In 2020 Apparel Brands Need to Deliver an Incredible Customer Experience that Includes Offerings to Increase Brand Loyalty
As apparel brands close out this year, they face exciting opportunities — and an array of daunting challenges that few could have foreseen.
The corona-virus pandemic has radically reshaped the retail landscape. There is no corner of the retail industry that remains unaffected by COVID-19. Storied brands like J.C. Penney have declared bankruptcy. We’ve seen online shopping grow exponentially as customers shelter in place and we’ve seen predictions that the corona-virus might be what finally kills the American shopping mall.
On a positive note, the Internet, mobile shopping, and social media have brought clothing brands in closer contact with buyers, who are increasingly comfortable purchasing apparel online.
Some three in five U.S. internet users have bought clothing via the Web recently, and that number jumps to 68% for women and younger buyers, eMarketer found. The number of shoppers who buy garments online at least monthly has grown 30% year over year, according to a Tinuiti survey.
Even Prior to the Pandemic, the Biggest Disruptor in the Apparel Category Was the Brand that Has Caused Upheaval Throughout the Entire Retail Industry: Amazon.com
Amazon’s power has only grown as much of the nation eschewed bricks and mortar shopping and turned to online ordering for everything from grocery essentials to pricey exercise equipment.
To date in 2020, Amazon’s stock price has risen over 60% as investors clamor to grab a piece of a retailer that’s proven to be almost pandemic-proof.
The online giant has come a long way since its inception as a bookseller; half of U.S. consumers now say they’ve purchased clothing from Amazon in the past six months, Tinuiti found, and that figure rises to nearly two-thirds among Millennial consumers. With more than 60 private label apparel brands of its own, Amazon is now the largest apparel retailer in the U.S.
To stay competitive, merchants must meet rising expectations for convenience, savings, and delivery speed set by Amazon and other mass brands — often sacrificing margins in the process.
Luckily, Apparel Retailers Have Another Potential Asset that Can Help Set Them Apart: the Customer Experience.
Customer experience has only become more urgent in the era of the coronavirus. Customers want to be taken care of now more than ever and it falls to brands to provide friction-free, seamless, flexible purchase, delivery and return experience for stressed-out shoppers.
The benefits for those brands that are able to adapt quickly to the new retail normal are significant. Consulting firm PwC finds that shoppers are willing to spend up to 16% more for a positive customer experience. Close to three-quarters of shoppers said the customer experience influences purchase decisions, beyond product quality and price.
Apparel Brands that are Able to Respond to the Current Moment and Take the Lead Now to Create Memorable Shopping Experiences Can Position Themselves for Success in Years to Come
Chief priorities include:
- Helping shoppers find the right fit using new online tools
- Easing online/offline interactions for fulfillment and returns
- Starting one-to-one style conversations
- Individualize the product catalog
- Offering mass customization
More than ever, your customers are viewing choices that they make as consumers through the lens of the personal impact and investment involved. Retailers must respond to this. By designing shopping experiences that are unique and individualized — from finding the right fit online to product customization — brands can engage shoppers, earn trust, and win lasting customer loyalty that will help them weather the next industry disruption.
If you are interested in learning more about CX Automation for apparel brands and specifically, how you can quickly implement an easy to use conversational AI experience as part of your CX strategy, tailored to your brand, schedule a call today.