Apparel Retail Challenges When Threatened by Online Shopping

Generally, in the retail world, we’ve seen new challenges due to the advent of online shopping.  The fashion industry is no different.  Buying clothing online has led to a boom in the industry.  This is mainly thanks to the convenience of being able to shop from any location, and also the extensiveness of the catalogue and the multiple options that appear when a webpage is opened, in comparison to a store with more limited space and inventory.  On the other hand, in-store purchases also have benefits, like more personal service, the possibility to see the product before hand, and above all else, the shopping experience as a whole.  After all, who doesn’t like to go shopping?

Faced with this situation, the apparel retail sector has an obvious challenge:  to safeguard the in-store experience in order to combat the boom in the online sector and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

Innovation, Key to Survival in the Apparel Retail Industry

Apparel retail has to use many novelties, especially with respect to creating experiences, and this must inevitably happen through innovation.  As we’ve already told you before, at HMY we consider innovation as the fundamental ingredient to transform and adapt to current times, and it’s critical for short and long term business sustainability.

An example of how we apply innovative ideas and proposals is the store Futbol Emotion, where HMY managed to integrate personal and versatile shopping spaces with new technological elements, aimed at increasing the space’s productivity and offering an experience never before seen by users of its physical stores.

The reconditioning of commercial spaces with the goal of offering personal user experiences is a trend that we have been following for quite some time in the retail sector.  In this sense, different features have been integrated, like the individual service offered by the store’s staff, the inclusion of modem furniture, and the introduction of technological elements, with respect to communication and information as ways to fuse online experiences with physical stores.

As well, you can take advantage of many other things by following in the footsteps of online shopping and applying it offline. The information and data gathered serves to create and adapt the brand to the preferences of the target consumer, which allows the brand to get closer and gain loyalty. It also has more efficient outcomes in terms of investment and sales.

What Short and Long Term Strategies Can Apparel Retail Follow?

In the current scenario, apparel brands that want to maintain their presence in retail have to take some reconditioning measures to keep up with the demands of today’s consumers.

Some of the most relevant brands nationally and internationally, like Macy’s, Inditex or Marks & Spencer are already changing their strategies in this respect. In addition to specific technological innovations, in line with increasing utility and attractiveness, they are also focusing on what has traditionally stood out with physical businesses: personal service.   

The customer has finally become the center of the value chain, and individual service is a key feature to attract them.  This is true both in terms of attracting consumers to the store’s product displays, which show the product closer up in physical terms, as well as in relation to the attention received by the sales rep, whose function has evolved to become a counselor of sorts and individual guide.

These two points, the physical proximity of the product and the individual service, are crucial so that offline business continues evolving and attracting consumers.  The fusion of these elements with material and technological innovations indicates a promising future where online stores will become complementary, and actually push traditional sales.

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