The clothing retail is one of the most competitive businesses in the textile industry. Apparel retailers need to constantly keep re-inventing the stores and use newer ways to reach their target market. The dot com bubble has made it even more challenging for brick and mortar stores to keep up with the pace. Besides attractive offers, discounts, and sales apparel retailers are adopting new and innovative ways to keep customers lured.


Apparel retailers are using out of the box ideas to make the experience of shopping more enjoyable for their customers. The "buy one get one free" is a pass and retailers today by providing seamless and queue-less payment services, quiet and relaxed ambience, and by gamifying the shopping experiences are using interesting concepts to create a unique selling environment.


While for most women shopping is a therapy, men, on the other hand take it to be a chore. Keeping this in mind, a denim clothing store added Quick Response (QR) codes to their jeans, so that customers could scan the code to get their desired size delivered in a trial room, just ready for them to change. This facility was introduced to improve the shopping experience for men.


A Brazilian fashion retailer integrates social networking within their physical store. The retailer displays articles in a hanger with an embedded device showing the number of likes the garment has received by their social networking page. Approvals from fans and followers of the online community can improve the sales was the aim behind it this retail idea.


Another example of amalgamation of both online and in-store apparel retail is of online only brands like Etsy and Piperlime opening physical stores. These e-tailers believe that most of the time consumers want to touch, feel, and try their merchandise on. So many e-tailers have opened small stores wherein buyers can get a prior appointment to try clothes and later with e-commerce let their customers fulfill their order. By doing this, e-tailers are smartly saving on space, money, and manpower required in running large stores.


Finding the right size in a particular style requires assistance of a store keeper most of the times. But with the help of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) stock tracking technology in tags stitched onto garments which monitor items right from production to the point of sale when a person walks out with the product.

 

With customers getting net savvy and the amount of options available online, the e-commerce apparel retailers are on a rise. According to Forrester's recent State of Online retailing report, a growth of 28 percent year over year will be witnessed in 2012. To stay ahead apparel retailers online will require coming up with new online retail formulas that will keep customers attracted. The following are some trends apparel retail will observe for the year 2013:


Personalization In order to know their consumers better, brands are equipping them with better solutions and are willing to provide a different shopping experience every single time. The ever demanding and technologically advanced consumers want customized merchandise. Both these factors are pushing clothing e-tailers to personalize. This means brands will need to offer quick and quality clothing and hire skilled tailoring staff.


Cross-channel alliance 2013 will also lead apparel retailers to provide a seamless access to products and offers, whether one is shopping using a smartphone, a desktop or in a physical store. The multi-channel integration brings together the perks of enjoying a consistent product experience irrespective of the medium the consumer chooses. Clothing brands will have to bear the pressure of timely delivery and real-time inventory feeds.


Mobile Although mobile retail transactions account for only 5-10 percent, the mobile commerce is expanding from 129 percent to 185 percent. To match this fast treading pace, retailers will need to facilitate advanced mobile commerce resources that can provide notifications like order tracking, real time notifications, and other advanced features.


Post-purchase operations Managing backend operations and meeting the logistics requirements will be the challenge faced by many small and large apparel e-tailers with growth of e-commerce. With the same-day delivery concept really catching up, many apparel brands will be offering pick-up from physical stores or their partner stores for online buyers. Another new trend is of developing delivery packages. The brown boxes will soon be replaced by colored ones bearing logos of apparel brands of different sizes and shapes.


Online loyalty The online clutter of apparel retailers is growing by leaps and bounds. The search engine optimizations, online advertisements, and offers are filling the digital space to ultimately increase the count of customers. The cost of acquiring a new consumer has shot up to 21 times more in comparison to retain an existing one. Providing better shopping experiences, timely deliveries, and better packaging will be among retailer's top priorities to preserve their existing customer base and expand to newer ones.

 

Changing consumer preferences and growing web retailing calls for new and innovative approaches to achieve sales targets. Apparel retailers are focusing on providing better shopping experiences at the same time providing the benefit of personalization of products to increase footfall online and in-store.


References:


1. Forbes.com

2. Nytimes.com

3. Apparel edgl.com


Image Courtesy:


1. Ibisworld.com

2. Forbes.com

3. Plane-sailing.co.uk