Many fashion retailers are constantly losing sales, while online fashion retailers report new records every month. Paradoxically, stationary traders have many advantages compared to competition on the internet. How can you combine strengths in the stationary trade with the latest digital technology to bring customers back to your stores? Read our latest blog post.
Online fashion retailers such as Zalando are writing success stories. Stationary fashion retailers such as Company’s are closing branches. A paradox! The field of fashion is one area where stationary retail should be far superior to digital providers. Because many people describe shopping for clothes and shoes as their favourite pastime. They meet with friends and wander from one shop to the next in order to try out the latest trends for themselves. They get changed frequently, combining the most varied of accessories, admire themselves in the mirror and show their outfits off to each other. If one size does not fit, they will quickly reach for another and if the light blue shirt does not suit them they will get the darker one from the shelf. Equipped with a lot of full, nicely designed bags they will then go to the nearest café where the latest acquisitions will be presented on the social networks. The latest outfit may then be off on its first nightlife adventure that same evening.
«A paradox! The field of fashion is one area where stationary retail should be far superior to digital providers. »
Although none of this can be experienced online, more and more customers are turning to the World Wide Web. Fashion retailers seem to stare at what is developing around them in a state of paralysis, being pulled defencelessly into a negative spiral as they do so. Instead of doing this they would be better off focusing on their strengths and coupling them with the new technological opportunities in order to give customers greater added value.
In this blog we will show how digital touchpoints in front of the store, in the sales area or in a changing room simplify customers’ shopping process and create positive experiences.
Increased frequency thanks to far-field communication in the shop window
Intervals between individual collections are becoming shorter and shorter. For this reason it is essential to keep customers constantly informed about the latest trends. You can address customers emotionally with a shop window display. You can use this far-field communication both to provide information and create shopping needs.
Virtual product range expansion – the interactive touchpoint in the sales area
Retailers can only present a part of their product range in their sales area on account of the limited space in their store. But in the web shop, customers have the entire range of products at their disposal, which can be browsed through quickly and easily to find the desired products, colours and sizes using the appropriate filter functions. If stationary retail adapts these advantages for its stores, it can offer customers – apart from the opportunity to touch the products and try them on – an easy way to find the clothes and accessories they are looking for. Interactive touch points with a link to the retailer’s database and a connection to the online shop enable customers to call up the entire range: this is known as a virtual product range expansion.
Profile-related product suggestions
Interactive solutions of this kind, linked to web shop data, can be expanded to include additional functions such as product comparisons and virtual presentations, evaluations and sales advice requests on location according to the retailer’s requirements. The use of customer details via the link to the CRM system is also possible. Customers can be presented with intelligent, profile-related product suggestions using the CRM data – based on previous purchases or wish lists. If customers sign in to their personal customer account, logging in via the interactive touchpoint, for example, or using their QR code or customer card, the appropriate data will be called up.
Finding the perfect item of clothing quickly
Customers like to know if their preferred product is still available in the store they are at. Before having to ask a customer adviser for this information, digital systems will enable you to call up the information directly via the interactive terminal (e.g. virtual product range expansion). Scanners can be used to find the right sizes or colour choice available. The products chosen can be scanned in and the customer will obtain an overview of available sizes and colours in the store in question and in the entire product range. This, in conjunction with a navigation aid for orientation within the store, will make the shopping process considerably easier and provide the customer with added value.
Covering different requirements with a touchpoint
Digital touchpoints can cover several requirements at the same time if so required, such as orientation in the sales area, target group-orientated communication, interactive product presentation und virtual sales area extension. Each solution can be configured so that it corresponds to the needs of the retailer and his target group and create the desired added value.
Swiss fashion retailers Schild have already equipped their stores with an interactive product range expansion. You can find more information on this here.
In addition to the virtual product range expansion, available product data can also be used for digital mirrors in the changing rooms. Here is an example of how an interactive touchpoint inside the changing room creates considerable added value for the customer.
Imagine that your customer is alone and has found a pair of trousers in your store that he likes and would like to try on. You are bound to be familiar with this too: take your shoes off, take your trousers off, try on the new trousers – oops, much too big. The question is then whether you should get dressed again and start looking for the right size. If the desired size is available, the whole process starts from the beginning: back into the cubicle, take your shoes off, take your trousers off, try on the trousers you want in a new size. A process that costs a lot of time and energy. Depending on the time available, this process will be broken off and the customer will leave the shop without a new pair of trousers and therefore without generating any sales for the shop.
What if the item of clothing could be scanned via a barcode in the cubicle or could be connected directly to the system using near-field communication (NFC)? The clothing item in question would then appear on a screen built into the mirror with additional information such as the sizes currently available in the store.
The right clothes brought to the cubicle
Okay, it would be nice to know that the size required is available in the store – or not. But what if the customer could have the item in the required size brought directly to the cubicle? The customer can order the “delivery” of the item in question via the touchscreen. The sales staff will receive the information via a digital device and organise the desired item for the customer in the changing room. This means the customer will not have to get changed again and can try on a further piece of clothing in the meantime or use the touchscreen to look for a matching pullover. The staff will also have a direct connection point for advising the customer and generating extra sales.
A positive shopping experience for the customer. Systems such as this can also be expanded to include product and profile-related recommendations or linked up to ordering processes for home delivery.The creation of an interlocking process between the web shop and the store offers customers a wide range of purchasing and delivery processes that cover situational requirements.
A digital mirror saves customers time and is convenient and helpful. But how does it look for the retailer? Fashion retailers will be offering customers an attractive product range with new services in stationary retail with the aim of increasing turnover and sales and enhancing customer loyalty. But won’t this block the cubicles? Anyone who can order countless items of clothing via the digital mirror and have them delivered to the cubicle could presumably spend hours there. How can retailers prevent the cubicles from being blocked for other customers? Ask us. We will show you how solutions like this can be implemented in such a way that both retailers and customers can benefit from them.
The benefits of online retail should also be integrated into the shopping process in stationary retail and fused with their own existing strengths. Digital touchpoints can provide insight into the retailer’s entire product range and an overview of available sizes and colours and offer personalised recommendations. The interconnection of online and offline data offer new opportunities to strengthen customer loyalty and generate new sales channels and processes. Customers will love it!