In the digital age of shopping for clothes and accessories, modern-day consumers don’t want retailers to entertain them: Instead, they want these merchants to bring them an easy experience, offering seamless shopping in store and online.
According to the PYMNTS Connected Consumer Playbook, “Consumers may not call that ‘omnichannel,’ but that’s clearly what they want their favorite merchants to enable for them.” In addition, shoppers see value in personalized offers that match their buying preferences, or the ability to use their phones to scan a tag and place an online order for an out-of-stock item.
From rue21 to Walmart, retailers in the clothing and accessories market are enabling ways to make shopping a little easier. Here are just some of the ways these merchants are providing influential consumer experiences in their brick-and-mortar locations and online with the help of digital technology and retail innovations:
About one-quarter – or 26.8 percent – of existing customers indicate the most influential consumer experiences are well-coordinated online and in-store properties. For instance, retailers are providing shoppers with omnichannel experiences through offerings like buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS). In recent times, fast fashion apparel retailer rue21 announced plans to bring the offering to more than 700 stores. Shoppers can check the availability of an item in the store closest to them, make the purchase online and pick up the product without paying shipping fees. Chief Analytics Officer Mark Chrystal said in the announcement, “Our customers are young, mobile and know what they want – whether that is fashion or flexibility. We developed this mobile-first offering with our customers in mind, and they have loved the ease of buying and trying clothes across channels.”
Just under 15 percent – or 14.3 percent – of existing customers indicate the most influential consumer experiences are personalized offers. And retailers are teaming up with players in the subscription box space to deliver personalized kids’ fashions to customers: Walmart, in one case, is teaming with KIDBOX to offer curated styleboxes for kids that customers can receive seasonally. Customers on Walmart.com can access styles from brands like C&C California, Butter Super Soft, Puma and BCBG. Walmart U.S. eCommerce Head of Fashion Denise Incandela said in an April announcement, “Over the last year, we have significantly expanded our portfolio of kids’ fashion brands as part of our broader effort to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion.”
Roughly 7 percent – or 6.7 percent – of new customers indicate the most influential consumer experience is the ability to scan and pay with phones. The technology has been made famous by Amazon through its checkout-free Amazon Go stores. Recently, it was reported that one of the company’s newest cashierless stores went into service in Midtown Manhattan at 300 Park Ave. The new location comes after the online retailer opened one of the concept locations in New York City in a mall. The company’s other Go locations are mainly on the West Coast in places such as San Francisco and Seattle. Amazon Vice President of Physical Stores Cameron Janes said, according to reports, “New York really fits … what we’re looking for. It’s high density … lots of people on the go. It’s a great fit for us.”
About 5 percent – or 4.5 percent – of new customers indicate the most influential consumer experience is personal shopping assistants. In the online space, Stitch Fix announced last year that it plans to expand its personal shopping service into the United Kingdom. Stitch Fix Founder and CEO Katrina Lake said, per reports in October, “We believe our ability to create a uniquely personalized shopping experience is something that will resonate with consumers and brands outside of the United States. We can’t wait to show our first U.K. clients how effortless, convenient and fun Stitch Fix is.” In more recent news, the company rolled out a new inventory optimization algorithm to more effectively allocate inventory to its client base.
And 2.3 percent of new customers indicate the most influential consumer experience is virtual reality (VR) for product demonstrations. Some of those experiences are coming from abroad: News recently came from South Korea that SK Telecom, along with Shinsegae Group, which is a retail conglomerate, have teamed up to create new business models as well as innovative services. Through the deal, the companies will create business models based on 5G technology that could work with the department stores of Shinsegae, along with other use cases. The plan aims to use virtual reality technology to let customers shop through digital platforms instead of inside brick-and-mortar locations, but no further details were immediately available at the time of the report.
From the Shinsegae Group to rue21, retailers in the clothing and accessory space are tapping into digital innovations to provide consumers with easier shopping experiences. In the digital age, more personalized, efficient and convenient ways to shop and pay can turn shoppers into loyal customers.