Apparel retailers are under constant pressure of competition and adapting to changing trends and fashion. The best possible way to survive in such condition is to understand their customers and factors influencing them to buy a certain garment. Cracking the science of buying behavior of customers would help apparel retailers perform better and generate sales. This can now be achieved with the help of innovative retail tools and systems, for both brick and mortar stores and e-tailers, which can analyze the buying patterns of consumers.
Retailers have moved beyond doing surveys in analyzing the buying behavior of consumers. Surveillance through cameras is a must in most apparel stores. But these cameras can now track shopping actions of a consumer and their buyology. The software that works along with the cameras is used to map a retail store's traffic patterns by digitally analyzing the video. The information made available from traffic data shows areas in which the frequency of shoppers was more, and those areas in a store where it was less or had no traffic at all. The software also generates charts and graphs by keeping a trail of the frequently visited space in a store, and also helps calculate how much time is taken by shoppers before they take the final call to buy a garment.
The video tracking software helps retailers to identify the best areas in stores for displaying garments, which in turn is beneficial in designing the layout and shelves of the store. However, the software does not monitor the shopping patterns of individual customers. Motion sensors also facilitate similar tracking by differentiating parts of the store that attract the most traffic and spaces that don't.
Other video tracking software for apparel retail, assist in getting the data regarding age, gender, moods, and emotions of the shoppers. Similarly, there are software available that can be integrated with Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips which help in determining how often a certain product is picked.
Retailers are using technology that can track the movement of consumers as soon as they enter the mall. This system coordinates with cell phone signals of shoppers and maps their journey and the time spent in a store without breaching their privacy and detecting any personal data. Using this tracking tool, many retailers have identified the right placement of stores in a mall; and by the first few digits of the mobile number, store owners can also track the country code of the visitors. Thus, this system tracks consumers individually in a building.
Analyzing consumer behavior is comparatively easier for apparel e-tailers. E-tailers track consumer purchasing patterns by cookies, integration of social networking accounts, and search histories. Cookies, a piece of text stored on the user's computer while browsing the web, are the major source for retrieving all consumers related buying information. Cookies can be used to store site preferences and shopping cart contents which can help e-tailers predict the kind of garments customers enjoy. The feature of creating a user account by getting registered is also a way of knowing likes and dislikes, professions, hobbies, and other consumer insights that can be useful to retailers online.
Online apparel retailers determine consumer buying patterns by allowing consumers to create a mini-boutique and select their favourite brands, colors, and styles to see which products have the potential to produce more sales and forecast trends for future. The like, share, and wish list features also help e-tailers in keeping inventories and predicting which garments are popular and which are not. Moreover, many e-tailers now provide the option of commenting and discussing a product with other users through forums and bulletins; this can help in gaining deeper insights in buying behavior and factors influencing it.
E-tailers make changes in their sites and its layout to see how consumers respond to it. Customer reaction to pop-up advertisements and related searches give a direct understanding of tastes, preferences, and styles that an individual prefers while shopping online. By tracking this, e-tailers personalize, send e-mailers about sale and discounts, and send specific product details depending on the consumer specific patterns.
With the help of all these tools and data tracking systems, retailers can analyze purchase patterns of individuals or groups and factors encouraging online or in-store buying, help in designing a store or a website for better display, determine how individuals navigate the website or move in-store, and identify potential buyers of certain products to be targeted in the near future.
Understanding consumer behavior leads to higher customer satisfaction and increases productivity as a result. It is estimated that 90% of extremely satisfied customers recommend e-tailers to others, and 80% online shoppers would return to store sites within 2 months. To withstand the ever increasing competition in apparel retail, the whimsical trends in fashion, and changing consumer preferences, a sound awareness of the consumer purchasing behavior will help by not only pushing the sales but also by delivering to customers exactly what they want.