Apparel Retail Companies: Surviving The Holidays 101

by Trefis Team
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American Eagle Outfitters
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Brick-and-mortar stores have played a tremendous role during the holiday season, a fact that is reflected not only in higher fourth-quarter sales when compared with the other quarters, but also by giving people a chance to window shop through the months of November and December. However, with a change in the retail landscape, through a shift towards the online channel, there is a possibility of a new avenue for growth for these companies, and a new sort of window shopping – through features such as Facebook Carousel. Hence, it is imperative that apparel companies embrace this trend and focus on this segment this holiday quarter.

Omnichannel: A Need Of The Hour

Omnichannel retail is the ability to seamlessly integrate different channels, whether it is in-store or online, in order to offer consumers a coherent and consistent experience no matter what platform they’re using to shop. In today’s day, relying on just the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront would be a gigantic misstep. Businesses would be unable to survive for very long if they don’t move along with the shift in technology. The increasing rates of internet penetration and a proliferation of smartphones have propagated the rise of online shopping. Furthermore, the added convenience which enables consumers to shop where they want and when they want are other factors that will ensure the growth of this segment.

The increased desire on the part of shoppers to make purchases through a variety of different channels is reflected in the results of the Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). It was revealed that 96% of consumers plan to make a purchase through a retailer that has both a physical store, as well as an online presence. Moreover, 40% of the shoppers intend on buying online and picking up in-store. A benefit of such a feature being offered by stores, through their omnichannel strategy, is that the buyers can look at the other products available in stores when they come to collect their purchase. Consequently, they end up shopping more than for just the original item bought online. As per the survey, of the consumers that plan on picking up their items in the store, 81% expect to make additional purchases.

Importance Of The In-Store Experience

While retail store visits have fallen considerably in recent years, it is imperative for such companies to leverage their store presence as a driver for customer acquisition in the digital space. It has been estimated that digital interactions influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store. Of the 56, 37 points are contributed to by the shopper’s use of mobile devices. While shopping online provides customers with product insight and options for customization, in-store experiences need to leverage the technology to help buyers make more informed decisions. Hence, features such as picking up online orders in-store, creating mobile apps to scan barcodes to gain access to product information and reviews, and accepting mobile payments through the point of sale system are vital to driving customer engagement.

The chart above has been madeĀ using our interactive platform.

It has been estimated that omnichannel customers tend to shop more frequently and end up spending 3.5 times more than other shoppers. Hence, it is imperative for apparel retail companies to find new and better ways to combine their online and offline channels and enable customers to have a convenient and personalized experience in order to emerge stronger.

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