We were at one of India’s biggest fashion retail showdown - the 20th edition of India Fashion Forum and after interacting with a few leaders of fashion brands, we learned that the last few years have been a pilot for fashion retailers testing new technologies and adopting new business models. 2020 will actually see them scaling with practical business implications.
It seems as if fashion brands haven’t yet completely embraced the omnichannel concept in a ubiquitous way. However, this also seems to be changing in 2020 as brands move to avoid feeling behind competitors in the race to elevate customer experiences.
Here's a quick look at some of the key challenges ahead of fashion brands while taking the omnichannel route and what looks like a solution.
Cost & Profitability of Omnichannel SolutionsMany brands and retailers are still wary of the possible outcomes they can get with omnichannel implementation. Since omnichannel is a continuing process and the KPIs are generally all-encompassing, seeing immediate results is difficult. Hence, it’s extremely essential for brands to pick an omnichannel solution provider that doesn’t come with a ransom and can establish transparent KPIs and work collectively towards achieving those.
Going with a rev-share or metered pricing model not only lets fashion brands and retailers gain more trust in the success of omnichannel efforts but also assures that the tech partner has skin in the game.
Some examples of omnichannel KPIs can be increased conversion, average order value, store footfalls, customer lifetime value and an increase in overall sales and top-line revenues.
Maturity of Omnichannel Solutions
A typical retail-tech scenario is quite diverse. There are legacy systems and there are custom made solutions, both in some of the other ways lack scalability and real-time integration ability when it comes to omnichannel implementation. However, retail-tech has evolved in the past few years and some ready to use solutions have emerged that come with open APIs to integrate with existing technology stacks and are highly scalable to satiate the growing fashion retail needs.
Changing Consumer Behaviors & Shopping Patterns
"67% of Gen Zs believe that websites will know what they're looking for before they even do anything. 40% said they would stop visiting a website altogether if it didn't anticipate what they needed, liked or wanted.”
Scary isn’t it?
This means that consumers expect predictive personalisation to be a part and parcel of the websites they interact with.
Consumers are shopping across devices and multi-channels. They want to browse a product using a mobile app while in the store, try it on at the store, and then order from a brand’s website when they are at home.
In order to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer behaviors, it’s essential that brands cater to their hyper-personalized needs, bring tech to the stores, fulfill orders quickly from stores enabled by a distributed order management and train their bricks and mortar staff on using the technology like clienteling mobile apps to engage the customers.
Visibility of Inventory & Customer Data
One of the most frustrating experiences for customers is when they want to buy a product but it isn’t available online or they aren’t able to find a store with the product(s) they need. It’s even frustrating for retailers when they cannot tell their customers when the product is going to be available in the stock, because their legacy system doesn’t have this capability.
In the same way, it’s difficult to interpret the customer data spread in varied siloed systems like POS, CRM, loyalty systems, Google analytics, customer support software and make sense out of it.
A cloud-based omnichannel solution integrates with all the distributed systems and creates a single view of inventory and customer data for everyone in the supply chain enabling brands & retailers to deliver better customer experience across all channels.
Successful implementation of an omnichannel strategy is still a challenging feat for fashion retailers. But those who have exerted the trail presuming the opportunities ahead, are far ahead in the game.
Alongside the challenges, are immense opportunities to better serve and engage with customers, build better brand loyalty and ultimately increase the top lines.