How Better Omnichannel Can Bring Future Fashion Retail Growth – Sourcing Journal
A few years ago before the pandemic, Announced objective he would remodel his stores, add dozens of small-format locations, and put endless aisle technology into the hands of his in-store associates. Apparently, the announcement went like a lead balloon, as physical retail was supposed to go away.
“We said we were going to use our stores as distribution centers and activate 1,900 distribution centers across the country,” Brian Cornell, CEO of Target, recently recalled during a keynote session at the 2022 NRF Big Show in New York City. “Well, I was sitting in that room and it was a pretty cold reaction. But these investments in our team, in our stores and in our execution model – things like in-store pickup, curbside pickup shopping and having a Shipt Shopper come to your doorstep – have been really important during the pandemic, and I think they’ll stay true as we move forward.
Software developer Adobe says 8 out of 10 B2B companies say omnichannel is essential to their future success. But, like many relationships, it can be complicated.
“Your customer experience can easily become fragmented and inconsistent. And when that happens, customers are hesitant to buy,” the company says in a recently released e-book. “They wonder if they can get a better deal online, in-store or through another distributor. To be successful, you need a full integrated customer experience it’s clear, cohesive and greater than the sum of its parts.
Even as COVID-19 continues, clothing shoppers have ventured into physical stores. Yet the pandemic has also made them much more comfortable shopping for clothes online. Namely, nearly three-quarters of consumers (72%) have purchased clothing from a physical store in the past month, according to Cotton Incorporated’s 2021 Coronavirus Response Consumer Survey, Wave 9, December 8, 2021. Times, 71 % bought clothes online. And 68% used their phone to browse clothes online while shopping for clothes in a physical store.
Additionally, while 40% of consumers say they have a stronger preference now than before the pandemic to buy clothes in a physical store, 36% say they now prefer buying their clothes online, according to the Coronavirus Response Survey ( Wave 9).
For appeal to today’s multi-channel consumers, Adobe advises retailers to audit their products across all of their channels to ensure consistency of content description and images. The company also says retailers should ensure that all of their channels, including Amazon Business, are connected to the same e-commerce platform and inventory management system. Additionally, stores need to ensure that their pricing, payment, and shipping options are consistent so customers get the same deal no matter where they shop. And not only should retailers enable online shopping and in-store pickup, but they should also provide in-store tablets or kiosks where shoppers or store representatives can search for products that may not be available locally.
Over the next few months, 58% of consumers plan to spend more on clothes, with 60% planning to buy those clothes online, according to the Coronavirus Response Survey (Wave 9).
Going forward, nearly half of all consumers (48%) expect clothing retailers to offer online ordering with curbside or in-store pickup, according to the Coronavirus Response Survey (Wave 9 ). 27% expect stores to offer same-day delivery.
Salesfloor, a digital platform that connects online shoppers with store associates, suggests retailers highlight their products, prices and proximity to local customers who search for products online. Stores should post their location, hours of operation, directions, and inventory availability (including aisle locations) closest to the researcher’s home or office. They should also advertise in-store events and promotions on digital channels and personally invite preferred customers.
Online shoppers should also be encouraged to pick up your purchases in-store with fulfillment promotions, suggests Salesfloor. And associates need to reach out to customers with hyper-targeted offers based on individual, specific purchase history. The company also suggests that stores livestream in-store product demonstrations, celebrity appearances, or special sales events.
Salesfloor recently acquired Automat, a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform that powers guided shopping experiences, product recommendations and personalization for brands. The move brings virtual shopping, customer base and sales automation for retailers to the company’s capabilities.
“With this exciting acquisition, we are able to provide a mix of human in-store associates and AI-assisted capabilities to optimize the shopping experience,” said Oscar Sachs, CEO of Salesfloor. “The combination of skilled store associates and the ability to leverage automation technology enables a more personalized, targeted and efficient shopping experience for the customer, while optimizing the use of the associate’s valuable time. of store – ultimately, to the benefit of retailers.”
Target’s Cornell said when his team came up with their strategy in 2017, they had no idea what they would face a few years later when COVID hit.
“But those the investments have been largely repaid during the pandemic,” he said. “I think as we move forward there will be a great balance between consumers who still enjoy being physically in a store but want all the ease, convenience and security that comes with just driving and receiving that order or to have something on their doorstep. We’ve seen that it’s not ‘either/or’ – it’s an ‘and’. Even during the pandemic, consumers have turned to physical stores and have taken advantage of digital options and – in many cases – same-day execution, to meet their needs I think this is here to stay.