Challenges faced by Omni-Channel Brick and Mortar Apparel Retailers

Almost every company wants to grow, but in the specialty apparel market, it’s going to be interesting to see who grows and who declines in the next few years. A large range of difficulties– from fickle fashion trends to extremely seasonal buying– has always made this category tough.

Brick & mortar sellers have actually been catapulted into a multi-channel shopping cycle due to altering customer habits and advanced technology. But there are few even larger obstacles on the horizon that will make or break lots of specialty apparel retailers.

Engaging via Mobile

Clients are using mobile to drive buying choices, where to shop, what’s close-by and make the purchase itself. The brick & mortar store needs to have a mobile presence not simply to capture sales but to actively lead customers in-store. Nearly 50 % of mobile searches have local intent and mobile now comprises 12 % of all eCommerce sales.

Online purchases made up 18 percent of all apparel sales in 2012, according to Euromonitor International. More of those customers are shopping on their mobile phones and tablets than laptop computers or desktops, so specialty retailers need to develop responsive site designs to optimize the customer experience. The most forward believing merchants have begun explore in-store smart phone targeting to gather customer data and deliver targeted offers for an omnichannel experience.

Customer care, Clienteling and Checkout

New use cases have actually developed e.g.

  • Capturing customer data in-store to retarget online
  • Accessing the online profile of a client when they are in-store to see their saved items, purchase history
  • eReceipts that link the offline experience back online.

To make the most of any of these chances to go beyond in customer support online to offline and vice versa, all need sophisticated procedures, operations and technology investments e.g. iPads for sales assistants, advanced email marketing.

Inventory Management

Keeping inventory levels accurate when offering both in-store and online is a great deal of manual labor, or difficult for some. Numerous merchants find the challenge too difficult so they choose to sell different drop-ship inventory online than what remains in store. This basically is a different business operating with the same brand and in fact can be harmful as reverse showrooming becomnes a growing trend (looking for inventory online and after that completing the purchase in-store, presently over 70 % of sales).

The best method to tackle this is to ensure your eCommerce site is incorporated with your in-store POS facilities, therefore when products offer online, the website can auto adjust and you have a combined precise view of in-store and online inventory at all times.

Digital Assets Upkeep & Expertise

Online-only sellers invest 100 % of their time on their digital possessions website, mobile experience and so on. In contrast brick & mortar merchants invest 1/10 of their budget plans online and typically pay less than 5 % of time to it daily. Yet they are anticipated to have simply as stunning and pertinent modern experiences at all times. For this, brick & mortar retailers have to stop thinking about their digital assets as one-off projects – hiring a dev team every one or 2 years – but have a tech partner month to month supporting business, or even better in-house talent.

Reverse Showrooming

When consumers go on the internet to research items, however then go to a brick-and-mortar store to complete their purchase. The lines between online and offline retail are blurring faster than ever. Forrester predicts that by 2017, 60% of all retail deals in the United States will include the Internet in some way.

Brick & mortar stores have an advantage, but need their inventory indexed online, and should take advantage of tools like structured product data by Google.


A practice whereby customers walk into a store to take a look at product but take advantage of their smartphone to see if the item is available less expensive elsewhere before acquiring. More typical in electronic devices and associated sellers, nevertheless even apparel merchants must beware.

Some big box sellers have reacted by supporting the trend, offering in-store wifi to actively motivate consumers to search as well as see more product choices from their brand then provide a prompt offer to seal the purchase. Sales representatives can play a big part in providing competence and cross sell encouraging the impulse, instantaneous gratification in-store purchase.

Appealing to a radically shifting customer base

While women’s apparel has actually always controlled sellers’ merchandise offer, guys’s apparel is growing in strategic value. A number of factors have been cited as affecting the growth of the males’s apparel sector, consisting of increasing employment rates and a greater concentrate on dressing well.

Plus-size apparel is also expected to gain greater significance in the years to coming. U.S. population obesity rates combined with the recognition that plus-size people can not discover fashionable clothes will drive need and supply.

And perhaps the greatest customer market shift: Aging baby boomers are being changed by millennials as the biggest U.S. consumer group, and specialized sellers have to figure out the best ways to cater to millennials’ sartorial design.

Taking Big Data advantage

The amount of customer data available to sellers is growing rapidly. Historically, merchants count on customer studies and fundamental inventory management systems to understand customer demographics and preferences.

Now big data and predictive analytics make it possible for retailers to enhance almost every element of business, from supply chain to merchandising to marketing. Sellers that become adept at rigorous data analytics and omnichannel engagement will have a distinct competitive advantage.

Sticking out from the competition

The specialty apparel market is extremely fragmented and competitive, with no single retailer recording more than a couple of percent of the marketplace. This gives purchasers a wealth of options and makes it tough for any one retailer to stick out.

Product differentiation in this highly competitive environment is challenging, so specialty merchants count on brand equity to build commitment and drive greater rates. The concern is ways to build a strong brand. Specialty apparel merchants concentrate on trendiness, variety, pricing, quality, and the customer experience to develop and enhance their brand equity.

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