BRIEYA MOORBERG WRITES — The Covid 19 pandemic decreased the mobility of millions of people to shop in person. E-commerce websites have been increasing in popularity ever since, especially the Chinese online fashion store Shein. Founded by China’s Xu Yangtian in 2008, Shein has grown increasingly popular since the beginning of the pandemic, pulling in an estimated $10 billion dollar revenue in 2020 alone, according to Coresight Research.
The growing popularity of this e-commerce company is its ability to produce fast fashion trends in less than a week, adding nearly 3,000 new styles to its online platform weekly at prices that are affordable to all. Shein has adopted a new and efficient business plan, unlike other e-commerce companies, and it is more efficient in its production and revenue goals. According to founder Xu, the company’s success is linked to the close relationship it has with suppliers-achieved, namely, by paying them on time. This not only promotes consistency and efficiency, but ensures that manufacturers paid on time will be appreciative.
Unlike most western brands such as Zara, which outsources its products, and which can in turn take up to 5 weeks to produce, Shein’s business model eliminates the long wait time. How? For one thing, according to Bloomberg, Shein requires manufacturers to be no more than a five-hour drive from the sourcing hub in China, so that the turnaround for production is around 10 days maximum. This business model allows for current styles to be produced and ready for customer purchase remarkably quickly.
Shein’s production rate has made it the largest online fashion store in the world, surpassing Amazon in downloaded e-commerce apps this year. Although many consumers have questioned the ethics of how quickly the company is able to produce large quantities of clothes in various styles, there have been no official reports that the company engages in forced labor or child labor-even on a website that regularly evaluates human trafficking and slavery commonly associated with supply chains.
Shein, a billion-dollar company, may be redefining the global fast fashion world, knocking competitors out of business in terms of gross domestic product. And, as our world is becoming more and more technologically advanced, Shein’s online only store has proven itself way ahead of the game, by catering solely to online consumers and by producing the current trends in a matter of days.
The fastness of fast-made fashion may be important, but it’s not everything. Smart thinking and satisfying customers’ needs also matter.