiza has onboarded fashion brands like The Souled Store, Almo, Clovia and Snitch, runs strategic fulfilment centres across India and helps deliver 100K+ shipments every day

Ever heard of a fashion emergency? Think of a fashionista who has just clicked the ‘buy’ button to pick up an eye-popping resort wear from a famous brand. But there is a nagging doubt in her mind. Will the precious cargo arrive before her long-awaited overseas vacation starts?

According to Inc42, the online fashion and apparel industry is estimated to grow from $20 Bn+ in 2022 to $112 Bn+ by 2030. The fashion landscape at home has undergone a paradigm shift, rapidly becoming a global force embellished with international tie-ups and corporate funding. 

Yet, few online/omnichannel fashion retailers or direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands take the FedEx route for prompt deliveries. Many of these garments arrive in a sorry shape, full of creases and wrinkles.

The narrative is changing, though, and fashion wear is getting the white-glove delivery service it has long deserved. On any given day, trucks and vans line up for loading and unloading before the strategic fulfilment centres, run by the 3PL (third-party logistics) startup Emiza in 14 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Indore, Patna, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Gurugram among others. 

Its facilities are always buzzing with activity as 100K+ packages are delivered every day. During seasonal or clearance sales, the volume can quickly swell five times, Emiza’s founder and CEO, Ajay Rao, tells Inc42.

Storing fashion efficiently, including sorting, packing and shipping, is not the forte of many logistics players. However, Emiza (derived from Sanskrit, which means empower) has been doing it since 2015, when Rao and Jitendra Kumar set up operations, with Mumbai as its headquarters. It runs as many as 23 fulfilment centres and all its facilities house towering, multi-tier shelves for storing hundreds of thousands of garments categorised by type, size and colour. Once an order request comes in, the item is packed and kept ready for a delivery partner to pick up.

This may sound deceptively simple for the uninitiated, but every ecommerce brand acknowledges the intricacies of making deliveries happen within the stipulated time frame. It is a complex manoeuvre mastered well by 3PL players like Emiza, which use smart warehousing solutions for operational efficiency (more on that later).

Rao says the 3PL platform has partnered with major logistics companies like Vamaship and Blue Dart and currently covers 26K pin codes. Emiza has onboarded more than 20 fashion brands, including prominent names like The Souled Store, Snitch, The Bear House, Rustorange, Almo and RIL-owned Clovia, among others. 

How Emiza Uses Smart Warehousing To Optimise Inventory & Shipping

In the age of Amazon Prime, fast and efficient delivery is no longer a luxury for fashion brands but a table stake for survival. Strategic warehousing is one way for them to meet these high expectations. By placing inventory closer to customers, brands can shave hours or days off the delivery time. 

Leveraging Emiza’s vast network of fulfilment centres, e-retailers can choose most suitable courier partners for rapid dispatch and delivery. The 3PL startup also enables real-time order-tracking and customises tracking interfaces for partner brands with logos and corporate colours. 

But navigating the complexities of fashion logistics requires more than inventory proximity. According to Rao, the real game-changer is smart warehousing, which results in efficient inventory management, thus reducing time, cutting costs and minimising human errors.

The startup uses a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) to streamline daily operations across all its fulfilment centres and provides ERP solutions to simplify invoicing and tax compliances.

Consider this. In conventional, resource-intensive warehouses, employees go around with lists to pick up and transport ordered items to shipping docks. At times, inventories are also logged manually, giving rise to errors in stock-keeping. As a result, a company may suddenly find that it has run out of popular products customers have ordered online. 

This is precisely why having the right tools and technologies in place is so crucial for logistics operations, says Rao.

For starters, Emiza’s fulfilment centres are temperature- and humidity-controlled and adequately scalable garment-hanging systems required to store delicate fabrics. Besides, its WMS monitors and optimises the movement of goods, from storage to packing and shipping. Emiza also uses a serialised inventory management system, enabling brands to track SKUs through unique serial numbers assigned after the products arrive at a given facility.

“Managing thousands of SKUs of various styles and sizes is paramount in the fashion world. To ensure perfect inventory tracking and follow FIFO (first in, first out), we label each SKU with a unique barcode (serial number),” explained Rao.

Rao shared how Emiza’s smart WMS reduced the average delivery time of a major D2C fashion brand by 50%, from four days to two days. The tech helped track where and how the delays were happening, and subsequently, the brand reduced its order to dispatch time from 24 hours to 12 hours.

From Seasonal Surges To Returns: How Emiza Fights Fashion’s Non-Glam Battles

Whether Diwali or Holi, Christmas or New Year’s Day, summer, fall or winter, every fashion brand bemoans its fate when shipments pile up. 

Rao explained, “The space requirement for a brand undergoes a dramatic shift with changing seasons. For instance, winter wear demands three times the storage space compared to summer clothes.” 

However, Emiza’s fulfilment centres are adept at handling the product rush, leveraging state-of-the-art multi-tier shelving systems tailored for diverse storage requirements. In addition, its WMS helps brands track and manage inventories in real time across channels, including marketplaces, websites and brick-and-mortar stores. This allows brands to maintain accurate inventories, optimise store replenishments and prevent overstocking. 

“We provide brands with data insights into fast- and slow-moving inventories to avoid overstocking and stockouts, especially during peak season sales,” added Rao. 

Despite the business boom, what plagues fashion brands most is the inevitable bane of ecommerce – the return to origin or RTO. Data from a 2023 Statista survey shows 48% of Indian respondents regarded clothing as the most frequently returned online purchase, followed by bags and accessories (36%) and shoes (33%). 

Product returns will affect a brand’s unit economics, but these cannot be eliminated. They can only be reduced though, with a robust exchange policy instead of an outright refund.

Logistics partners like Emiza extend a helping hand to fashion retailers when products return to their warehouses. Products are refurbished, packaged and stored for reselling when they return in near-pristine conditions. At other times, they must be washed, ironed or worked upon for stain removal or may require more extensive repairing, thus minimising the losses associated with returns.   

In addition, Emiza conducts a rigorous quality check of the returned item upon its arrival at its facility and scans it with a barcode scanner so that the parent brand can quickly identify the product via the WMS. This helps speed up the processing time for sorting, inspection and making informed decisions.

Can 3PLs Successfully Cater To The Fashion Crowd?  

In a world ruled by fast and furious delivery services, not just food or groceries will reach us in minutes. Overnight/same-day fashion delivery may soon become the norm to meet pressing deadlines across the industry.

If the transportation of everyday fashion shipments turns out to be that disruptive, it will bring good cheer for the likes of Emiza. Incidentally, the 3PL startup caters not only to online fashion brands but also to a diverse range of enterprises such as Cadbury, Cello and Mamaearth, further reflecting its versatility.

Industry experts believe that the growing online consumer base in the country, especially from Tier II, III and beyond, will propel the ecommerce market to unprecedented heights. In fact, during Amazon’s festive season sale in November 2023, the ecommerce major said that 80% of its new customers came from Tier II cities and beyond.
This amply proves that ‘Bharat’ shoppers, just like their urban counterparts, are now willing to embrace ecommerce. They also expect fast delivery, which has given rise to the concept of micro-fulfilment. 

As Bharat emerges as a formidable consumer force, it is inevitable for all fashion brands to expand their presence beyond metropolitan areas and explore more comprehensive micro-fulfilment strategies. This is precisely where players like Emiza and Pickrr come into play. These entities have proactively adapted to evolving market trends, extending their reach to regions beyond the metros.

For Emiza, the next phase of growth hinges on Bharat, and the startup is well-prepared for it. Already established in Tier II cities, Emiza is now poised to invest in and enhance its infrastructure, alongside adopting cutting-edge technology to minimise delivery costs and facilitate prompt deliveries.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.

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