Posted by Laura Hills, Vice President of Marketing, Dydacomp
Apparel retailing is a highly competitive sector and apparel retailers are keenly aware that today’s shoppers have no limits as to where, how and when they shop. Where once the brick and mortar storefront was the only way of getting apparel into customer’s hands, shoppers today expect to be able to shop 24/7, 365 days a year. According to Moody’s Investor Services, online apparel and footwear sales are expected to exceed $40 billion in 2013 and $45 billion in 2014. It is estimated that online apparel and footwear sales account for close to 20% of total eCommerce sales in the U.S. and smart apparel retailers are honing in on this fast growing segment.
Apparel retailers must be active and visible in a variety of sales channels to reach the widest variety of new and repeat customers. Technology has enabled etailers to offer improved online merchandise presentation to present multiple views of an item in varying colors and styles so that website shoppers can interact with their selections. Detailed customer reviews offer valuable online shopping assistance to simulate shopping with a friend. Online shoppers are also attracted by special promotions, especially “free shipping,” which more retailers now feel pressure to offer. Multi-channel retailers with brick and mortar locations often allow in-store returns to further enhance the flexibility of the online shopping experience.
An order management system can help online retailers gain visibility and bridge the gap between their eCommerce store and their back office to stay on top of available inventory and order progress across all sales channels. Order management systems support Customer Service activities to effectively engage with customers with timely and accurate order information.
“Best in Class” Apparel and Multi-channel Retailers focus on:
- Effective Inventory Tracking – never miss a sale by stocking the latest fashion items
- Superior Customer Service – solving problems and surpassing shopper expectations
- Being Proactive – anticipating their customers’ wants and needs
- Delivering Convenience – across all platforms and according to the shoppers’ schedules
- Promoting Value – promotions and offers helps shoppers stretch and save their clothing dollars
A consumer-facing website, catalog sales and physical stores, or any combination, require a high level of coordination and information management with the objective to create a personal shopper experience across all retail platforms, encouraging shoppers to return again and again for their apparel needs.
Apparel retailers benefit from seamlessly integrating all business processes across multiple sales channels to capture data, manage inventory and shipping and create the best online shopping experience. Utilizing an integrated order, inventory and customer management system will enable access to a complete history of previous purchases to create an enhanced level of personal service. Having this information at the fingertips of customer service representatives facilitates up-selling and cross-selling and gives customer service staff the ability to make relevant purchase suggestions based on customers’ preferences from past purchases. Capturing this information lets the retailer create targeted mailings and promotions aimed directly at the most likely to buy shoppers.
At Dydacomp, we have worked with thousands of SMB retailers and have learned from them what best practices they follow for success. By delivering positive shopping experiences and interactions, apparel retailers create targeted promotions to attract and retain a constant stream of customers. Dydacomp’s whitepaper “Dressing for Success – Best Practices in Apparel and Specialty Retailing” addresses the characteristics, strategies and practices to grow your business. Click here to access this special report.