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Inarguably, the major challenges that shook the apparel industry in the past year were posed by the pandemic. Apart from slowing down business, the pandemic has instigated a new set of practices and trends, which in turn has brought about newer challenges to the sellers. Let’s dive deeper into a few of the issues that the apparel industry is facing at the moment.
Be it online or in-store, consumers today want an integrated system that offers a seamless experience. They look up products and compare stores even before purchasing from a brick-and-mortar store, and often lean towards retailers who best facilitate seamless transitions between the two experiences.
The solution is to adopt an omnichannel strategy for delivering a superlative customer experience across every channel. Here are three steps you can do to make that possible.
Establish an online presence
Establishing an online presence for your store makes it more accessible and adds credibility. Similarly, consistent interaction with the customers through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and other online platforms helps you evolve as a brand.
Gather user reviews on your website
Online user reviews act as social proof of the quality of your products and services that leverage more sales. It also allows you to understand your customers better and improve your business.
According to Trustpilot, nine out of ten customers read reviews before purchasing and a whopping 62 percent of consumers are hesitant to buy from a website that lacks reviews. For this reason, you should enable the feature on your website and prompt your customers to leave reviews.
Recreate an in-store experience on the website
Everything the customer could ask you at a store should ideally be available on the website. This means furnishing your website with product images, descriptions, comparisons, and other relevant information the buyer needs to know. You can also provide customer support through chatbots or live chats to cover any gaps in your support.
The apparel industry is ever-evolving. Brands roll out new designs every season, consumers demand what their favorite celebrities wear, and occasionally, trends from the past make an unexpected return. This makes it challenging for vendors to stay ahead of the trends.
Such spurts in demands lead to a cramped flow in production often exacerbating the existing supply chain issues. However, once the trend has waned, as it often happens with e-commerce, companies cut short the production causing uncertainty for retailers. Therefore, it is vital for sellers to follow and anticipate the trends.
Looking for these three factors that will make this process easy for you -
Social media can be your compass for navigating fashion trends. Not only can information on emerging trends be more readily obtained, but you also get to know the first-hand opinion of the customers.
By watching what your competitors are doing, you can take advantage of rising trends, and opportunities. See what products they are promoting through their website and social media handles to get a better understanding of the industry.
Guess who else has to keep a tab on trends? The suppliers. They go to great lengths to figure out what people will buy and sometimes even influence it. Mirroring suppliers and wholesalers is a great way to stay ahead of the trends.
It is no more a secret that the fashion industry leaves a sizable carbon footprint on the Earth. Everybody from manufacturers to consumers is becoming increasingly conscious of the damages and is adopting sustainable practices to decelerate the impact.
This rising popularity of sustainable fashion has resulted in brands that leverage consumers’ consciousness to portray their production practices and products as unique. Consumers are also favoring brands like Bella+Canvas, Allmade, and American Apparel that follow eco-friendly production practices. Much like with trends in style, it is critical to consider these factors before choosing a brand.
While inventory management in the apparel industry has never been easy to start with, the fast-evolving fashion trends and shifting customer choices have made it even more difficult. When the pandemic hit the country, quite a few stores were left with excess inventory that had to be packed away for distribution in the next season. The key to surviving such unpredictable times is to have an efficient inventory management system that offers flexibility.
Tracking inventory across multiple spreadsheets is cumbersome, redundant, and often leads to errors. The changing situation calls for a real-time inventory management system. Even small businesses are better off switching to a centralized inventory tracking system that provides real-time data on products, styles, colors, and sizes. Such a system will also help you streamline your communication flow across various departments.
The fashion industry has always transformed challenges into greater opportunities. The key is to remain unfazed, embrace the challenges, evaluate the possibilities and figure out innovative solutions. Perhaps you might even find some of these challenges as blessings in disguise to revamp your business and to take advantage of newer possibilities as they arise.
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