During my studies in college, I stayed up to date on the retail supply chain as the fashion and retail industry has always been a strong passion of mine. Online sales in the retail industry have grown two fold in the past three years, making an online platform and shop crucial to staying afloat in today’s digital world. Working for two consumer product companies in the past few years- Pfizer & American Greetings, I have learned firsthand the complexity of today’s consumers needs and the impact it has on retail. Consumers want convenience when ordering products- shipped to their home from their tablet- and quick! Despite more online orders, companies are loosing market share to Amazon! Online retailers have many challenges to face in regards to logistics as there are expenses for shipments and returns.
My dream is to one day own a boutique that I run the buying for! A girl can dream….. but heres some advice to retail stores on what I would do if running a retail store to increase efficiency and profits!
- Visiting the store before making the purchase online: Reduce inventory in the store– save time and have less employees on the floor! Have a smaller location (lower cost of rented space), and showcase your products in the store and offer the option to buy it in the store ONLINE through the salesperson or tablets available and placed in the store and delivered from a different location to the consumers doorstep! There will then we less wasted inventory in the store.
- Keep salespeople in the store to engage with customers and recommend products! Salespeople can still make commissions by having the costumers purchase products through the store but online.
- Reduces the amount of returns since customers are able to try on, feel the product. (Online sales have a reported 25% returns, while physical stores have a return rate of 3%)!!
- For every item, have it in every size, and color options available so the consumer can try on his or her size so they know what to order. — Saving on inventory expenses!
- I got this idea when looking in furniture stores, it is practically what most are already doing!
- Another growing trend is the casualization of fashion – the athletisure movement. Consumers are becoming more health conscious, and embracing workout clothes as a fashion statement as well.
- All retailers should look at expanding their athletic ware selection as this trend doesn’t look like its going anywhere for a while.
- Subscription options to gain long term costumers is something that I think we will be seeing more of in the future!
- As you start building up a costumer base, you will have their data of past purchases that can help you suggest options to get mailed to them, or automatically send them an item every month if they have a subscription..also giving these members discounts and special offers to get more sales!
- Personalization is huge- consumers have a huge selection online to shop for, but how perfect would it be to tailor their online experience towards their wants and needs!
- Based on past purchases, or a quick questionnaire, having an option to recommend styled items would help sales and your brands reputation! Be their personal stylist!
- Have an app! Most people are shopping from their phone now, so having a platform that is smartphone friendly is a huge plus!
- Get on instagram, snapchat, and pinterest to help drive sales!
- Connect with “instagram models” to showcase and help promote your store and clothing! Social is everything and should be a huge focus to any retailer!