Omni-channel is currently the biggest challenge that the fashion retail industry faces. According to a recent study, more than two thirds of customers long for a consistent shopping experience without any limits, but only 10 percent of fashion retailers can deliver on these expectations. Too often, online retail is seen as a rival to the physical stores. Customers, however, request a genuine link between online channels and brick-and-mortar stores, for click-and-collect services that work, for fast ship-from-store processes and for a consistent brand and shopping experience.
How can omni-channel work? For retailers and customers?
The requested omnichannel services only work smoothly and efficiently when the right basis exists:
- Article Availability: reliable article availability information
- Click-and-Collect: reservations in favoured store in real-time
- Instore-Ordering: enable in-store orders connecting all channels
- Return-to-Store: return online-ordered articles in the store
- Ship-from-store: avoid single picking in the DC and make use of store stock
Basis for successful omni-channel services
Detego, focusing on fashion retail processes, supports you in laying the basis for successful omni-channel services. Only with a transparent, real-time view on store and online inventories, retailers can deliver on the omni-channel promise and don’t disappoint their customers.
- Securing inventory visibility at any store at any time
- Make online inventories available in all stores
- Notify store personnel about click-and-reserve orders via alerts
- Flag reserved articles and remove them from available store stock or add them to store stock if not picked up
- Ship articles directly from the store
- Add online-ordered articles to available store stock after returned in stores
- Connect online and offline channels through in-store ordering
Webinar | Omnichannel
From Myth to Master Plan
Gain valuable insights into how successful fashion retailers offer the perfect customer service across all channels and how you can lay the foundation for efficient omni-channel retailing.
When talking “Analytics”, retailers address online shops but forget their top sellers: the stores
With an increasing number of collections of ever shorter time intervals, fashion retailers drive an enormous marketing effort to promote the new collections in their stores. As a result, it is only logical to implement the 5 common factors of performance measurement:
- What is the conversion rate per campaign?
- What kind of cross-selling offers are well received by customers and which are not?
- What is the bounce rate – abandonment in the fitting room?
- Which articels of a specific campaign are actively moved?
- What is the level of service quality by the sales personnel?
Detego provides valuable store KPIs – on a weekly, daily or hourly basis – just whenever information on the relation between customer behaviour and the product range is needed: in the long term, in the medium term or in time before the current campaign period ends.
Detego InStore combined with Fixed Reader Infrastructure
Fixed RFID readers enable Detego InStore as well as Detego InReports to provide real-time data on the following key insights:
- What article combinations are being taken into the fitting room
- What articles never make it to the fitting room
- To what extent is the new collection well recieved (tried-on) by customers
- Where exactly are articles located in the store, in order to eliminate a time-consuming search for an article
- LIVE-article availability is displayed on a touchscreen in the fitting room
- Click & Reserve function is offered directly in the fitting room for pickup in another store
- „Call-for-Assistance“ button for an interactive customer service
- Digital recommendations (Cross-selling)
- Store-to-Store comparison
- Stock accuracy of nearly 100% – without manual stocktaking
In-Store Analytics light up the dark
In an omni-channel environment, marketing and sales activities in the online shop are analysed with relatively high expenses. Conversion rate, cost-per-order, bounce rate and many other key figures are measured and evaluated regularly. All relates to one overall objective: permanent web-shop optimisation for more targeted offers and better Service.
But what happens in the store?
Better understand your customers’ preferences.
Optimise your product presentation according to these peferences.
Identify slow movers and take appropriate actions.
Webinar | Analytics
Real-time analytics in the store – Measureable KPIs for more transparency
Learn how to transform your bricks and mortar stores into digital hubs of real-time actionable data that will drive your revenues and efficiencies up. Allowing you to optimise your processes, campaigns and store activities through predefined KPIs.
One of the special charms about the lagoon city of Venice is its many channels, or canals, both small and big. Innumerable bridges connect them to an open labyrinth of water as well as traditional streets.
With so many different shopping channels available to today’s consumer, it’s easy to see why Venice is the perfect metaphor for the idea of omni-channel retailing.
The ability to shop anywhere at any time is the raison d’être of omni-channel retailing. The right assortment, and the best product availability, with seamless service and an emotional brand image sum up the perfect customer journey. The shopper can choose between a variety of channels: the flagship store in the High Street, the web shop, mobile shopping, or the endless shelf provided by an online kiosk in the store. Unfortunately the omni-channel promise often develops into a big omni-channel challenge. Not only for the retailer, but also for the customer too…
Let’s assume a female customer buys a summer skirt using her mobile. Two days later the garment gets delivered. Alas, it’s too small, so the woman wants to return the skirt to the closest store. The return turns out to be quite complicated: she cannot even check online if the skirt will be available in that particular store in size M, even though the brand promotes click-and-collect as one of their services.
When retailers display the real-time inventory at each of their stores through their web shop, customers can rely on the information given and will not be disappointed when they get to the store. This stock transparency can be given accurately by fixed readers hidden in the store’s ceiling. This fixed reader infrastructure counts every article and registers product movements throughout the different zones of the store – without manual scanning.
And what’s in it for the shopper? Products which are constantly available and visible on the shop floor, thanks to automatic replenishment, making shoppers really trust the brand. They might also benefit from a cross-channel
service when entering the fitting room: the same reading system can show accessories on a screen, or interactive mirror, as recommendations that “other clients were also interested in these products”. It’s the classic web recommendation feature, that can also help with cross-selling opportunities in stores too.
And what’s in it for the retailer? Retailers will profit from insights into conversion rate, such as how many products make it from the fitting room to the check-out. They’ll learn more about customer preferences and buying habits – and, ultimately, how to drive more sales.
Follow Your Future – Your Customer Will Get There Faster than You Think
In retail, it’s no longer just about the product, but rather about satisfying customers’ expectations. Of course, the design and quality of garments still play an important role when it comes to making profits in fashion retail, however, the way sales takes place today, and more importantly in the future, is much more crucial.
Is your store ready for the “digital future”?
Fashion retailers in the UK, the US and Asia are paving the way for the digital evolution, which is impacting all industries and has already arrived in their stores:
- Digital Showrooms
- Virtual Fitting Rooms equipped with magic mirrors that allow live projections
- Live streaming of fashion shows
- Push promotions via smartphones
- Personal shopper that digitally supports cross-selling
Apart from a stylish store set-up, what else will inspire customers to be more loyal to the brand?
- Digital brand presentation through temporary “pop-up stores”
- Multi-function mirrors: virtual fitting, recommendations, location finder, videos, alterations, etc.
- Mobile customer loyalty card (providing greetings, rebate coupons, product information)
- Shopping advice that is entirely focused on the customer
- Imperceptible theft prevention
- Real-time tracking for availability enquiries
Which technologies are needed to provide such a shopping experience?
The purist showroom of the future and the associated promotional pop-up store require real-time knowledge about the availability of articles in all possible variations. Whereas, just one size of every item of the collection is displayed on the sales floor. But how does a retailer keep track of the availability of all sizes and more importantly how to prevent breaking brand promises to the customer due to out-of-stock situations? The customer demands reliable and immediate information about the availability of the desired article, otherwise customers move on to the next store of the competition.
Analysis means leaving nothing to chance
It all starts with digitalisation in the store. Article transparency is the key to success: useful dashboards allow the store manager to monitor which articles are on the sales floor, when the new collection will arrive at the store, which articles are sold more often than others and which store zones offer better merchandise presentation opportunities – and all that at any time. Current real-time data is needed to efficiently offer click & reserve, in order to be able to provide customer with information in order to turn sales people into competent advisors equipped with expert cross-selling tactics. This is how to get the customer not only to spend more time in the store, but also to buy more items per store visit.
Omni-Channel – Putting a strategy into practice
Looking back, it becomes clear that the much sought after omni-channel customer has been painfully neglected and plainly ignored by in store sales personnel for a long time. The retailers have come to realise that they need to rethink their views in order to stay profitable. This starts with building the right foundation: Only real-time information leads to the right decisions, prevents out-of-stock situations and unburdens the sales staff from excessive administrative activities. Ultimately, there’s more time for customers, which is more motivating for the sales personnel who act as fashion advisors and use their interpersonal skills to contribute to the profitability of the store.
The Omni-Channel Challenge
The omni-channel challenge is to distribute the merchandise more precisely – in a way that it can be sold. Based on real-time-analytics, those in charge have the information they need in order to run their business successfully. Analysis show, for example, that online stores sell more of the traditional bestsellers, while seasonal impulse purchases make up more of the everyday sales in the brick-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, reports reveal, e.g. that in terms of omni-channel operations, stores in a specific geographic region require more shirts in i.e. XXL than others. In addition to increased sales, the targeted flow of goods also enhances customer loyalty and allows for an enormous reduction in costs. Any surplus merchandise does not necessarily have to end up in an outlet store where profit margins seem to fall endlessly. Instead, such items can be moved to the stores where they yield the intended earnings, in a timely manner.
The fashion retailer who distributes via multiple channels is able to integrate them more closely as to know exactly which articles are in stock in which location, thus ready to be sold. The customer can order online directly in the store, try-on the article and buy it the next day. Therefore, transparency in terms of article inventory is essential along the entire supply chain.
The customer is able to see all articles and their exact location on a display in real-time. Inventory will be kept synchronised over all channels in real-time. The winter jacket available in stores is also available online and can be ordered and delivered to the customer’s home address. In case of any mispurchases, the customer simply returns the item to the nearest store where it is immediately charged-back into stock.
Today there may still be some challenges in omni-channel operations to overcome, but in the future everything will run smoothly…assuming that real-time article transparency is a reality.
When it comes to fashion retail, creative minds and analysts can learn a lot from each other.
In the fashion industry, the pressure head designers and their creative teams face is high at all times:
Meeting customer’s expectations, impressing them with various collections whilst staying true to the brand image; exceeding the wishes of trendsetters, and yet processing ecological fabrics into fashionable quality goods at reasonable prices. Another kind of pressure gets noticeable very quickly as soon as the presentation of merchandise in the flagship stores as well as the entire branch network is in place. Every new collection needs to sell quickly and show profits immediately. The fashion industry is fast-evolving and the next collection is already in line for delivery at the central warehouse. At the same time, the depreciation rate and mark-downs should be kept as small as possible and monitored constantly. Additional KPIs, such as purchasing volume per customer, efficient deployment of personnel at the POS, aging structure of articles on the sales floor, product availability in all sizes in relation to the smallest possible safety stock and last but not least, the conversion rate are highly relevant in brick-and-mortar retail.
Pursuing the same objective
Fashion designers and analysts pursue the same overall objective: Both are expected to quickly generate sustainable revenue. The most important factor is to turn customers into loyal ones, but how? When and why does a customer come back? This happens when the range of products as well as the price, service and quality meet the customers’ expectations. Another aspect is to enable customers to switch between all sales channels – e.g., a click in the web shop and reserving a product in-store needs to be integrated seamlessly. Lasting positive experiences with sales personnel also keeps customers coming back. This also requires that the sales team is aware if an article is available in the requested size or offers to ship it directly to the customer’s home from another store.
Manual processes are a thing of the past
Designers have always had creative ideas, however, in the past, controllers didn’t have the chance to analyse data in real time. Therefore, they used historical data from unconnected IT silos, and unfortunately very often drew wrong conclusions, e.g. with regards to the size distribution across the entire store network. Today, dashboards reveal on a daily basis without any manual effort, which quantities in which sizes sell best in which stores.
This enables fashion retailers to adapt quickly to any changing circumstances – all based on accurate data. Automated real time analysis and predictions make the in-store management future-proof and, above all, competitive.
An active control of data is the only chance to realise a future growth strategy in fashion retail. Retail area managers, head of merchandise planning, management and controlling are able to compare the different sales locations faster, without having to wait for quarterly or annual figures. The required key figures are provided automatically and prepared visually on a daily basis.
If the creative mind does not run out of ideas, and the analyst correctly interprets the relevant data for more sales and lower process costs with the right tools, they will continue their successful course into the future.
Image Source: IStock, Copyright: diego_cervo, Saklakova.jp
The Art of Retaining the Customers in the Store
Customers are lost with just one single click, if the service in the web shop is not satisfying. That can happen just as fast in the bricks-and-mortar store.
What are the reasons why customers might leave a store?
- Advertised merchandise or articles in the desired size cannot be found
- Sales personnel cannot provide information about a desired article
- Empty spaces on the shelves are disappointing and violate the brand promise
- Customers get to hear another “unfortunately we’ve run out”
- The click & collect offer does not work
However, it is very easy to keep the customers in the store, to sell more and build up customer loyalty. Here’s how:
- The sales personnel is able to provide the customer with information about a product at anytime
- Additional products based on the customer’s choice of articles can be recommended
- No empty spaces on shelves thanks to an early notification system (i.e. automatic replenishment)
- Real-time article transparency shows where the article is available, and it can also be sent to the customer’s home address if requested
- Click & collect services work seamlessly
- Personnel are notified about the arrival of merchandise, and the sales floor is prepared accordingly
- Received merchandise is completely checked-in and immediately makes its way to the appropriate location within the store
Analyse. Decide. Lead.
The right article, at the right place with real-time data
Anyone who works in fashion retail should be confident in their style and be fashion conscious. Nevertheless, people responsible for the store and likewise those responsible for the entire network of stores need to bring an entirely additional skillset to the table.
They have to be able to make the right decisions in managing either a single store or several hundreds of stores, including the management of inventories; e.g. the right clothing sizes need to be distributed to the different stores in a targeted manner to meet consumers’ demands and achieve good sales results.
Good business is never about gut feelings.
Therefore, base your decisions on a foundation of reliable data.
- Distribute merchandise in a targeted way and optimise merchandise presentation over the entire network of stores
- For multi-channel operations, actively manage inventory across channels
- Quickly adapt to trends and location-specific demands
- Optimise the performance of individual weaker stores and introduce corrective measures
- Reduce expensive minimum inventory levels
- Avoid margin reduction related to outlet sales
- Automate replenishment
- Know the aging structure of your articles
- Optimise your merchandise presentation
- Synchronise information between merchandising planners and logistics
Detego InReports –
A Real-Time Analysis Tool
Detego InReports analyses the real-time inventory in the store, back-room and shop window along with the aging structure (time on the sales floor) and interprets customer cluster data, for example in terms of sizes and colours sold per geographical region. Complex algorithms are translated into graphically appealing dashboards that provide relevant operational recommendations for actions to take, which enables better decisions.
Increase Sales, Reduce Inventory, Manage Stores
With Detego InReports, fashion retailers can adapt more quickly to changes in the market as well as new trends thanks to an increased inventory transparency, resulting in an increase in turnover and sales. Furthermore, the quality of the gained information allows for more precise merchandise management – with reduced quantities held in stock, optimised processes as increased sales.