Here are 8 startups from this year's from PI Apparel, an event designed to explore the challenges and technologies disrupting the fashion, apparel and footwear industries.
The ever-evolving fashion industry is known for an overwhelming amount of dizzying standards, specific regulations and fickle customer tastes. To become successful, a garment company must be adaptable, flexible and able to keep things in focus. The right technology tools make this possible.
Apparel industry software can help with everything from the design, sourcing, and manufacture, to inventory tracking, retail sales and analyzing customer feedback for new insights. The number of solutions in this niche is enormous and growing with some of them combining different functions while others are very specific. However, if you consider your needs and goals, this guide may come in very handy.
Is apparel software just a clothing inventory?
Apparel apps can be used to accomplish a great variety of tasks. Some can help in creating exotic designs while others may deal with billing and licensing; some provide features of clothing inventory management and collection planning, others care for order fulfillment and CRM. Besides, those trying to combine everything are also available.
After outgrowing manual solutions like Google Sheets, most fashion businesses choose ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) according to their size. It is an integrated application that has all the information about business processes under one roof. Production management, inventory control, and financial tools - all included.
How to choose the apparel software?
Choosing the right software tools for your apparel business can be one of the most critical decisions to make. Here are some criteria that can influence the decision-making process.
The business model
- OEM. If you are an original equipment manufacturer, look for the solution that can assist with inventory management, forecasting, and planning as well as make-to-stock workflow management.
- Apparel buying house. Intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers may require tools with an emphasis on CRM.
- Fashion retailer. Need a software focused on inventory management that supports a complex item/size/color matrix. Order tracking features, POSs integration, and omnichannel support are also a must.
The company size. Usually, the smaller the company, the fewer the functions required. However, most applications consist of individual modules that can be added or removed individually.
The software company. Does it offer customized solutions, staff education and a high level of post-sale support?
List of apparel solutions to consider
Here, we gathered 30 solutions you should consider if you are in the fashion industry.
Industry specific tools
AIMS360 Fashion ERP is created to support the complex ecosystem of the fashion industry in a single platform. It is a comprehensive, fully-integrated cloud-based apparel manufacturing software, as well as order and production processing platform for vertical brands, importers, wholesalers, and distributors. AIMS360 leverages the latest versions of Microsoft SQL and .NET platforms to help to collect and organize customer data, track inventory, manage orders and shipping, and more.
The main features also include complete apparel inventory management, style management, customer and order management, high-level dashboards, multiple windows, enterprise-class business intelligence, and reporting. Besides, AIMS360 supports dropshipping and allows you to move products directly to your customers via any major retailer.
Price: quote based
ApparelMagic is a clothing management software, built to serve the fashion niche. It’s an integrated solution that helps to manage styles, sales, customers, accounting, inventory, and purchases in one place. Style management enables to keep a detailed library of your products’ colors and sizes with precise tracking of costs. Cloud architecture, open API, and a scalable SQL database make it suitable for both top multinational brands and niche labels. Installation isn’t required; ApparelMagic cloud is entirely web-based and can be used with any device and anywhere. Technical support and training are also free.
Price: $80 - $350/month, paid annually
ShareCloth Editor aims to digitize your style for faster product development. 3D sampling solution helps to build digital garment sample from the patterns file. Despite competitors, the Editor is freeware and connected to the cloud eco-system, helps designers and pattern makers to share results to the clients or team and provide remote but precise virtual fitting online.
Key features: fast 3D sampling, one-click sharing, virtual fitting \w client
A2000 software is an Oracle-based ERP system oriented to serve the needs of the sewn-goods industry. It is adapted for designers, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers and everyone in between. The system is fully integrated and includes portals for vendors, PLM processing, advanced warehouse management capabilities, order processing, financial reporting, inventory management, and modules for catalogs and telemarketing. The solution also offers e-commerce features and a pre-built library of maps and labels for EDI-transactions. In addition, A2000 offers supply chain management, task calendars, and material requirements management.
A2000 can either be installed on a local server on a developer's cloud. Also, all the critical data of your enterprise is available in one place in real time.
Price: quote based
Fast React is an industry-specific software for the fashion business. The product contains three different solutions: Vision, an extended browser-based PLM solution; Evolve, a tool for a visual capacity planning and management: and Align, built as a modeling software solution to improve inventory levels and order confirmation process. All three enables you to coordinate operations in different stages and control them from a single administrative console. Modules of Fast React also offer tools for new product development, budgeting, forecasting, critical path, and user-defined reporting.
Price: quote based
BlueCherry is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) developed for lifestyle brands and fashion apparel companies. It provides end-to-end solutions that assist with planning, design and product development, sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, and sales functions. Users can track each order through the factory, identify bottlenecks and address quality issues. BlueCherry offers on-premise and cloud-based deployments and is suitable for large and midsize garment manufacturers.
The lineament of this solution is a flexible modular approach: there are separate parts of the software for omnichannel planning, product lifecycle management (PLM), shop floor control, logistics, e-commerce, finance, and electronic data interchange, and much more.
Price: per module plus user license fees.
IntelloCut is a planning optimization tool designed to help apparel and textile businesses save fabric in roll form in order to boost topline. It takes the style details uploaded in a cloud and generates a cutplan to minimize wastage, maximize fabric utilization and cut more garments with the same fabric. The program also tracks manufacture compliance to ensure the best quality of materials.
Price: quote based
Sync is a cloud-based integrated tool, created specifically for the fashion industry. It combines features of product lifecycle management (PLM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The solution can incorporate up to 22 different modules that enable you to manage everything from style costing and materials sourcing to inventory and product orders. Production planning, eCommerce, quality assurance and critical path modules also come along.
Key features: separate modules that can be customized to feet the needs. Integration with financial software, robust business intelligence tools, including more than 80 industry-specific standard reports.
Price: quote based
YuniquePLM is a product lifecycle management tool for apparel and retail businesses, which is also used in packaging, furniture, aerospace, technical textiles, and other industries. It is developed to help companies to manage both creative teams and supply chains effectively and deliver the products on time and at the right costs. The platform is cloud-based and has integrated design tools. Its main distinctive feature is the pre-positioning phase that allows accurate preliminary costing. Moreover, YuniquePLM has design suite, product development, sourcing, tracking, and reports modules.
Price: quote based
i.Level is a modular system built for clothing and fashion management. It offers a wide range of solutions that helps to maintain broad control over stocks from production to delivery items to stores, vendors, and customers. i.Level also helps to manage multiple sales channels with a unified stock control management tool as well as build a tailor-made web-shop.
The main features include stock control, wholesale, custom integrations, B2B wholesale web store, EPOS system, mobile, and barcode scanning. Moreover, i.LEVEL has a robust concession software. Instead of manually exchanging files emails, the dedicated module automatically updates both parties’ systems with every new data.
Not industry specific
NetSuite is the world’s most deployed cloud ERP solution, used by more than 40,000 organizations across 160+ countries. The Manufacturing Edition is a cloud-based solution that can be used by apparel brands to manage production orders, ensure base inventory level restocking, and ensure the success and quality of special requests. The business dashboard can be customizable to provide real-time reporting and analytics.
Among its key features are integrated inventory, warehouse management, accounting, and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and e-commerce platform. The system can also integrate shipping processes with mainstream carriers, such as FedEx.
This cloud-based and on-premise ERP is used by over 7,500 customers in over 40 countries and multiple industries, including apparel manufacturers and retailers. It is scalable, flexible and easy to tailor, but best suited for midsize to large businesses. The solution includes tools to manage finance, manufacturing, logistics, human resources, time and attendance, business intelligence, project and customer relationship management, as well as executive reports that allow senior management to extract and analyze high-level data in various views. It also supports multiple languages and currencies.
Infor Fashion is one of the products of a global ERP provider serving 70,000 customers across different industries. It provides for end-to-end resources management operations specifically based on fashion industry requirements. The cloud-based PML system is individually configurable and encompasses the entire fashion process chain ranging from design, materials sourcing, and product distribution, to manufacturing, private brand wholesale and retailing. The solution also features smart demand planning, supply chain visibility, and network order management
WFX PLM is a solution for fashion, garment and clothing industries that uses a holistic approach. The platform bridges the gap between international business hubs and departments like design, merchandising, planning, production, and sourcing. All the information is gathered in one place. With real-time sharing, WFX maintains effective communication and collaboration of everyone, especially vendors and internal teams. All the basics are covered: from sourcing and product development to production and approvals. It also features catalog management, collection planning, design collaboration, style info at a click, collaborative time and action calendars, and integration with WFX Financial Accounting.
Price: quote based
Acumatica offers a compound suite of modern business applications tailored to the needs of various industries, including fashion and apparel. This cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has self-service reporting, document management and approval workflows. Users can analyze trends and generate reports in real time as well as customize the dashboards and workspaces. Main features include business intelligence and reporting tools, distribution management for real-time visibility of inventory, project Accounting and commerce module. However, there are over 100 extensions to Acumatica, offered by the worldwide network of independent software vendors (ISVs).
Price: quote based
Fishbowl is a business automation and inventory management system for small to midsize companies, which also suits apparel manufacturers and warehouses. The system is inventory-centric and allows to create work orders and bill of materials as well as monitor order fulfillment and supply chains. It also has integration with QuickBooks, features production stages management and material requirements planning (MRP), and allows for customized reporting. Besides, the system automates the quoting, ordering and purchasing processes.
Apparel software for small business
Accellar is a technology built for small and medium-sized apparel manufacturers and exporters. It is an ERP platform focused on cost-effectiveness and known for quick and easy implementation. Accellar automates supply chain, merchandising, streamline manufacturing and simplify inventory management and cost accounting. The software increases the agility and scalability of garment businesses by eliminating manual processes in generating reports and empowering employees on their workflows. It also minimizes record redundancy. You only need to perform a single entry to deliver accurate data to all the modules in a timely manner.
Accellar comprehends and modernizes all the critical functions for businesses that deal with the manufacturing and distributing apparels. Some of its features include order management, style creation, track production status, BOM creation, quality inspection, system control when ordering, and much more.
Zedonk is an online solution to simplify fashion industry workflows. It is best suited for small and medium-sized companies looking for an intuitive yet affordable tool. It can help to handle order management, planning, and spotting mistakes. Zednok’s features also include production, stock inventory, purchase orders, style management, and relations management with customers and suppliers. The developer provides technical support and back-up to guide you through any issues, which is especially important for smaller companies that can not hire a specialist to do so.
According to its website, Apparel Connect ERP is a “complete garment manufacturing system.” It is explicitly developed for apparel brands and buying houses to help them manage the entire enterprise from yarn processing to line balancing. Besides, this fully customizable solution is tailored to make-to-order manufacturers.
Key features: collaboration tools, multi-dimensional costing, and quotation capabilities, sourcing and product development modules, marking and cut processing, order management, demand-based bill-of-materials processing, inventory control, BI reporting, CMT & outsourcing operations, and much more.
Price: from $175.00/month/user
Poly PM is a combined ERP and PLM solution designed specifically for the small to midsize apparel industry. The platform ranges in value from style development, through product manufacture to buyer distribution. PolyPM is web-enabled, installed on the client server and built on top of the Microsoft SQL database with the aim to improve communications and control. It can also be scaled to accommodate a few to hundreds of users while retaining data integrity. This software can help with cut planning, fabric inspection, CMT production, two-dimensional size ranging, complete order tracking, integrated Crystal reports.
Pricing: quote based
Indigo8 is a solution for fast-growing brands. It is a scalable platform built on flexible cloud architecture, accessible across different operating systems and variable screen sizes. Indigo8 automates the daily operations of modern fashion and retail labels including sales, inventory, manufacturing, websites, and retail stores. You can simply press the auto-pilot button on some of your tasks, and save time and energy for critical responsibilities.
Besides its inventory capabilities, the software also has an omnichannel solution for pushing products and synchronizing inventory levels across various platforms. Indigo8 creates a cohesive ecosystem by integrating with third-party solutions for accounting, e-commerce, warehousing, and retailing applications.
Price: from $129 per month
Timereaction promises to eliminate the costly errors of multiple workflows and miscommunication. The cloud-based project management and collaboration tool allow a team to keep all the discussions and document in one place. It is best suited for small to medium-sized businesses not only in fashion but in retail and manufacture in general. The app’s feature is real-time communication of all members of a business process. It also offers integrated instant messaging and document management, scheduling system, project portfolio management, role-based access control, and social communication tools.
Price: from $10.00/month/user.
For Retail Business
FDM4 is a fully-integrated ERP solution that caters for the distribution and catalog industries, including garment manufacturers. To serve fashion users, it has a comprehensive processes matrix based on fashion-required operations. DDM4 helps to handle tasks from sourcing to inventory, customer orders, sales fulfillment, billing, and financial reporting. On top of that, the key features include logistics and warehousing management, forecasting and replenishment, returns and claims, sales force automation, accounting, and credit card processing.
Pricing: quote based
Openbravo Commerce Suite
Openbravo is a multichannel retail business solution with highly flexible and extendable modular, mobile-enabled and cloud-based platform. It has complete back-office functionality for the store and the retail head office, including built-in analytics, inventory management, catalog management, order management, purchasing, invoicing and billing among others.
The software helps you keep a real-time and accurate inventory across to the whole supply chain, utilize omnichannel solutions for e-commerce, optimize customer service and simplify multiple brick-and-mortar store locations in a single platform. It can be adopted as a store solution with mobile POS or as an all-in-one retail ERP.
Powersoft365 ModaPro is a specific fashion edition of Powersoft POS/Stock Control business app. This cloud-based mobile-friendly software is praised for a simple setup process, full visibility, and seamless access to every aspect of business operations. The key features include intelligent reporting, style library and management, product inventory and control, built-in CRM, supplier management, invoicing, and cost analysis. ModaPro is used by fashion franchises, fashion chain stores, boutiques, department stores, and clothing stores.
Pricing: 39-64 EUR/month
Cin7 is a web-based automated inventory management platform. The software automates order processes for greater efficiency for omnichannel retailers and wholesalers. It synchronizes company’s stock with sales and orders across every physical and online sales channel. Cin7 integrates cloud inventory, B2B e-commerce, Point of Sale, warehouse management, and direct EDI, into one robust platform. Besides, it features seamless integrations for Shopify, Amazon, eBay and many more. Apparel brands can use Cin7 to keep costs down, margins and cash flow high, and stock at the right level.
Price: from $249.00/month
It is an apparel management software with robust sales and marketing features. It is aimed at companies that provide screen printing, embroidery, decorated apparel, and promotional products. The solution is easy to use due to its intuitive interface and various user views, which allow your staff to work only with selected relevant tools.
ShopWorks OnSite is equipped with all the standard features that include sales and marketing, order processing, purchasing and inventory, production scheduling and tracking, shipping management, finance, and accounting. Meanwhile, the array of industry-specific features include a comprehensive set of design and artwork management, size matrix, price calculators, and integration with other industry solutions.
Price: from $60.00 per user per month
3D visualization is especially useful for the apparel industry. It’s a great method to get a view of the products, to see how it fits, how the silhouette is. These solutions will help you to communicate more efficiently with designers or manufacturers.
CLO is an easy to use design software created for the fashion industry. With its intuitive interface and video tutorials, you can make your 3D samples look real. The app allows numbers of iterations and automatically generating colors and textures on the added parts. No need to review and remake a physical sample many times before production.
Price: from $5400/year for small business
MarvelousDesigner helps to create 3D any virtual clothing from basic T-shirts to detailed dresses and sophisticated suits. You can work on the texture of the clothes as well as on the details and accessories. Besides, MarvelousDesigner is compatible with other 3D software.
Price: from $50/monthly
Browzwear offers several different modules. VStitcher is a solution to convert 2D patterns into 3D models and prototypes. Developers, technical designers and pattern makers will make the best use of it. Another one, Lotta, gives designers total freedom. It allows synchronizing 2D drawings and patterns from Adobe tools to visualize your products in any trim or color. Browzwear also has a tool for creating a tech pack and fabric analyzer.
Price: quote based
The software solution that you implement can improve overall operations and efficiencies, free up people and resources, and enable your fashion label to grow. Industry-specific tools can help to manage every aspect of your business, from core accounting to size, color matrix, and pattern management of each clothing piece. However, while some systems would suit most companies, others serve only the specialized needs of niche segments. Thus, understanding those needs as well as your place in the massive apparel industry is crucial to choose the right solution.