How Technology Can Solve the Complex Challenges of Apparel and Footwear Retailers
Retailers face serious challenges to please customers and compete in a crowded industry landscape. The modern shopkeeper must handle inventory in one or several brick-and-mortar locations while maintaining a user-friendly online retail market. What was once a simple case of stocking the latest trends has become more challenging as customers have unlimited choice and want to make rapid buying decisions.
Customers shopping for apparel or footwear often walk through the shop doors with a specific item, style or brand in mind. If inventory is low, the retailer must act quickly to save the sale. In mere minutes, the shopkeeper must identify whether the store has the item, and if not, whether it’s in stock at another location. If the customer is unwilling to wait for delivery, a smart retailer will immediately offer alternatives.
Technology can help. A commerce solution solves the main pain points of clothing and shoe retailers by offering what customers and business owners want: immediately updated inventory; searchable product offerings on a user-friendly responsive hand-held device and point-of-sale and online payment options.
Knowing the Retail Landscape
Consumers have unprecedented choice when it comes to apparel and footwear. In addition to online and brick-and-mortar outlets that sell items, fashion brands are constantly updating their product lines. Retailers have a constant cycle of reductions on unsold inventory and new orders of the latest trends. They are also in a constant battle with the store across the street, who is trying to get product faster and cheaper to the same customers.
Customers have grown to expect that they will get the product they want, either through their first store option or an alternative outlet. When they are inconvenienced, they may opt for a different pair of shoes or summer dress — but they need the capability to search in-store for products that match their preferred style, size, color and availability. Despite all the convenience of online retailing, there is still a particular advantage for brick-and-mortar shops that can offer shopping guidance, options and assistance in searching for the best fashion fit.
How Technology Meets the Challenge
Superior customer service is achieved with the right tools. Staff members with the ability to search up-to-date inventory and spot the location of goods are able to immediately find what the customer wants. With a suite that offers a user-friendly product database, a sales person can let the customer search for alternatives on a mobile or other hand-held device. An effective commerce solution not only has the relevant, up-to-date information, but pictures and interactive capabilities that make it easy for the customer to judge if the fashion item is what she wants, and if so, buy it on the spot.
Commerce Suites Allow Retailers to Meet Customer Demands
Retailers selling footwear and apparel know trends are important, but all customers want to feel they are unique. With the personal touch of customized, immediate information about product offerings and the ability to offer alternatives, salespeople have an edge on impressing customers and closing the sale. Using technology to enhance the one-on-one in-store customer experience and to improve online shopping capabilities, retailers can outpace the competition. By creating positive customer experiences, they can create long-term customer relationships. Customer loyalty is an invaluable competitive advantage, as it provides lasting benefits price drops and flash sales cannot always provide.
In our next webinar we will be discussing how to use technology to improve the shopping experience by means of integrating all your sales channels, that is connecting the offline and online experience to offer convenient omnichannel scenarios. It will be presented as a hands-on demo where we will show you the power of integrating Openbravo Commerce Suite and Magento e-commerce. Register in the following links!
Tuesday 24th of May at 17.00 CEST in Spanish