Pre-order, new marketing topic or real positive impact on the planet?

Sent on April 21, 2022, 1:02 pmUpdated April 21, 2022 at 1:03 pm

In the heart of the oldest barracks in Paris, no longer the shadow of a fireman, nor of a uniform. On the contrary, the occupants express their creativity through their clothes: colorful, cheeky or classic, but always responsible.

In the 10th arrondissement, the Barracks (with a capital “C”) opened their doors last year to welcome about forty young fashion brands on 4,000 square meters, worried about their way of producing. Heralds of anti-fast fashion, integrated in a hybrid place that combines restaurant, music club and entrepreneurial conferences.

One of their battle signals? The pre-order. Instead of producing and then selling, some of them do the opposite: they wait to get paid before they produce. A small revolution in an industry known for being ultra productive. In France, 2.6 billion pieces are placed on the market, or 9.5 kg of clothes, shoes and underwear per year per inhabitant, observes Ademe.

“I sell in pre-order to produce at the right volume and create a reflection on the purchase by the consumer”supports Katia Sanchez of the homonymous brand, who shows us the colorful mohair sweaters that she has been creating since 2019. “impulsive”. The one who, once in the closet, asks: “Do I really need it? “,” Will I finally wear it? “

Educate the consumer

On average, a person buys 60% more clothes than fifteen years ago and keeps them half the time, Ademe reports. Big brands therefore have little incentive to change their practices. Even unsold items (two-thirds) generally find buyers on destocking sites such as private sales.

“There are always solutions for brands that overstock, but all of this fuels the overconsumption machine with customers used to seeing sales, private selling and thinking about disposable fashion.denounces William Hauvette, the founder of the Asphalte brand. For me, the environmental issue is first of all buying less clothes. ”


This young Bordeaux brand born in 2016 offers a limited range of basic items for men and more recently for women. He sells his “perfect sweater” or “perfect t-shirt” in ethical materials several times a year for pre-order. This does not prevent Asphalte from boasting a turnover of 21 million euros in 2021, up 68% in one year, and 100,000 customers in France.

A corporate asset

No cash advances, no inventory costs, no unsold prices and therefore discounts on prices… In short, it is the customer who finances the growth of the company. ” Economic and environmental interests come together, because limiting the volume of orders can bring more profitability by limiting unsold products “summarized Barbara Pompili, Minister for Ecological Transition on the occasion of the publication of a report “Relocation and sustainable modalities”, at the beginning of 2021.

“It is also a good barometer of success”, believes Maéva Bessis, director of La Caserne. And to take for example the women’s costume brand Salut Beauté, hosted by the incubator: “Each product launch is in pre-order with the aim of having the founders validate (or not) the designed model. ” That is to say that 20% of DNVB (Digital Native Vertical Brand), these young brands born on the internet, use pre-order as the basis of their business model, explains the specialized company DNG to “Echos START”.

Crowdfunding extension

A technique that reminds you of crowdfunding? Bingo. Historically, platforms like Ulule or Kisskissbankbank allow young projects of all kinds (beauty, furniture, media, books, games, subscriptions, etc.) to finance their first production by their community, i.e. their first customers.


of DNVBs (brands born on the Internet) are launching a crowdfunding campaign according to DNG, a company specializing in DNVB

Even in high fashion the same principle prevails. After the shows, customers can pre-order their favorite model in their size. Same, “going to your little tailor around the corner who makes you tailor-made is also like pre-ordering”observes Julia Faure, founder of Loom, an eco-responsible Parisian brand, launched in 2016 thanks to pre-order.

Proximity to the customer

Over the past five years, it has been mainly young brands that have worn the model. They are called Patine, Réuni, Coltesse, Maison Cléo… They redefine the bond with their client and don’t hesitate to ask them to co-design the clothes.

“We feel part of the process and it is appreciable”, underlines Valentin Claudel. This 23-year-old student has made a dozen pre-order purchases in the last two years, for a total of around € 2,000. He also regularly answers questionnaires from his favorite brand Asphalte to express his opinion of him on future models.

For staunch buyers, it will take an average of three months to put on the new garment. This expectation, if it can curb consumerist madness, is also a logistical challenge. “Promising an appointment can jeopardize the production of clothes. Often there are delays due to unforeseen events, and if we stick to all costs on a specific date because the customer has already waited a long time, this is detrimental to the quality of the products “, says Julia Faure de Loom. And to emphasize the irreparable: “Imagine that the product is not available for Christmas? “

Consequence: brands save on storage and the possible absence of outlets, but spend on marketing, in animation of their community of enthusiasts… which it is therefore necessary to be able to keep in suspense.

This also means that zero stock does not exist. “We produce in excess of 2 to 3% of the business, especially due to possible changes in size. A customer who waits three months for his product so that in the end it doesn’t suit him experiences a real disappointment “explains William Hauvette of Asphalt. Others have found the show, like Forlife, a men’s brand that has a Parisian showroom, where customers can come and try on a prototype and then pre-order it.

Great brands inspired?

A proximity to the community that does not escape traditional fashion players such as La Redoute, in search of the trends and practices of young brands. A panel of 6,000 loyal customers helps the brand choose product design, options, etc. before pre-order.

“They then receive a customized product made according to a virtuous method”, explains Jean-Philippe Sloves, director of corporate communications and CSR. For example: this black bag in vegetable leather, sold for 129 euros in pre-order, a victim of its success, had to be made in four waves instead of the two planned, or 400 copies.

In its CSR approach, the company has been experimenting for some years with the on-demand production of about forty products per year. To help her, from 2019 she relies on the young shooting Tekyn, a turnkey textile production service, through a digital platform. Specifically, the brand divides its production from week to week, allowing it to adapt sizes, colors and models according to demand.

Cherry on the cake

The start-up accompanies other big brands such as Promod or IKKS. “This helps to preserve resources, raw materials, thanks to adequate production”believes Jean-Philippe Sloves, who does not hide, however, that the vertical of the pre-order at La Redoute remains “Very niche” for this brand with 12 million customers.

Others use the process to play on the exclusive and cutting edge side of owning certain products. British nugget Farfetch, a high-end marketplace, for example launched a pre-order system with ten major brands (Balenciaga, Valentino, Off-White, etc.) last year so that customers have access to pieces not yet available. on official websites.

But be careful, bringing all the fashion to pre-order seems like a sweet dream. It is difficult to create “ultra-trendy” pieces if you have to wait several months for the customer to receive them. In other words, the pre-order is the icing on the cake of a responsible reflection as a whole on what pollutes the most, such as the materials used during the production process, the durability of the products and the selected plants.

Leave a Comment