Raconteur’s latest business report explores the modern landscape of the fashion industry, in particular, its current main issues and concerns. Chief amongst these is the issue of sustainability. It is approached and analysed from multiple angles in the report, including a piece from our partners Avery Denison on the use of RFID-enabled supply chain visibility to create a sustainable circular economy. Elsewhere the report also goes into the sustainability of the current returns culture and how retailers are struggling to manage.
Our highlight is a thought-provoking article on how the fashion supply chain requires a tech makeover. It describes how the fashion supply chain has waned under the pressure of its growing complexity, and digital technology has the capacity to alleviate these issues, yet due to a ‘culture of resistance’, retailers are reluctant to embrace technology as a way to solve the issue. Although we see a number of these issues identified in the article, there doesn’t appear to be too much direction on how to solve them. The article does, however, highlight how the current growth in the market is dominated by companies developing on the back of newer technologies such as AI and the cloud. Luckily at Detego, we combine these technologies with RFID to supply retailers with the real-time data required to successfully optimise modern supply chains.
Find out about all of this and more by downloading the report below:
Alternatively, contact our team today for a more in-depth discussion.
The Detego Platform enables fashion retailers to reinvent their physical stores and supply chains with intelligent stock management, item-level transparency and innovative methods of consumer engagement in stores.
“We’ve implemented RFID across our business in the US and UK and that’s actually really turning into money”
Charles Bergh – CEO Levi Strauss
Watch the video below of our customer Levi Strauss’ CEO, Charles Bergh, discussing the brand’s success and growth, particularly in relation to their large-scale RFID roll-out. He explains the ‘instant clear visibility’ that RFID provides, and how retailers now have the means to reduce the loss of sales due to article availability.
Detego and Levi’s partnership continues to grow as we roll-out RFID across their store network. With omnichannel retailing being a key strategy of Levi’s, our Detego InStore Lean Edition is providing the building blocks of successful store operations with optimal product availability, stock accuracy and efficient in-store processes.
Watch video below (start at 3:30mins)
“We’ve implemented RFID across our business in the US and UK and that’s actually really turning into money”
Charles Bergh – CEO Levi Strauss
Retail software specialist, Detego, will showcase three of its software solutions at EuroCIS, taking place from 19 – 21st of February 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Visitors to Europe’s leading trade fair for retail technology can experience Detego’s market-leading solutions for the fashion retail industry, including real-time inventory intelligence and pioneering IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) projects. The live demos being showcased will be part of an impressive booth setup (Hall 9, booth #C04) which showcases the future of physical retail stores.
For inventory management of the store, Detego offers the InStore Lean Edition which meets the demands of the fashion retail industry for a quick-start solution into the digital store. Offered as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution with cloud hosting, retailers benefit from high inventory accuracy and consistent article availability at low cost. This is possible through fast and accurate stocktakes and automated replenishment processes, bringing long-term benefits to fashion retailers and most importantly, delivering quick results. The app-based solution can be active within hours and has a clear path of scaling to ensure rapid deployment and an easy functional extension to the Detego InStore Full Edition. “More and more fashion retailers are living by the mantra of ‘keep it simple’ for their RFID implementation which is exactly why we successfully implemented across the world the Detego InStore Lean as an ‘out-of-the-box’ SaaS-based RFID solution.” Says Kim Berknov, Executive Chairman of Detego.
The fitting room is the most important place in the entire store when it comes to purchasing decisions being made. This means that it’s crucial to provide support and additional services for customers. Detego’s Smart Fitting Room provides product recommendations, such as matching items available on the sales floor that can be brought directly to the fitting room by sales staff via a “call-to-assist” button. The customer can gain access to the benefits of e-commerce by looking up other products, checking for availability, reserving articles or having them delivered directly from the store to their home. Links to videos or social media feeds can also help. These value-adding services are what continue to drive consumers to shop in-store.
Answering as many questions as possible for shoppers through AI, Detego’s chatbot supports the sales personnel and bridges waiting times for customers until there’s a salesperson available for individual service. The virtual store assistant accompanies customers throughout their entire shopping experience and provides additional support in the vital decision-making process, such as making product recommendations and earmarking other popular items, bestsellers, discounted articles or product variants. The AI capabilities are not just limited to the chatbot itself, but also work continually in the background by communicating with other systems in the store. The chatbot checks the actual availability of articles and compiles data about customer types and their preferred article combinations and choices. As a result, recommendations become more meaningful and personal and only articles immediately available in the store are recommended.
“We want to introduce fashion retailers to solutions that support them in their daily challenges,” says Dr. Michael Goller, CTO at Detego. “We can show how fashion retailers can positively influence buying decisions and how a digital fitting room or a chatbot help in the sales process, as well as witness how several global fashion brands have successfully adopted the Detego InStore Lean Edition.”
Detailed analysis by retail tech specialists at Detego has confirmed that the average retailer’s data is only about seventy-five percent accurate when it comes to knowing exactly what inventory is actually in stock at any particular time. The problem is often compounded by retailers continually managing stock across multiple channels and increasingly having to stay on top of consumer demands for up-to-the-minute, reliable information. Detego, which has been monitoring its own chatbot service that allows consumers to engage with retailers via their smartphones, found the most common enquiries to be about stock availability. It found data inaccuracies around inventory to be most of an issue in fashion retail where ever shorter product lifecycles, fast turnarounds of stock and multiple style, size and colour combinations can play havoc with the supply chain and in-store operations.
“Customers, above all, want instant and accurate information on product availability,” says Dr. Michael Goller, CTO at Detego. “If you’re shopping for clothes, you want to be sure of getting the exact size and style you’re looking for. But many retailers fall by the wayside here – their systems might tell them that a particular size is available; yet, there’s a one in four chance that this isn’t the case.”
According to Goller, continually relying on manual processes for something as vital to the retail business as stock – usually by shutting up shop once or twice a year for store or warehouse staff to do a stock-take – is madness. And especially given that smart technologies abound, including RFID and mobile devices which ensure continual monitoring and lead to near hundred percent accuracy and operational excellence in the stores.
Research by the University of Parma in Italy has shown consistent sales increases in RFID-managed apparel stores and deduced that “RFID item-level tagging is a powerful tool for improving inventory accuracy, which is a prerequisite for both omni-channel strategies and store floor replenishment from the backroom.”1
Thanks to technology that helps increase the availability of products on the shopfloor – such as using wearable devices that rely on alerts and images to guide staff and speed up the replacement of missing articles and gaps on the shelves – the industry is starting to see a gradual shift towards more connected technologies in retail. IDC Retail Insights predicts that eighty percent of retailers are due to spend on visibility platforms powered by RFID and IoT2 over the next few years.
An extraordinary four-month project sprint for 500 adidas stores in Russia has been successfully completed. The goal: Boost store KPIs such as inventory accuracy, article availability and consumer service to the highest levels. The means to achieve that: Extremely fast, error-free stock taking of 45 million articles per year through real-time in-store processes that are more efficient and intuitively managed, using decision-relevant analytics. The end-to-end integration was accomplished in just four months. The interdisciplinary project team consisted of business, IT, logistics and retail experts coming from five different countries – all working together across ten different time zones. The result: 99% inventory accuracy and the highest on-floor availability that adidas wanted for its stores. The winner: The adidas end customer.
The future? Athletic.
99% Stock accuracy
98.5% product availability
2000+ sales employees trained
Detego, a market leader in real-time business intelligence for the fashion retail industry, is releasing its latest whitepaper, providing valuable information on the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in fashion stores. Titled as “The perfect customer relationship – How fashion stores leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to put the customer in focus of all activities “, fashion retailers get a practice-oriented guide that highlights the most important aspects such as: Why should fashion retailers deal with IoT?, What problems could be solved in the stores?, What results can be expected? Retail decision makers need to deal with IoT if increased article availability, exact inventories, interaction with customers and operational excellence in the stores are set as objectives. The 35-page guide sheds light on the triangle of “customer”, “processes in the store” and “deployment of new technologies” and shows how the use of IoT benefits retailers and ultimately the customer. The whitepaper is available for download on the Detego website.
Detego discusses the various IoT technologies as a way for retailers to realize the perfect customer relationship. Based on customer’s needs, the practical tips are divided into 1. Self-service in the store: The customer as the main actor, 2. Brand Ambassador: The customer as influencer, 3. Co-Value Creation: The customer as partner and 4. Predictive Analytics: The Customer as creator of the future. All four subchapters describe what retailers can do to connect with the customer and enable an interaction in the store.
In addition, infrastructural prerequisites such as the optimal process support through IoT technology and in particular support for the sales personnel are discussed. With the help of IoT, retailers and their store personnel gain valuable data that is translated into recommendations for concrete action to take. In addition to the operational excellence in the store, it is primarily about the new shopping experience for the customer. The whitepaper reveals the formula for the perfect customer relationship, based on the right technologies and processes and shows how retailers can apply them to their business.
All store assistants are busy at the moment and another customer enters the store. She has only one question: “Is the skirt in the shop window also available in XS?”– It’s not going to take long, however, nobody is available to assist. She briefly looks around on the sales floor…finds nothing and therefore leaves the store.
Increase service quality in the store with Artificial Intelligence
With digital sales assistants, fashion retailers no longer have to keep consumers waiting but offer them a convenient service. The chatbot serves consumers via smartphone by answering initial questions such as: Is the article still available in my size? Where can I find it? How expensive is it? What accessories go with it? If an article is out of stock, Detega makes suggestions, e.g. to have the desired article shipped from another store to the customer´s preferred store or even directly to her home.
Recommendations for more consumer engagement
If a store assistant recommends additional articles to a customer, it could easily backfire as unwanted assistance can be considered intrusive and the customer might avoid visiting the store in future. However, if a chatbot recommends an article that the customer clearly perceives as a possible additional purchase, he/she will have no problem considering the recommendation or rejecting it by simply swiping it away and look at other articles that he/she likes better. Chatbots enable a non-binding yet personalised dialogue – just as customers are familiar with online shopping.
Detega Video – Initial dialouge before sales personnel takes over
The use of digital store assistants. Benefits for retailers.
- starts a dialogue with the consumer via smartphone as desired
- notifies store personnel to bring certain articles to consumers
- pushes purchases through „live“ discounts
- brings online shopping experience into the store
- activates cross-selling potential by letting customers browse through the entire product range
- recommends articles that are actually available in the store
- supports as well as unburdens store personnel
- deepens the brand experience
- compiles data on customer clusters and their preferred article combinations
- continues to interact with customers after they leave the store to inform them about special offers, etc.
- offers after-sales services to customers such as reservations in the store
The use of digital store assistants. Benefits for customers.
- helps with the decision-making process using information
- provides useful product recommendations such as: popular items, bestsellers, reduced articles and product variants
- accurate product recommendations due to Artificial Intelligence
- offers self-service via customers‘ smartphone
- offers online shopping experience in-store
- answers immediately – customers are not kept waiting
- gives information in real-time
- notifies the store personnel to bring desired articles directly to the customer
- allows customers to browse through the full product range
- guarantees an unforgettable shopping experience
- passes on customers to sales personnel when required
„At the Point-of-Sale, the chatbot serves digitally-oriented target groups via their smartphones and passes them on to the sales personnel for individual service whenever the sales process requires it.“
Dr. Michael Goller – CTO Detego
Personalised offers characterise the trends in 2018
Configuring your own sports shoes, designing outfits according to your ideas, receiving individual offers based on your personal shopping profile – in 2018, the signs in fashion retail point to personalisation. In e-commerce, customers leave their preferences and enjoy the benefits of personalised offers and experiences. With new technologies, brick-and-mortar retailers are now also in a position to serve customers according to their preferences: Chatbots, Internet-of-Things (IoT), open IT platforms and augmented reality will be increasingly used in the stores in 2018 and beyond.
Trend #1 Personalisation
Consumers demand that brands fulfil their needs and even more: They got used to brands being able to predict and provide “personal” offers and services. According to the Boston Consulting Group, brands that create personalised experiences by integrating advanced digital technologies and proprietary data for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6 to 10%—two to three times faster than those that don’t.1 This is a very good reason for retailers to follow the personalisation trend. The increasing digital engagement of consumers facilitates the compilation of information on customers, their behaviour, tastes and preferences. The next important step for retailers will be to gain a “real-time view” of the consumer. The desire for personalisation encompasses both the instore and online experience and loses its potential if relevant customer data isn’t available in real-time throughout the retail organisation – including all channel partners. The fulfilment of this desire will drive the use of in-store technologies, IoT, as well as AI-based systems in retail. These technologies will enable retailers to achieve optimum level of personalisation. Consumers welcome personalisation efforts if their benefits are transparent and relevant and will reward retailers, both in terms of their sales behaviour but also by spreading the word.
Trend #2 Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is continuing as a strong trend that is now materializing in very specific applications for retailers and customers. Interacting with customers and offering personalized services will bring AI powered chatbots onto the sales floor and add value through various features. Chatbots will make consumer engagement in brick-and-mortar stores possible at a much wider scale than what was achieved before. Answering as much as possible for shoppers through AI, chatbots support the sales personnel and bridge waiting times for customers until there´s a sales person available for individual service. Millennials might even prefer the interaction with the chatbot to being drawn into a more binding conversation with store associates. The customer will be able to interact with the digital sales assistant at any time via their smartphone and control the dialogue with the chatbot. These chatbots will bring a form of intelligence into the store that is well-known in online retailing, with one of them being filtered recommendations: e.g. popular articles, bestsellers, articles on sale or even product variants. Artificial intelligence, however, will not be limited to the chatbot itself. What will make it even more exciting is when chatbots communicate with other systems in the background, e.g. to check the actual article availability in real-time and compile data about customer cluster and their preferred article combinations. As a result, recommendations will become personal and meaningful.
Trend #3 Internet-of-Things (IoT)
IoT will continue to be one of the biggest topics for stores in 2018 and will increasingly provide tangible results for retailers and customers. Devices that communicate with each other in the store bring a number of advantages and insights. Gained data on popular items, product combinations, purchasing preferences, ‘tried-on- but- not- bought’ articles as well as article movements in the store can be intelligently used and transformed into data-driven recommendations for customers. IoT will also play a key role in driving consumer engagement in the store. The consumers’ new self-perception is taken into account through IoT technologies: enabling customers to become the main actor, brand ambassador, partner as well as creator of the future when shopping. Consumers’ request for more personalised offers will also be supported by the use of IoT in retail.
Trend #4 Augmented Reality
To engage customers emotionally and to enrich their experience of the brand, retailers will increasingly take advantage of augmented reality. These technologies will also support retailers in their approach to bridge the gap between e-commerce and brick-and mortar retail, offering consumers the seamless, non-siloed experience across all channels they are looking for. Retailers want to lure their online customers into their brick-and-mortar stores. In order to achieve this, retailers will increasingly use augmented reality and location-based services. Once a customer has arrived in the shopping mile, retailers can use 3D maps to “push” their locations onto the user’s smartphone. The consumers purchasing preferences are taken into careful consideration. In the next step, this service will also include article availabilities of preferred articles in the nearest stores. This promises great benefits for the customers, for example, finding stores (in pedestrian areas) that actually have the item they are looking for in the right size and colour. For this purpose, customers will be presented with real-time inventory data to create a positive online-offline shopping experience. As augmented reality rapidly improves, analysts predict that the retail industry may be one the biggest beneficiaries.2
Trend #5 Open Platforms
Retail IT landscapes of the future need to be as flexible as consumers are. To compete, retail companies must transition their IT systems to open platforms that enable rapid deployment of new solutions and make use of on-demand cloud services to create outstanding customer experiences. Open platforms will allow retailers to combine own software with third party applications as well as to switch services on or off as needed, leveraging the convenience of the cloud. They´ll also make business innovation much easier, faster and less expensive. While open platforms still have room to grow before being the standard in retail IT landscapes, the increasing demand for greater flexibility will drive the industry to embrace “openness” as a way to meet the needs of customers in the future.
Although we are not allowed to publish names of our retail customers who chose Detego InStore Lean Edition, the reasons that led many international fashion retailers to equip their stores with it, are summarised in the following:
- A solution that is productive within HOURS:
Not within weeks or months. No complex IT integration or complicated implementation.
- Advantages for the store are effective immediately:
Inventory accuracy and on-shelf availability > 98%.
- Intuitive and guided processes:
Sales personnel are guided through all the relevant store processes quickly via a smartphone and without any need for trainings. A lean and intuitive application actively supports and unburdens the sales personnel in their daily work.
- Unbeatable flexibility for fashion retailers:
Whether it is your own store, franchise store, wholesaler locations or shop-in-shop setups: Detego InStore Lean Edition fits all of them and delivers fast results/ROI.
Start with a few stores and scale to hundreds or thousands. Starting with the features of Lean Edition to ensure inventory accuracy and on-shelf availability, additional features can be added later with Full Edition, e.g. retail analytics, efficient omnichannel services and consumer engagement applications. Fully integrated inventory management across the entire supply chain is also possible at any time.
If you also want to benefit from these aspects, we´ll be happy to discuss the introduction of the Detego InStore Lean Edition to your stores. We will show you how to get started quickly with one or more stores, what to do in terms of preparation, which results can be expected and for what budget. If you would like to see results, get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Bildquellen: Fotolia, Copyright: Rawpixel
Since most of the existing IT landscapes in the fashion retail industry by no means adequately support the objectives of an omni-channel strategy, customer centricity or digitalisation in the store, this webinar aims to shows how to set up IT landscapes in a customer- and future-oriented way, enabling to meet today’s consumers expectations, without completely changing the existing IT infrastructure.
Gain valuable insights into how fashion retailers can realise customer-oriented strategies with the introduction of an overall stock view in real-time across all systems.