The wholesale industry is getting an efficiency boost as websites, such as NuORDER, Modalyst, Brandboom, and JOOR, have created an ordering platform for retailers. These companies allow designers and brands to generate their linesheets by uploading pictures, product information, etc online, thus enabling retailers to place orders instantly.
Benefits include 24/7 access to existing stock lists, which show immediately available inventory, cutting down on delays in re-ordering (like back-and-forth communication between sales reps and buyers). This will particularly benefit boutiques who do much of their in-season reordering over the weekend. Merchandise which is not sold pre-season is often discounted, particularly for larger accounts. If discounts are listed upfront on this merchandise , this will also help level the playing field for smaller stores. Inventory visibility may also create a sense of urgency and competition for goods, increasing their turnover and possibly decreasing the need for discounting on the brands part at all.
Pre-season, this won't replace appointments and trade shows. Brands will still have to control their distribution and client-base, and retailers need to touch and feel product. However, these platforms do decrease the time retailers spend writing orders and reduce potential errors (by eliminating the need to transcribe information like style numbers and pricing).
The market is fragmented at this time - which can be frustrating for retailers looking for consistency in order format and synergy with in-house planning systems, but this certainly is a step in a more productive direction.