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Technology has become evermore important in aiding the communication between retailers and suppliers in the fashion supply chain, following the outbreak of COVID-19, according to one expert.

Michelle Russell, apparel correspondent for GlobalData, said: “buyers are now having to rethink how they work with manufacturers on orders and product design.”

Russell said that UK clothing and homeware retailer Next had been looking at different scenarios to make up for the lack of face-to-face contact with its suppliers, including video conferencing.

Its teams would previously have travelled to overseas factories to look at samples and collaborate, but it is now asking for manufacturers to send over samples and use video-calling.

Russell said: “Companies are now having to find new ways of staying in touch that they maybe haven’t considered previously. So having the right technology in place to enable a company to keep communication flowing across its supply chain has now become imperative if they want to remain operational.

“Next says it will come out of the process with the ability to communicate with potentially more manufacturers than it was previously, and this may be the case for many retailers and brands. They will inevitably find more efficient and cost effective ways of working once this pandemic is over and normal business is resumed.”